A Corps that can trace its roots back to 1716. Known
throughout the Army as The Sappers it is one of the
most innovative and versatile elements in the British
Armed Forces. Among other things the Royal Engineers
pioneered the introduction of Signalling, Mechanical
Transport and Aviation into the military.
The connection between tanks and the Sappers is a
long one. Many of the pioneer Tank Corps officers
were Royal Engineers, notably Swinton, Elles and Martel
who, in 1918, developed a Royal Engineer tank based
on the Mark V**. The Tank Museum's exhibit "Ol'
Faithful" is one of these tanks.
Tank Museum photo
The use of specialised armour in World War II resulted
in a massive amount of experimental work, notably
by organisations such as the Obstacle Assault Centre.
As a result it was agreed to raise three armoured
engineer regiments for D-Day. Designated numbers 5,
6 and 42 Armoured Engineer Regiments and brigaded
as 1st Armoured Engineer Brigade R. E. they would
serve in Churchill AVREs throughout the North West
Europe campaign with great success.
Tank Museum photo No. 0149/B/4
Churchill Mark IV AVRE with fascine. Note that the
commander is obliged to con his driver from on top
of the fascine itself. Many of the drivers were, in
fact, Royal Armoured Corps personnel.