Royal Engineer trade qualifications.

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by mac657, May 5, 2015.

  1. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Hello all, can anybody help with, or suggest where to go, for help deciphering RE trade qualifications. I'm an ex sapper myself but even i am having a bit of difficulty with some of them. They are primarily plant operator trades, i know what some are but would like to clarify the fine detail.

    I'll list them below;

    AQ. Pnr. RE D3. - listed as specialist qualification. I know what a Pioneer is and where it fits into things but what is 'AQ' ?

    Operator excavator B2 & D3 - i'm familiar with OP Ex and 'B' trades but what are 'D' trades ?

    Also, a unit listed - 2 (P) DB. RE - that has stumped me. I know it's a UK based training establishment.

    Many thanks,

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    DB = Depot Battalion? The P could be Pioneer? I'm a bit unsure but I know some corps had 'Training Battalions'.
  3. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    I agree with P for pioneer and DB for Depot Battalion.

    AQ could be all qualified.

    I've not heard of the D trades either. A-C, yes, but not D. Could it be a D3 bulldozer? That would mean that B2 was another type of machine.
  4. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Gents, thanks for your replies, your suggestions make sense. There is another similar entry of - 1 (SME) DB RE - which of course would be 'School of Mechanical Engineering, Depot battalion' aka Chatham.

  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    This might be an opportune thread to voice an aspect that has been puzzling me. What was 'Pioneer' within the Royal Engineers ? Was the title given to those who were not trained as sappers ? Were all REs without additional rank 'Sappers' ?

    The old 'Trux' BEF establishment lists several; For example :-

    Pioneer as medical officers orderly
    3 X pioneer as motorcyclist orderly
    Pioneer as cook

    Would these men have been badged as RE with no additional insignia distinctions ?
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

    D trades are listed (at least as they were in 1944) in Davis' British Army Uniforms and Insignia of World War Two. The best matches are Driver (Crane) or Driver Mechanic. There is also an Operator (Excavator) in Group B which tallies with the record.
  7. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks Idler, that's interesting and would fit. The scrawl on his records after 'OP' and before 'D3' could be the word 'crane'. My grandfather was indeed a crane operator after the war.

    Thanks for your help, i'm getting there slowly !

    bLACKCOUNTRY MON Active Member

    Just looking through this thread and hoping someone can help with what operator excavator BIII job entailed. Also does anyone know what "Mustered Pioneer R E EIII" means? Any help will be appreciated.
  9. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    Short answer: moving dirt...a lot of it...and with an excavator, whether this was a stand alone machine or pulled by a bulldozer.
  10. ploughman

    ploughman Junior Member

    An excavator would be a stand alone machine, probably cable operated like a 10 RB configured as either a Back Hoe or Face shovel.
    This would be used for loading some sort of haul vehicle, such as Tippers or rail wagons as well as creating stockpiles of material.

    If a dozer is involved then more likely to be a scraper with an "Onion" Box scraper, again cable operated.
    This would be more used for creation of roadways or airfields, were large quantities of overburden are required to be moved off site quickly.

    Photo showing both types. Unfortunately American but the REs had similar equipment.
  11. tal

    tal Junior Member

    taken from the appendices of 4hq meu july 1945...mechanical equipment school of training (51 me pln)

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.
  12. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks for that Tal, very interesting. That gives me a bit more detail. I see you are still digging away!

    Sorry i haven't replied for a while but i've been abroad. Did you get that from the national archives?

  13. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    My Dad was a 'Steel Bender D 111' [Bailey Bridges] one of the only men during WW2 to be out of a job. He trained in 592 AT Coy at Blacon Chester, and Otley Yorkshire, before going to Southsea. [Reason he was in 3 hospitals before embarking for [NA] /Sicily] . The other hospital wasn't it was the 'CRS' Camp Reception Station Winchester Southsea
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2022

Share This Page