From the Normans to the Swan River Colony

Rochester Castle [engraving 1836]

Rochester Castle

1070 Bishop Gundulf (a Norman Conquest import) became the “first King’s Engineer”. Gundulf’s architectural and engineering credits included Rochester Castle and the White Tower (part of the Tower of London).

1414 Board of Ordnance established, superseding the earlier Ordnance Office.

During this period military engineers were employed by the King for duty in the Royal arsenals and fortifications, and the maintenance of military equipment. When engineering tradesmen and specialists were required for campaigns, they were impressed and disbanded on the cessation of hostilities.

1716 Corps of Engineers established as a permanent officer corps.

1782 Gibraltar Soldier Artificer Company established, comprising non-commissioned military engineers.

1787 Corps of Royal Engineers (Corps of Engineers renamed).

1787 Corps of Royal Military Artificers established comprising only NCOs and other ranks; officers attached from other Corps.

1813 Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners (Corps of Royal Military Artificers renamed).

1855 Abolition of Board of Ordnance. The Corps of Royal Engineers and Corps of Sappers and Miners operated directly under the War Office.

1856 Corps of Sappers and Miners absorbed into Corps of Royal Engineers.

Thus the NCOs and other ranks who came to Western Australia as the 20th Company, Royal Corps of Sappers and Miners returned home (after 1856) as the 20th Company, Royal Engineers.