Everything You Wanted to Know About Joining the Sappers....Part 2

chimera

LE
Moderator
#1
3) 'What Will I Be Doing As A....'

As I said before, the Corps is a large and diverse place and over the course of your career you could find yourself employed doing almost anything. Most people, however, spend the majority of their time in a Regiment so it's worth explaining a little bit about how they are organised and operate.

First of all, Commanding Officers (COs) have a certain amount of discretion in how they run their Regiment and as they change around every few years, so will the unit. This means that there are always quite significant differences in Regiments that may on paper appear to be similar. The Officer Commanding (OC) of a Squadron will also have different ideas about how they want to play with their train-set, so Squadrons also differ from one another in how they are organised - even within the same Regiment. Confused? Get used to it - nothing is ever simple in the Royal Engineers.

Each Regiment is run by an RHQ (Regimental Headquarters), that is made up of such delightful characters as the CO (a Lieutenant Colonel, but to you, God), the RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major, to you as a simple Sapper, somewhere above God) and their assorted lackeys. The place to go to arrse-kiss if your eyes are sufficiently azure-blue, the place to avoid like the fcuking plague if you are an ordinary joe. There will be a number of Squadrons, of which there are three main types - HQ and Support Squadrons, Field Squadrons of one kind or another and Field Support Squadrons. HQ and Support Squadrons are largely made up of signallers and drivers (at the junior level at least), along with various other capbadges like the AGC, and exist to provide administrative and HQ support to the Regiment. Field or Armoured Squadrons are the ones who do most of the combat engineering (or whatever the Regiment's specialist role is). Field Support Squadrons are the domain of res specs, planties and others who enjoy logistics, big machinery or both.

No matter what trade you are, you are more likely than not to end up in a Field Squadron for your first posting - be it Armoured, EOD, Parachute, Commando or common and garden. There are 101 ways that Field Squadrons can be organised but generally they will consist of an HQ Element, 3 Field Troops and a Support Troop of some kind or other. Most tradesmen will end up in a Field Troop, where you will be one of 8 or so blokes in a Section, commanded by a Corporal. These will be your closest colleagues for at least the next three years so if you spurn them and sit on your Xbox 24/7, you'll be in for a pretty sh1te time. Signallers could end up either in Squadron HQ as part of a Sigs Wing or dispersed amonst the Troops. Drivers could end up almost anywhere within the Squadron and most planties will be in Support Troop. Be very afraid.

Wherever you go as an artisan tradesman, combat engineering is likely to be your bread-and-butter. Your trade will probably seem like a distant memory within a year and your heart will probably skip a beat when you hear 'Sapper Jones, you're a fabricator, aren't you?'. Be prepared for hard work on tour and exercise but periods of excruciating boredom in camp whilst you oil your 44th shovel and dream of what your mates are doing at Uni. Drivers, signallers, res specs, geo techs and to some extent planties will do their trade a lot more often.

Depending on where your particular unit is located, you could be doing any number of things on an op tour - anything from operating as a member of a High-Risk Search Team, to knocking up a bridge under the noses of the enemy, to repairing an airfield, to supervising local workers on a large camp, whilst they take their 5th prayer / tea / w@nk break that day. You will have absolutely no say over what your unit will end up doing so there is no point whatsoever in worrying about it. And yes, even paras, commando, bomb gods and divers will spend time doing bone things, which brings us neatly on to...

