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Brief History of the Corps of Royal Engineers

Corps Memorial CMA

Royal Engineers parade at the Corps’ NMA memorial

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The Royal Engineers can claim 900 years of unbroken service to the crown, from the military engineers engaged by William the Conqueror, specifically Bishop Gundulf of Rochester Cathedral. Since then engineers have always served in the armies of the crown, the origins of the modern corps lie with that of the Royal Artillery with the establishment of the Board of Ordnance in the 15th century.

In 1832 the Corps was granted the regimental motto “Ubique” & “Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt” (Everywhere & Where Right and Glory Lead) in latin ‘fas’ implies ‘sacred duty’. As the Corps has no battle honours the motto signifies that the Corps has seen action in all the major and almost all the minor conflicts of the British Army.

With the abolition of the Board of Ordnance in 1855 the authority over the Royal Engineers, Royal Sappers and Miners and Royal Artillery was transferred to the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces uniting them with the rest of the Army. In 1856 the Royal Engineers and Royal Sappers and Miners became a unified corps as the Corps of Royal Engineers and their headquarters moved from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich to Chatham, Kent.

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