Royal Australian Engineers
Overview
 
The Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) is a corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 of the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 (although the word corps does not appear in their name or on their badge). The RAE is ranked fourth in seniority of the corps of the Australian Army, behind the Staff Cadets
Corps of Staff Cadets
The Corps of Staff Cadets is a corps of the Australian Army. It is ranked first in the Order of Precedence ahead of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps...

, Armoured and Artillery Corps. The Corps was formed by the amalgamation of the various colonial engineer corps of the States and territories of Australia
States and territories of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a...

 in 1902 and since then has served in various conflicts including World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

.
Encyclopedia
The Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) is a corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 of the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 (although the word corps does not appear in their name or on their badge). The RAE is ranked fourth in seniority of the corps of the Australian Army, behind the Staff Cadets
Corps of Staff Cadets
The Corps of Staff Cadets is a corps of the Australian Army. It is ranked first in the Order of Precedence ahead of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps...

, Armoured and Artillery Corps. The Corps was formed by the amalgamation of the various colonial engineer corps of the States and territories of Australia
States and territories of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a...

 in 1902 and since then has served in various conflicts including World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. The Corps has also served on numerous peacekeeping operations and is currently involved in the Australian contribution to the war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

.

The RAE provides combat engineering
Combat engineering
A combat engineer, also called pioneer or sapper in many armies, is a soldier who performs a variety of construction and demolition tasks under combat conditions...

, construction and other technical support to the Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
The Australian Defence Force is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units...

. One of the main roles of the Corps is to provide mobility and counter mobility capabilities to the Australian Army and its allies. This means enhancing the ability of friendly forces to move while denying movement to enemy forces. In order to provide these capabilities, engineers are required to conduct many tasks including penetrating minefields, locating and disarming booby traps, purifying water and building roads and bridges. The Corps also performs the majority of the Australian Army's demolition tasks and is trained to fight as infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 if needed.

History

Origins of the Royal Australian Engineers date back to 15 November 1860, when the Corps of Engineers was founded in the colony of Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 by Peter Scratchley. By 1876, five of the six colonies—New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia—had raised their own engineer units. These were amalgamated on 1 July 1902 as The Corps of Engineers. At this time, the Corps consisted of field, fortress, telegraph, electric and submarine mining companies.

In 1911, the Australian Corps of Signallers
Royal Australian Corps of Signals
The Royal Australian Corps of Signals is one of the 'arms' of the Australian Army. It is responsible for installing, maintaining and operating all types of telecommunications equipment and information systems...

 was absorbed into the Engineers as the RAE Signal Service. Four years later, in July 1915, all members of the Survey Section RAE, separated to form the Australian Survey Corps
Royal Australian Survey Corps
The Royal Australian Survey Corps was a Corps of the Australian Army that was formed on 1 July 1915 and disbanded on 1 July 1996. The Historical Collection of the Survey Corps is maintained by the at the School of Military Engineering, Steele Barracks, Moorebank, Sydney, New South Wales...

. During this period the School of Military Engineering was established at Moore Park
Moore Park, New South Wales
Moore Park is a large area of parkland in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is part of Centennial Parklands, a collective of three parks being Moore Park, Centennial Park and Queens Park. Centennial Parklands is administered by the Centennial Park &...

 in Sydney. During World War I there were approximately 40 engineering units raised as part of the First Australian Imperial Force
First Australian Imperial Force
The First Australian Imperial Force was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War I. It was formed from 15 August 1914, following Britain's declaration of war on Germany. Generally known at the time as the AIF, it is today referred to as the 1st AIF to distinguish from...

. These units included field engineering units, tunneling companies, railway units and signalling squadrons which served at Gallipoli, the Sinai, Palestine, France and Belgium. Following the end of the war the School of Military Engineering was disbanded.

On 1 January 1925 the RAE Signal Service was separated to form the Australian Corps of Signals. This was followed in 1932 by the Survey Section separating to form the Australian Survey Corps
Royal Australian Survey Corps
The Royal Australian Survey Corps was a Corps of the Australian Army that was formed on 1 July 1915 and disbanded on 1 July 1996. The Historical Collection of the Survey Corps is maintained by the at the School of Military Engineering, Steele Barracks, Moorebank, Sydney, New South Wales...

. In 1939 the School of Military Engineering was re-established at Steele Barracks
Steele Barracks (Moorebank)
Steele Barracks is an Australian Army base in the Sydney suburb of Moorebank in New South Wales, near Liverpool. It is the home of the Royal Australian Engineers School of Military Engineering , as well as the RAE Museum, and the RAE Golf Club...

 in Liverpool, New South Wales
Liverpool, New South Wales
Liverpool is a suburb in south-western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Liverpool is located 32 km south-west of the Sydney central business district, and is the administrative centre of the local government area of the City of Liverpool...

, where it remains today.