4) Paras, Commandos, EOD and Other Gucci Stuff

Parachute- and commando-trained engineer, diver, amphibious engineer are NOT trades (unless you count the TA, which of course nobody does). If you want to go through hell in order to wear a different coloured hat (and good on you if you do), you can volunteer for parachute or commando training at the end of training or at any other point in your career. If you want to be a diver, you can volunteer for the selection and subsequent course from just about any unit. EOD is currently becoming a trade in its own right. The first stage is converting people already serving, but in due course it is likely to also be open as an entry trade. As for EOD there are specific units that deal with these things (namely, 33 Engineer Regiment and 101 Engineer Regiment). If you want to do either, ask for the relevant unit and explain why you want to go there on your posting preference form. Once your there, you'll be trained in the necessary skills and then will be likely to return to the unit again and again throughout your career. It's all about getting your foot in the door, so keep plugging away at trying to get a posting to the relevant unit. If you don't, don't be devasted and throw your toys out of the pram - you'll be amazed how the unlikeliest things can get into your blood. Enjoy whatever it is you end up doing.

A couple of other things to bear in mind on this topic. There's nothing wrong with expressing an interest in doing something 'special' from day one, but keep banging on about and it can severely bite you on the arrse - especially if you want to be a para and end up with a reputation as a fat mong. Mention it as something that you'd be interested in doing then keep your gob shut. No one will be impressed if you start slagging off the rest of the Corps before you've even passed training. Furthermore, while it is true that the RE feeds a relatively large number of soldiers into the SAS, you will guarantee yourself a reputation as a complete numptie if you go on about 'selection' and 'sandy berets' before you've been around the block a few times.

5) Corps Culture

'Bullsh1t' is a forces term that is used to refer to polishing things, parades, room inspections etc. It is safe to say that the RE is one of the least bullsh1ty capbadges in the army and, if you're anything like me, that can only be a good thing. We tend to go in for spit-and-polish to a lesser degree than some other Regiments and Corps, probably because spending your time at the bottom of a hole covered in mud and concrete isn't exactly conducive to looking nice and shiney. Do not take this as a licence to be slack though - try walking past a Warrant Officer of any description looking like a sack of spuds and see how long it takes your ears to stop ringing.

Rivalry - friendly or not - plays a big part in army life and there is a lot of banter between capbadges and even internally within the Corps. Our historical rivals are the Royal Artillery - we were formed from the same organisation and even share a common motto: 'Ubique' (in our case it means 'Everywhere', in theirs 'All over the place'). In the EOD world, there is also more than a little rivalry between the RE and the RLC - whilst they accuse us of making a song and dance about every rusty WW2 bomb that we dig out of the ground, we reply that they only do EOD to give their Corps something sexier to do than stacking blankets. Inside the Corps, different trade groups rib each other mercilessly. Geo techs are geeky, drivers are mongs and combat engineers are referred to a 'squeaks' by POMs and armoured farmers. The common response is to accuse them of being lazy, pie-eating b@stards although, to be fair, they usually fail to see how this is an insult. If you can't handle this kind of p1ss-taking (or p1ss-taking for being a gwar, poof, split-arrse or Welsh), you might want to consider a career in the knitting industry instead.

The Corps is big on sport and there is plenty of opportunity to do pretty much anything you like. We won the FA cup in 1875 (although we gloss over the fact that the team was made up completely of officers). The Corps rugby teams - both league and union - are amongst the best in the army and the RE tent at the annual Army v Navy rugby game at Twickenham is one of the places to be. 26 Engineer Regiment were Army Boxing champions in 2011. There are even clubs that cater for obscure things like ballooning so you have no excuse for firing up that Xbox at every opportunity. Unless, instead, you subscribe to the other side of sapper* culture...

Drinking and partying is the pastime of choice for a large proportion of Royal Engineers, especially in places that are reknowned for their social life, like Germany and Chatham. In places where Squadron bars still exist - almost exclusively in Germany - they are not always for the faint-hearted. Whilst some of the stories you'll hear are exaggerated or belong to a by-gone age, you can safely assume that a night out with your sapper muckers won't revolve around a few glasses of wine in a classy bar. The Corps breeds lunatics like Denmark breeds paedophiles so the chances are that you'll have a few 'interesting' tales to tell after a few years of determined liver abuse.

