Great Britain. Army. Royal Engineers

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Great Britain. Army. Royal Engineers

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Dates of existence

1716-1903

History

Established in 1716 by royal warrant of King George I, the Corps of Engineers was the engineering branch of the British Army. In 1787 the corps was granted the title Royal Engineers. The first officers of the corps arrived in Nova Scotia in the 1740s and were stationed at the army's office headquarters in Halifax under the direction of the commanding Royal Engineer. Engineering offices were also established at the detachments in Cape Breton, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Bermuda. The primary responsibility of the Royal Engineers was the construction and maintenance of military buildings including fortifications, barracks, storehouses, hospitals, and prisons. Other engineering duties included surveying, demolition work, and occasionally civil works, such as the construction of roads, canals, and bridges. Engineer officers later became supervisors of the actual construction work which was contracted out to local builders beginning in the early decades of the 1800s. Until reorganization of the army in the 1850s, the Royal Engineers were under the supervision of the inspector general of fortifications in Britain who, in turn, reported to the Board of Ordnance. In 1855, the Board of Ordnance was amalgamated with the War Office. The functions of the Royal Engineers were eventually transferred to the Canadian Militia who formed a formed a permanent corps of engineers under the name Canadian Engineer Corps on 1 July 1903. In 1904 it was renamed the Royal Canadian Engineers.

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