During the interwar years the RAE maintained a force of 233 regular troops and a militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 force of 1,750. With the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, however, the corps was expanded greatly, eventually reaching a peak of 32,984 men in 1945. RAE units of the Second Australian Imperial Force
Second Australian Imperial Force
The Second Australian Imperial Force was the name given to the volunteer personnel of the Australian Army in World War II. Under the Defence Act , neither the part-time Militia nor the full-time Permanent Military Force could serve outside Australia or its territories unless they volunteered to...

 and militia served in North Africa
North African campaign
During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

, Malaya, New Guinea
New Guinea campaign
The New Guinea campaign was one of the major military campaigns of World War II.Before the war, the island of New Guinea was split between:...

 and Borneo campaigns.

Following the end of the war the size of the corps was once again reduced. Nevertheless, the various units and sub units of the RAE have been deployed on many overseas operations since 1945. During the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 there were no formed engineer units deployed by the Australian Army, although individual members of the RAE were deployed with the 1st Commonwealth Division
1st Commonwealth Division
The 1st Commonwealth Division was the name given, after July 1951, to Commonwealth land forces in the Korean War. The division was a multinational unit that was part of British Commonwealth Forces Korea, and whilst British and Canadian Army units formed the bulk of the division, Australian...

. Later RAE units deployed as part of the Australian commitment to the Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

, Confrontation and the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. They have also been deployed overseas to carry out construction work in New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

.

During the Vietnam War the RAE maintained a force of about 1,000 personnel in South Vietnam where they served as part of the 1st Australian Task Force
1st Australian Task Force
The 1st Australian Task Force commanded the Australian and New Zealand Army units deployed to South Vietnam between 1966 and 1972. 1 ATF was based at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy Province...

. Following the end of the war the size of the Australian Army was decreased in line with the abolition of the national service scheme
Conscription in Australia
Conscription in Australia, or mandatory military service also known as National Service, has a controversial history dating back to the first years of nationhood...

 and as a consequence of this and a number of lessons that came out of the deployment to Vietnam the RAE underwent a series of changes. One of the most significant changes came in 1972 and was the decision to establish full regimental sized engineer units, as opposed to squadron or company sized units. This units were initially known as Field Regiments, but have subsequently become known as Combat Engineer Regiments. As a part of this restructuring the RAE was reorganised to raise one regiment for each brigade and the Corps lost its responsibility for maintaining water transport and engineering stores.

On 1 July 1996 the RAE reabsorbed the Royal Australian Survey Corps.

Since the late 1980s members of the Corps have been involved in combat and peacekeeping operations in Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Kurdistan, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Bougainville and Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 as Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

Corps titles

  • July 1902 to September 1907 – The Corps of Engineers
  • September 1907 to January 1936 – Australian Engineers
  • On 31 January 1936, the Corps was given Royal Assent
    Royal Assent
    The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

    , and was subsequently renamed Royal Australian Engineers.

Motto

The motto of the Royal Australian Engineers is Ubique (Everywhere), a motto shared with RAE's parent corps, the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

. This motto was bestowed by King William IV in 1832 in recognition that both Sappers and Gunners were not entitled to carry Regimental Colours and typically served as small detachments instead of a whole unit.

The original motto of the RAE, adopted at Federation was Facimus et Frangimus (We make and we break) and appeared on the engineer hat badge up until 1947 when it was replaced by Honi soit qui mal y pense. It now only appears on the Corps Cipher.

The current Engineer hat badge features a leather garter adorned with a crown and the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil be to him who evil thinks), mirroring the motto of the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

. This honour was awarded to the RAE in 1947 for their efforts during World War II.

Sappers

The Royal Australian Engineers also adopted the Royal Engineers practice of calling their private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

 soldiers "Sapper
Sapper
A sapper, pioneer or combat engineer is a combatant soldier who performs a wide variety of combat engineering duties, typically including, but not limited to, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences, general construction and building, as well as road and airfield...

s", in recognition of the fact that the very earliest engineers had been primarily concerned with driving saps (tunnels) both towards the enemy lines, and underneath fortifications.

Colours

Although the Corps does not carry official Regimental Colours such as those carried by infantry units, the basic Royal Australian Engineers colours are blue and red. Typically, however, Unit Colour Patch
Unit Colour Patch
Unit Colour Patches are worn on the Slouch Hat in the Australian Army to indicate which unit they are from....

es, consist of a red feature on a purple field. The banner depiction of the colours consist of a red field with two horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom of the field.