That said - don't be put off if you're a bit of a shrinking violet or a quiter type of bloke. The Corps contains all sorts of people and you'll no doubt find a few friends who enjoy the same kind of things as you do. You big girl's bra.

Finally, our officers tend to be fairly down to earth blokes, with a high proportion of technical graduates who know their stuff. A lot of the Senior NCO (Sergeant and above) courses are also very challenging so you don't get many numpties amongst them either. I said 'many'...

*NB While 'Sapper' is the most junior rank in the Corps - equivalent to Private - Royal Engineers are frequently referred to as 'sappers', no matter what rank they hold. Even a General will find no insult in being called a sapper. Probably best that you don't actually call him 'Sapper Bollington-Smythe' though...

6) Civvie Strasse

One of the most common things you hear - from serving sappers, potential recruits and parents - is that they find the RE attractive because of the chance to get a trade that will stand them in good stead when they leave and go back to the civvie world. Whilst this can be true, don't just join the RE because you are worried about the future. If you want to be an infantryman, a tankie or laundry operator, go and do that instead and you'll be a happy old man one day. Join the Corps because you want to. Combat engineering forms the core of our existence and gives the RE a distinctive flavour (mostly beer and kebab) that sets us apart from other engineering organisations in the forces. Put simply, if you don't think you could cut it on a building site, don't join the RE.

Another thing to bear in mind is that some trades you won't touch from one year to the next and this can be a major disadvantage if you want to practice said trade on civvie street. With a bit of work, this should not put you off but it's something that's worth bearing in mind.

Finally, even if you prove to be a complete fcukwit, a billy no-mates or someone who seems to miss out on everything, the army has a funny way of forcing rose-tinted specs on your nose once you're out. Join, even if only for 4 years, and you'll dine out on the experience for the rest of your life.

7) Further Information

There is an RE page on the army website that contains quite a bit of useful info. Go to


Corps of Royal Engineers - British Army Website


and Bob's your uncle. Stick 'Royal Engineers' into goodle or wikipedia and you'll also find a lot of good stuff. Click through the “Sticky” pages at the top of the Sappers Forum and Joining Up boards of ARRSE and you'll find more advice than you could shake a sh1tty stick at.
 
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#2
Hi mate, I just recently passed selection with a grade A, choosing the Royal Engineers and was wondering if you could give me some more updated information on the trade C3S (communications Systems operator) i see some info on it but it's mostly old and I'm not really sure how it is used in today's day to day. is there much action being a C3S, do you get a chance to use communications out in the field etc? Same thing for combat engineering is there any action / combat used within the field, do you go out on operations. But back to the point could you give some more info on a c3s and would this be used after your deployed to your unit etc cheers mate
 
#3
Hi mate, I just recently passed selection with a grade A, choosing the Royal Engineers and was wondering if you could give me some more updated information on the trade C3S (communications Systems operator) i see some info on it but it's mostly old and I'm not really sure how it is used in today's day to day. is there much action being a C3S, do you get a chance to use communications out in the field etc? Same thing for combat engineering is there any action / combat used within the field, do you go out on operations. But back to the point could you give some more info on a c3s and would this be used after your deployed to your unit etc cheers mate
My information isn't updated, as I left the army in 1990 however, I don't think things will have changed much from what am about to relate:

I joined in 1968 and after seeing the various speciality units (paras etc.) strutting their stuff over a couple of days of presentations by the various units whilst I was near the end of training, I volunteered for Armoured Engineers (because I wanted to travel and they were based in Germany). I found myself in Hohne Germany in short order and over the next couple of years did a scout car drivers course, radio operators courses, a tank drivers course or two and a cadre course after which I was promoted to the dizzy heights of lance corporal.

In 1973 I volunteered for EOD and again, in shorter order I was posted to 33 EOD Rgt where I was to be based on and off for the next 17 years during which I undertook courses from basic EOD to advanced EOD, IEDD, radiography including isotopic radiography, all arms air defence and a few more exotic things which have no place here.

