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 :-
- The Bombay Sappers and Miners (1777);
- The Madras Sappers and Miners (1780)
- The Bengal Sappers and Miners (1803)
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 
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. 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.
- 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
- 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
- Now available online, see below.
- 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
Historical books online
- Major James Rennell and the rise of modern English geography by Clements R Markham 1895 Archive.org. Rennell arrived in India with the Royal Navy in 1760, transferred to the East India Company in 1763, and in 1764 was appointed Surveyor-General of Bengal, and also was commissioned as a ensign in the Bengal Engineers, aged 21. He remained in India until 1777. James Rennell Wikipedia
- Memoir of Lieut.-Col. John Macdonald 1831 Google Books. He became a cadet of the Bombay Army in 1780, first in the infantry , then the Engineers. In 1782 he joined the Bengal Engineers and was sent to Bencoolen and mainly performed survey work in this area until 1796. (Note, an unrelated book follows the Memoir)
- "Bengal Sieges: Plan of a Pioneer Corps, and a Company of Sappers, originally prepared by the late Major General Horsford:— Siege of Adjeegurh, in Bundlecund" The British Indian Military Repository,Volume 4, Part 3, page 387. 1826 Google Books
- Memoir of General Sir William Erskine Baker, K.C.B., Royal Engineers (Bengal) 1882. Born 1808, he arrived in India in 1828 and worked on the canals of Upper India where he became involved with fossil discoveries. Papers about these were written in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. He worked mainly with Canals and latterly the Railways, and in 1855 became the first Secretary of the Public Works Department. He left India in 1857 and in 1858 became Military Secretary at the India Office. FamilySearch Digital Library. You need to sign in to FS to view the book.
- A Narrative of the Mission sent by the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava in 1855, with notices of the country, government, and people by Captain Henry Yule, Bengal Engineers 1858 Archive.org. Google Books version
- A Year's Campaigning in India: From March, 1857, to March, 1858 by Julius George Medley, Captain Bengal Engineers and Garrison Engineer of Lucknow. 1858 Google Books
- Narrative of the Mutinies in Oude. Compiled from Authentic Records by Captain George Hutchinson, Bengal Engineers, Military Secretary to the Chief Commissioner, Oude 1859 Google Books
- "Curry & Rice," on Forty Plates, or, The Ingredients of Social Life at "Our Station" in India by George Francklin Atkinson, with Forty Chapters, each with an Illustration (which may rotated in the Hathi Trust versions) 1st Edition 1858 Hathi Trust, 2nd Edition 1859 Hathi Trust, 3rd Edition 1860 Google Books. The author was in the Bengal Engineers, and from 1854 was Executive Engineer of the Umballa Division
- Lieutenant General Crommelin, C.B.: Royal (Bengal) Engineers; a Memoir and a Retrospect in the Year of the Mutiny in India by Charles Hervey 1887 Archive,org
- Biographical Notices of Officers of the Royal (Bengal) Engineers by Sir Edward Talbot Thackeray 1900 Archive.org
- Addiscombe, its heroes and men of note by Colonel H. M. Vibart 1894 Archive.org. Addiscombe was the East India Company Military Academy in England for the training of cadets for the Engineers, Artillery and Infantry.
- History of the Corps of Royal Engineers by Whitworth Porter 1889 Volume 1, Volume 2 Archive.org
- "Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Marion Durand, K.C.S.I., C.B., R.E". by Lieutenant C.R. Low, (Late) Indian Navy. Part 1: Affghanistan, 1839 and Gwalior, 1843-44, Part 2: The Second Sikh War, 1848-49 and The Indian Mutiny, 1857, Part 3 Colburn's United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal, 1871 Part 1 pages 221,374, Part 2 page 25
- Four Score Years and Ten: Sir Bindon Bloodʼs Reminscences by General Sir Bindon Blood, Representative Colonel Commandant, Royal Engineers 1933. 2nd file where images have been rotated. Archive.org. Born 1842, he went to India in 1871, page 47 and in September 1871 was appointed to the Bengal Sappers and Miners. For the years to 1906, he spent the majority of the time in India, and largely was with the BSM until c 1894, with periods out of India.
- The Indian Sappers and Miners by E. W. C Sandes [Edward Warren Caulfeild] 1948. (726p). nzsappers.org.nz. Covers the period from the pioneers in 1759 to the prelude to the Second World War.
- Pioneer Regiments in the Indian Army from Pioneer(military) Wikipedia
- Indian Sappers 1740-1947 Royal Engineers Museum previous website, now archived. Details of the Bengal Engineers are included.
- Bengal Sappers & Miners Wikipedia
- Military Engineers in India in the 20th Century from Royal Engineers and Engineers of the British Empire and Commonwealth
- Archibald Campbell, Engineer. Worked in Calcutta on Fort William 1769-1771
- Chronology of William Arden Crommelin with a map and illustrations from Crommelin Family
- The recruitment of sappers in England c 1790’s and later is mentioned in India List posts.
- George Francklin Atkinson was in the Bengal Engineers in the Umballa Division . He was the author of "Curry & Rice," on Forty Plates; or, The Ingredients of Social Life at "Our Station" in India, first published 1858. Archives.org. He died in 1858 and his career is mentioned in this Archives.org link
- Scroll down to William Wilberforce Harris Greathed who received a commission as second-lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers on 9 December 1844. He saw action during the Indian Mutiny, in China and was Chief Engineer and Secretary to Government, North Western Provinces, Irrigation Branch from 13 April 1874. Family website
- "A peep into the history of Ambala" by Lt Gen Ranjit Singh (retd) April 6, 2014. tribuneindia.com (retrieved 21 April 2014). The Ambala Cantt with tree-lined roads and open spaces owes its origin to Capt Robert Napier, a Bengal Sappers officer
- Lawrence's War Memoirs, WW2: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 The author trained as an Officer with the Bengal Sappers and Miners and then joined the 67th Indian Field Company which saw action in Burma. bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar
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’.
- The Royal Engineers Museum and Library “Corps History Part 10 - Indian Engineering Soldiers 1777-1947”; Retrieved 17 Aug 2016
- The Royal Engineers Museum and Library “Corps History Part 10 – Engineers of the Honourable East India Company Army 1750-1862”; Retrieved 17 Aug 2016
- Rootsweb India Mailing List posts Sappers & Miners by Robin Volkers 17 May 2010 and Sappers and Miners by Robin Volkers 20 May 2010, archived.