The Royal Engineers

The contribution of the Royal Engineers to the war effort through its construction, maintenance and technical expertise cannot be overestimated. It maintained the railways, roads, water supply, bridges and transport, railways and inland waterways, keeping the supply line to the troops open. It maintained the telephones, wireless and other signalling equipment, keeping the communication line open. It designed and built the front line fortifications to provide cover for the infantry and positions for the artillery. It developed responses to chemical and underground warfare, and maintained the guns and other weapons ensuring the infantry and artillery retained their fire power.

At the outbreak of the Great War, the Royal Engineers consisted of 1,056 officers and 10,394 men of the regular army and Special Reserve, plus another 513 and 13,127 respectively serving with the Royal Engineers of the Territorial Force. Some three years later, it had increased its manpower to a substantially larger 295,668.

Field companies and signal companies were attached to the 53rd (Welsh) Division during its time in Bedford:

  • 436th (1st Welsh) Field Company renumbered in February 1917
  • 437th (2/1st Welsh) Field Company departed in October 1915 for Gallipoli, initially attached to the 1X Corps then rejoining the 53rd (Welsh) Division at Lala Baba in December 1915.Renumbered February 1917
  • 439th (2/1st Cheshire) Field Company renumbered February 1917
  • 53rd Divisional Signals Company HQ and No 1 Section of this Company was attached to the 54th (East Anglian) Division at Suvla between 10 to 23 August 1915, joined the X11 Corps in December 1915 at Salonika, landed in Alexandria in January 1916 and came back under the orders of the 53rd (Welsh) Division

and to the 68th (2nd Welsh) Division:

  • 3/1st Cheshire Field Company
  • 68th (2/1st Welsh) Divisional Signals Company

Haynes Park was one of six depots of the Signal Service Training Centre, of the Royal Engineers (Signal Service), and carried out technical training.


The Great War