During my time with EOD I travelled extensively: Germany, Cyprus, Malta, Denmark, Falkland Islands and all over the UK.

Whilst with field squadrons other than EOD, I travelled to Northern Ireland, Canada, Belize and a couple of other places.

To answer your question, you will get to use your comms skills since, second to logistics, communications in the field are very important. But you will also get to use a number engineering skills which you will be taught. In my case I was using a drilling rig for sub surface magnetometry to locate deep buried bombs, excavating deep shafts to access buried bombs, designing and building protective works from the primary, secondary and tertiary effects of large detonations.

I also found time to assist in putting down the riots in the Maze prison as well as re-building part of it; clearing firing ranges in Cyprus, Belize and Germany; Building helicopter landing pads in the jungle in Belize - and a jungle warfare school - as well as a training camp in Canada.

C3s is I think a basic skill set and you will be able to look around at other aspects of life within the Corps. The Royal Engineers can open doors for you that you never imagined existed.
 
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#4
And you get to be very very popular with other troops on exercise areas. Why? They have to dig trenches and you have plant gear. We used to deploy with extra six packs specifically for this purpose [unused six packs were disposed on in a safe and controlled manner at Endex]
 
#5
Thank you mate, funnily enough I was just looking at the EOD specialist and reading some info about it, it definitely seems like a skill I would like to specialise in after trade training thank you Thoy mate, much appreciated
 
#8
What type of training do they teach you for EOD ? And for the specialist role is a search specialist open for the Royal engineers even Thoy it's not listed as a specialist role, I see that EOD is and that bomb disposal and search are in the same category so do you learn both or could you pick whether you would like to be a search specialist or a EOD, and as they say on the website do you actually need real steady hands or will they teach how to hold your nerves... XD
 
#10
What type of training do they teach you for EOD ? And for the specialist role is a search specialist open for the Royal engineers even Thoy it's not listed as a specialist role, I see that EOD is and that bomb disposal and search are in the same category so do you learn both or could you pick whether you would like to be a search specialist or a EOD, and as they say on the website do you actually need real steady hands or will they teach how to hold your nerves... XD
As EOD is a specialism, wait until you get to Phase 2/3 and then you will be able to get the info for all specialist courses and get your name down for 33 Engineer Regiment if you so wish to do EOD.
 
#11
Okay thank you lads, still a long way away but I love the fact that with the Royal engineers I can plan ahead with what I would like to do and yeah I think I will apply for 33engr nearer the time, thanks Thoy
 
#12
Hello im new to this site

My lad just passed his selection in scotland but for some reason they say he is colour blind but the opticians say different which means he is unable to be a sparky ... but they have suggested military engin communications RE .
Is this role any good ? Will it be exciting will he be in the field ect or will it be boring .
Any reply i would be greatfull

Thanks
 
#13
Hi there, I recently passed selection not t long ago and start in march, my first choice was royal engineers communications and I got it, basically because I haven't actually done it I'm not to sure what it exaclty consists of but what I do know is that within the Job role you will be the main point of communication between troops and commanders etc for operations on the field you will be the guy who uses the communications, sets them up and maintain them, your son will most likely be in a sigs troop / wing as I can imagine I'm not expecting to be in the field as much as say infantry but c3s ( communications) holds many qualifications that come along with it, I'm pretty excited to start this Job role as communications play a big part in the army and royal engineers, I expect to be in an command hq for a few hours a day but that is expected as communications, first of always remember we will be combat engineers also and I have seen In many posts that as time goes trades do seem like a distant memory some are used more than others communications being one of them, as I'm not actually in training yet I'll also be looking at this thread to see if any one else has any more information, was your son offered any other roles in the royal engineers ? As I do know the barb test results do play a big part in deciding what Job role you get, cheers feel free to ask me any questions
 