Waterloo Dinner

The Waterloo Dinner is an annual dinner for commissioned officers held by units of the Royal Australian Engineers, although some smaller units may permit other ranks to attend. It is traditionally held on or about 18 June in commemoration of the first dinner, held by members of the Corps at Gallipoli in 1915 to celebrate the completion of Watson's Pier at Anzac Cove. In recognition of the officer who led the construction of the pier, LT Watson, being a signals officer within the Royal Australian Engineers an officer of the Royal Australian Signals Corps attends each dinner as a guest. The name Waterloo was used because the first dinner was observed on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Structure

The Corps has both Regular and Reserve
Australian Army Reserve
The Australian Army Reserve is a collective name given to the reserve units of the Australian Army. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, the reserve military force has been known by many names, including the Citizens Forces, the Citizen Military Forces, the Militia and, unofficially, the...

 units. The current Regular units are:
  • 1st Combat Engineer Regiment
    1st Combat Engineer Regiment (Australia)
    The 1st Combat Engineer Regiment is a combat engineer regiment of the Australian Army. Based in the Northern Territory and attached to 1st Brigade, it is a Regular Army unit of the Royal Australian Engineers and is tasked with providing mobility and counter mobility support.-Structure:* 1st Combat...

     (Darwin
    Darwin, Northern Territory
    Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin has a population of 127,500, making it by far the largest and most populated city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, but the least populous of all Australia's capital cities...

    )
  • 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment
    2nd Combat Engineer Regiment (Australia)
    The 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment ' is an Australian Army modular engineer regiment trained for sapper/combat engineer operations. 2 CER's lineage is traced back to 7th Field Company . During World War I, this unit was renowned for action during the Battle of the Somme, Menin Road and the Hindenburg...

     (Brisbane
    Brisbane
    Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

    )2 CER is currently an integrated unit, consisting of one Regular squadron and one Reserve squadron. A second Regular squadron is currently being raised.
  • 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment
    3rd Combat Engineer Regiment (Australia)
    The 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment ' is an Australian Army modular engineer regiment trained for sapper/combat engineer operations. The unit is based at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, Queensland and is part of the 3rd Brigade. It has deployed to the Solomon Islands under Operation Anode, and has...

     (Townsville)
  • 6th Engineer Support Regiment (Brisbane and Sydney)
    • 1st Topographical Survey Squadron (Brisbane)formerly a unit of the Royal Australian Survey Corps
      Royal Australian Survey Corps
      The Royal Australian Survey Corps was a Corps of the Australian Army that was formed on 1 July 1915 and disbanded on 1 July 1996. The Historical Collection of the Survey Corps is maintained by the at the School of Military Engineering, Steele Barracks, Moorebank, Sydney, New South Wales...

      .
    • 21st Construction Squadron (Brisbane)
    • 17th Construction Squadron (Sydney
      Sydney
      Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

      )
    • 20th Explosive Ordanance Disposal Squadron (Brisbane)
  • School of Military Engineering (Sydney, Moorebank)
  • 19 CE Works (Sydney, Randwick)


The current Reserve (part-time) units are:
  • 4th Combat Engineer Regiment (Ringwood East, Victoria)
  • 5th Combat Engineer Regiment (Sydney/Canberra)
  • 8th Combat Engineer Regiment (Sydney/Newcastle, NSW)
  • 9th Combat Engineer Regiment (Adelaide) – one squadron only
    • 3rd Field Squadron
  • 13th Combat Engineer Regiment (Perth)  – one squadron only
    • 13 Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers
      13 Field Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers
      13 Field Squadron is a Reserve unit of the Royal Australian Engineers of the Australian Army. 13 Field Squadron provide the combat engineering capability of the Western Australia based reserve 13th Brigade.-History:...

  • 11th Combat Engineer Regiment (Townsville) – one squadron only
    • 35th Field Squadron
  • 21st Construction Regiment (Holsworthy, NSW)
  • 22nd Construction Regiment
    22nd Construction Regiment, Royal Australian Engineers
    The 22nd Construction Regiment is an engineer unit of the Australian Army Reserve based in Victoria, Australia. Part of the 4th Brigade it provides engineer support to the 2nd Division. It is currently made up of a regimental headquarters and two construction squadrons...

     (Oakleigh and Newborough, Victoria)


Former Army Reserve units of the Corps included the 1st Port Construction and Repair Group, at Haberfield, NSW. A former Regular unit was 12 CE Works at Mendi
Mendi
Mendi, Papua New Guinea, is the provincial capital of the Southern Highlands Province....

 in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

.

Golf Club

The RAE Golf Club was constructed in 1971 using troops that were at SME training for the deployment to Vietnam. This task provided them with the opportunity to practice their field engineering and plant operation skills. The first clubhouse was originally four Billy Huts and a 300 cubic feet (8.5 m³) refrigerator. The windmill was one of six bought to train well-drilling teams prior to deployment. In the mid 1970s, a new temporary clubhouse was erected. This building lasted for more than 20 years, when the current existing clubhouse became operational. It was constructed using RAE Golf Club funds, with labour provided by 17th Construction Squadron.

The charter of the club is to provide an amenity for Defence Force personnel in the Liverpool Military Area. It also provides a unique opportunity for civilians to be involved.
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