Bombay Engineers

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The Bombay Engineers being Engineers of one of the Honourable East India Company Armies. By the 1740’s each military administration of each presidency had its own cadre of British engineer officers, they were titled:- the Bombay Engineers, the Madras Engineers and the Bengal Engineers [1]

Not to be confused with The Bombay Sappers and Miners being part of the Indian Army Engineer Soldier Corps comprised the three armies of the Presidencies:- The Bombay Sappers and Miners (1777); The Madras Sappers and Miners (1780) The Bengal Sappers and Miners (1803) [2]:-

Officers for the Madras Engineers, the Bombay Engineers and the Bengal Engineers were commissioned directly into the East India Company Army. Their responsibilities were similar to those of their counterparts serving with the Corps of Engineers back in Britain. Indeed until 1771 their tasks were so interchangeable that some of the British engineers commissioned into the Corps elected to serve with the Company's army in India [1].

In 1798 the Company began to send its cadets, wishing to train as gunners or engineers, to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, but by 1809 these arrangements were changed when the Company's newly established Military Seminary at Addiscombe, Croydon took on the training of all the Company's cadets [1].

After the Mutiny (1857) it was decided, for security reasons, that all artillery and engineers in India should be part of the British Army. On 1 April 1862 the Bengal, Bombay, Madras Engineers were amalgamated into the Corps of Royal Engineers and officers re-designated RE (records prior to 1862 used Eng.). To complete the integration process the officers were trained at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and then at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham, as were all Royal Engineer officers [1].

Civil Works

The Bombay Engineers, in the period 1830-1862, were responsible for undertaking major civil infrastructural projects within the Presidency. These works include bridges, roads, irrigation etc and clearly required high skills and innovation in harsh conditions. These projects continued after amalgamation in 1862 into the Corps of Royal Engineers and evetually taken over by the Public Works Department of each municipality.

Major civil works undertaken in the period included:-

  • pending research


Our grateful thanks to The Royal Engineers Museum and Library, Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME4 4UG, England for permission to cite directly from their website. Some records on websites do not give clear distinctions between the ‘Engineers’ and the ‘Sappers and Miners’.