#14
Hi mate

Yes he starts in march at harrogate but we are unsure whether to change the role if he can we are going to look into this 1st thing monday morning i think his barb tests went ok it was just the colour test he failed even tbo the optitians said he was not colour blind
 
#15
Yeh best thing to do if he really doesn't want to do it is change his choice, however I know that some roles can be allowed for colour blindness and some can not unfortunately, if he wants to be in the field then infantry is the one I decided To not go that way as I want to pick up a lot of qualifications and infantry wouldn't do that for me, however in the royal engineers you can choose specialist roles to train in such as para, diver, bomb disposal, commando, at the end of phase 2 trade training
 
#16
Hi guys,

Been doing a little exploring for my future in the royal engineers soon and was just wondering when we finish trade training and can apply for the choice of joining a regiment ,if I was to select 23 para regiment (and fingers crossed get selected) would I still be in the regiment even if I haven't completed p-coy ? I read on another article that not every engineer in the the regiment has passed p-company and only about half or so have there wings,does this mean that if I do hopefully get into 23 para do I need to 100% pass p-company to stay there or can I still be in the regiment if I was not to pass ? Likewise is this the same for 24 commando regiment ?

On the British army website it says under the 23 para engineer section it says"With an overall strength of 543 personnel, 375 of which are to be filled with parachute trained personnel. There is therefore always a need for volunteers to attempt ‘P’ Company and go on to become an Airborne Sappers."

P.s does this basically mean you can be posted at 23 without actually passing p coy, is this true ?

Thank you
 
#17
Hi quick q im thinkin of joinin RE as a chippy but im already half way through site carpentry and joinery level 2 at college will this help me or shud i just look at a diff secondary? Cheers in adavance
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#18
It should help you at Phase 2b training. Discuss it with your recruiter, and/or when you are at RE Phase 1 Trg.
 
#20
3) 'What Will I Be Doing As A....'

As I said before, the Corps is a large and diverse place and over the course of your career you could find yourself employed doing almost anything. Most people, however, spend the majority of their time in a Regiment so it's worth explaining a little bit about how they are organised and operate.

First of all, Commanding Officers (COs) have a certain amount of discretion in how they run their Regiment and as they change around every few years, so will the unit. This means that there are always quite significant differences in Regiments that may on paper appear to be similar. The Officer Commanding (OC) of a Squadron will also have different ideas about how they want to play with their train-set, so Squadrons also differ from one another in how they are organised - even within the same Regiment. Confused? Get used to it - nothing is ever simple in the Royal Engineers.

Each Regiment is run by an RHQ (Regimental Headquarters), that is made up of such delightful characters as the CO (a Lieutenant Colonel, but to you, God), the RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major, to you as a simple Sapper, somewhere above God) and their assorted lackeys. The place to go to arrse-kiss if your eyes are sufficiently azure-blue, the place to avoid like the fcuking plague if you are an ordinary joe. There will be a number of Squadrons, of which there are three main types - HQ and Support Squadrons, Field Squadrons of one kind or another and Field Support Squadrons. HQ and Support Squadrons are largely made up of signallers and drivers (at the junior level at least), along with various other capbadges like the AGC, and exist to provide administrative and HQ support to the Regiment. Field or Armoured Squadrons are the ones who do most of the combat engineering (or whatever the Regiment's specialist role is). Field Support Squadrons are the domain of res specs, planties and others who enjoy logistics, big machinery or both.

No matter what trade you are, you are more likely than not to end up in a Field Squadron for your first posting - be it Armoured, EOD, Parachute, Commando or common and garden. There are 101 ways that Field Squadrons can be organised but generally they will consist of an HQ Element, 3 Field Troops and a Support Troop of some kind or other. Most tradesmen will end up in a Field Troop, where you will be one of 8 or so blokes in a Section, commanded by a Corporal. These will be your closest colleagues for at least the next three years so if you spurn them and sit on your Xbox 24/7, you'll be in for a pretty sh1te time. Signallers could end up either in Squadron HQ as part of a Sigs Wing or dispersed amonst the Troops. Drivers could end up almost anywhere within the Squadron and most planties will be in Support Troop. Be very afraid.

