Bengal Sappers and Miners

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The Bengal Sappers and Miners were part of the Indian Army Engineer Soldier Corps comprised the three armies of the Presidencies [1]:-

The Bengal Sappers and Miners had officers who were part of

The Bengal 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 [2]


The Bengal Sappers and Miners originated as the 'Corps of Bengal Pioneers' raised from two pioneer companies in 1803. It evolved into the 'Bengal Sappers and Miners' in 1819 on the absorption of the 'Company of Miners' (raised in 1808). In 1843 it absorbed into it's ranks the 'Broadfoot's Sappers' (raised in 1840). In 1847 it was renamed the 'Bengal Sappers and Pioneers' and in 1851 the 'Corps of Bengal Sappers and Miners'. Lord Kitchener's Reforms in 1903 saw it redesignated as the '1st Sappers and Miners' which was, again, altered in 1906 to '1st Prince of Wales's Own Sappers and Miners'. On the accession of George V to the throne in 1910 it was renamed '1st King George's Own Sappers and Miners' with the numerical nomination being dropped in 1923. In 1937 it was re-titled 'King George V's Bengal Sappers and Miners'. In 1941 they became the 'King George V's Bengal Sappers and Miners Group' of the Indian Engineers in 1946 the 'King George V's Group' of the Royal Indian Engineers[1]. The senior Officers were British and the loosely organised military units were later combined into battalions with Indian officers commanding local troops. Officers were in the early years very conscious of the soldiers' local customs, caste rituals, dress, and social hierarchy.

Chronology

  • 1803 1st company raised by Capt T Wood as Bengal Pioneers
  • 1808 2nd company raised by Capt T Wood as the Company of Miners
  • 1819 part of Bengal Pioneers merged with the Company of Miners to form Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 1833 remaining part of Bengal Pioneers merged with Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 1843 absorbed Broadfoot's Sappers
  • 1847 became Bengal Sappers and Pioneers
  • 1851 became Corps of Bengal Sappers and Pioneers
  • 1903 became 1st Sappers and Miners
  • 1906 became 1st Prince of Wales's Own Sappers and Miners
  • 1910 became 1st King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 1923 became King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 1937 became King George V's Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 1941 became King George V's Bengal Sappers and Miners Group of the Indian Engineers
  • 1946 became King George V's Group of the Royal Indian Engineers
  • 1947 half allocated to India on Partition and half to Pakistan

Regimental histories

  • The Indian Sappers and Miners by E. W. C Sandes [Edward Warren Caulfeild] 1948. (726p). Covers the period from the pioneers in 1759 to the prelude to the Second World War. Available at the British Library UIN: BLL01011278725
  • A Short History of the Corps of King George’s Own Bengal Sappers and Miners During the War, 1914-1918 by Colonel A H Cunningham. This book is available at the British Library but is catalogued under the shorter title A short history of the Corps of K.G.O. Sappers and Miners during the war, 1914-1918. UIN: BLL01013577494

External links

Historical books online

Other

References

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 ‘Sappers and Miners’ and the ‘Engineers’.

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Royal Engineers Museum and Library “Corps History Part 10 - Indian Engineering Soldiers 1777-1947”; Retrieved 17 Aug 2016
  2. The Royal Engineers Museum and Library “Corps History Part 10 – Engineers of the Honourable East India Company Army 1750-1862”; Retrieved 17 Aug 2016
  3. Rootsweb India Mailing List posts Sappers & Miners by Robin Volkers 17 May 2010 and Sappers and Miners by Robin Volkers 20 May 2010, (retrieved 1 November 2018.)
  4. Victorian Wars Forum thread Srgt George Tomkyns (retrieved 21 April 2014)