Wherever you go as an artisan tradesman, combat engineering is likely to be your bread-and-butter. Your trade will probably seem like a distant memory within a year and your heart will probably skip a beat when you hear 'Sapper Jones, you're a fabricator, aren't you?'. Be prepared for hard work on tour and exercise but periods of excruciating boredom in camp whilst you oil your 44th shovel and dream of what your mates are doing at Uni. Drivers, signallers, res specs, geo techs and to some extent planties will do their trade a lot more often.

Depending on where your particular unit is located, you could be doing any number of things on an op tour - anything from operating as a member of a High-Risk Search Team, to knocking up a bridge under the noses of the enemy, to repairing an airfield, to supervising local workers on a large camp, whilst they take their 5th prayer / tea / w@nk break that day. You will have absolutely no say over what your unit will end up doing so there is no point whatsoever in worrying about it. And yes, even paras, commando, bomb gods and divers will spend time doing bone things, which brings us neatly on to...

4) Paras, Commandos, EOD and Other Gucci Stuff

Parachute- and commando-trained engineer, diver, amphibious engineer are NOT trades (unless you count the TA, which of course nobody does). If you want to go through hell in order to wear a different coloured hat (and good on you if you do), you can volunteer for parachute or commando training at the end of training or at any other point in your career. If you want to be a diver, you can volunteer for the selection and subsequent course from just about any unit. EOD is currently becoming a trade in its own right. The first stage is converting people already serving, but in due course it is likely to also be open as an entry trade. As for EOD there are specific units that deal with these things (namely, 33 Engineer Regiment and 101 Engineer Regiment). If you want to do either, ask for the relevant unit and explain why you want to go there on your posting preference form. Once your there, you'll be trained in the necessary skills and then will be likely to return to the unit again and again throughout your career. It's all about getting your foot in the door, so keep plugging away at trying to get a posting to the relevant unit. If you don't, don't be devasted and throw your toys out of the pram - you'll be amazed how the unlikeliest things can get into your blood. Enjoy whatever it is you end up doing.

A couple of other things to bear in mind on this topic. There's nothing wrong with expressing an interest in doing something 'special' from day one, but keep banging on about and it can severely bite you on the arrse - especially if you want to be a para and end up with a reputation as a fat mong. Mention it as something that you'd be interested in doing then keep your gob shut. No one will be impressed if you start slagging off the rest of the Corps before you've even passed training. Furthermore, while it is true that the RE feeds a relatively large number of soldiers into the SAS, you will guarantee yourself a reputation as a complete numptie if you go on about 'selection' and 'sandy berets' before you've been around the block a few times.

5) Corps Culture

'Bullsh1t' is a forces term that is used to refer to polishing things, parades, room inspections etc. It is safe to say that the RE is one of the least bullsh1ty capbadges in the army and, if you're anything like me, that can only be a good thing. We tend to go in for spit-and-polish to a lesser degree than some other Regiments and Corps, probably because spending your time at the bottom of a hole covered in mud and concrete isn't exactly conducive to looking nice and shiney. Do not take this as a licence to be slack though - try walking past a Warrant Officer of any description looking like a sack of spuds and see how long it takes your ears to stop ringing.

Rivalry - friendly or not - plays a big part in army life and there is a lot of banter between capbadges and even internally within the Corps. Our historical rivals are the Royal Artillery - we were formed from the same organisation and even share a common motto: 'Ubique' (in our case it means 'Everywhere', in theirs 'All over the place'). In the EOD world, there is also more than a little rivalry between the RE and the RLC - whilst they accuse us of making a song and dance about every rusty WW2 bomb that we dig out of the ground, we reply that they only do EOD to give their Corps something sexier to do than stacking blankets. Inside the Corps, different trade groups rib each other mercilessly. Geo techs are geeky, drivers are mongs and combat engineers are referred to a 'squeaks' by POMs and armoured farmers. The common response is to accuse them of being lazy, pie-eating b@stards although, to be fair, they usually fail to see how this is an insult. If you can't handle this kind of p1ss-taking (or p1ss-taking for being a gwar, poof, split-arrse or Welsh), you might want to consider a career in the knitting industry instead.

The Corps is big on sport and there is plenty of opportunity to do pretty much anything you like. We won the FA cup in 1875 (although we gloss over the fact that the team was made up completely of officers). The Corps rugby teams - both league and union - are amongst the best in the army and the RE tent at the annual Army v Navy rugby game at Twickenham is one of the places to be. 26 Engineer Regiment were Army Boxing champions in 2011. There are even clubs that cater for obscure things like ballooning so you have no excuse for firing up that Xbox at every opportunity. Unless, instead, you subscribe to the other side of sapper* culture...

Drinking and partying is the pastime of choice for a large proportion of Royal Engineers, especially in places that are reknowned for their social life, like Germany and Chatham. In places where Squadron bars still exist - almost exclusively in Germany - they are not always for the faint-hearted. Whilst some of the stories you'll hear are exaggerated or belong to a by-gone age, you can safely assume that a night out with your sapper muckers won't revolve around a few glasses of wine in a classy bar. The Corps breeds lunatics like Denmark breeds paedophiles so the chances are that you'll have a few 'interesting' tales to tell after a few years of determined liver abuse.

That said - don't be put off if you're a bit of a shrinking violet or a quiter type of bloke. The Corps contains all sorts of people and you'll no doubt find a few friends who enjoy the same kind of things as you do. You big girl's bra.

Finally, our officers tend to be fairly down to earth blokes, with a high proportion of technical graduates who know their stuff. A lot of the Senior NCO (Sergeant and above) courses are also very challenging so you don't get many numpties amongst them either. I said 'many'...

*NB While 'Sapper' is the most junior rank in the Corps - equivalent to Private - Royal Engineers are frequently referred to as 'sappers', no matter what rank they hold. Even a General will find no insult in being called a sapper. Probably best that you don't actually call him 'Sapper Bollington-Smythe' though...

6) Civvie Strasse

One of the most common things you hear - from serving sappers, potential recruits and parents - is that they find the RE attractive because of the chance to get a trade that will stand them in good stead when they leave and go back to the civvie world. Whilst this can be true, don't just join the RE because you are worried about the future. If you want to be an infantryman, a tankie or laundry operator, go and do that instead and you'll be a happy old man one day. Join the Corps because you want to. Combat engineering forms the core of our existence and gives the RE a distinctive flavour (mostly beer and kebab) that sets us apart from other engineering organisations in the forces. Put simply, if you don't think you could cut it on a building site, don't join the RE.

Another thing to bear in mind is that some trades you won't touch from one year to the next and this can be a major disadvantage if you want to practice said trade on civvie street. With a bit of work, this should not put you off but it's something that's worth bearing in mind.

Finally, even if you prove to be a complete fcukwit, a billy no-mates or someone who seems to miss out on everything, the army has a funny way of forcing rose-tinted specs on your nose once you're out. Join, even if only for 4 years, and you'll dine out on the experience for the rest of your life.

7) Further Information

There is an RE page on the army website that contains quite a bit of useful info. Go to


Corps of Royal Engineers - British Army Website


and Bob's your uncle. Stick 'Royal Engineers' into goodle or wikipedia and you'll also find a lot of good stuff. Click through the “Sticky” pages at the top of the Sappers Forum and Joining Up boards of ARRSE and you'll find more advice than you could shake a sh1tty stick at.
I left in 1986 and your summing up of the Corps is just excellent.
I hope your description is far more recent.
 

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