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Pioneer Corps

A lead contender for the most famed Royal Pioneer Corps soldier would have to be;

Capt Herbert Sulzbach OBE, Iron Cross 1st & 2nd Class

A decorated WW1 German artillery officer who wrote the classic 'With the German Guns', Capt Sulzbach had to flee Germany because he was Jewish.
After being interned on the Isle of Man, he volunteered for the Royal Pioneer Corps and
became an interpreter.
He became well known for his work in German POW Camps for his re-education of many former Nazis, winning them over to the idea of democracy, prior to their repatriation; and also for his post-war efforts to reconcile the former enemy nations.
One account of him reads:
<<
Many of the several thousand officers who passed through Sulzbach’s hands
recorded moving tributes to his achievements in re-educating them towards
democracy. In 1982 they laid a plaque at the camp's site, making special mention of
‘Captain Herbert Sulzbach O.B.E. who dedicated himself to making this camp a
seedbed of British-German reconciliation’.
>>
There's a fair bit about him on the internet but this article from the Jewish Chronicle paints a good account.
Featherstone Park Camp

Here's his medal collection but I've seen no evidence that he ever wore his German military decorations on his British uniform.

View attachment 520857
RLC Museum
There was a Grenadier Guards Bandsman that wore his entitled Iron Cross, he is mentioned somewhere in the annals of ARRSE
 
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Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
My bold Its all the same army, so why?

Edit, 22sigs shared the same facilities with 27RA, no segregation or demarcation.
Because who on earth would want to socialise with the RAOC? :wink:
 
A civvy mate of mine sold insurance and the like around the NAAFIs in BAOR. In the queue in the NAAFI at a Pioneer unit, he asked for a chunky meat pie and was promptly decked by the guy behind him...
The few that I met were sound blokes, though rumour had it that Pt1 orders were read out loud every evening.
I only ever heard Pt1 Orders being read to RLC Transport Sqn (or MT Section) bods.
 
I sense that some of the contributors here may have been RPC, which is a plus. During my time they provided HQ defence - not a mean task, and off-duty were great social company. One of those at HQ 8Inf Bde had previously been in the FFL, and was more than a match at any PT or CQB face-to-face combat with anyone at Ebrington at that time. Another tried to reduce his weight by living in a black plastic refuse bag under his clothing - a reasonable, and as it proved, positive measure, if a bit unsocial. Good guys.
I don't know if you were at Ebrington at the same time as me ('72) but we had RPC search dog handlers with us, the RWF. I don't know if they were attached to us or 8 Brigade, but they always drank in our screws mess, which the Brigade JNCOs NEVER did (which caused a lot of animosity between the regiment and them - particularly in the queue for the char wallah). The Pioneers were first class guys and really loved their dogs and did a very good job.

BTW, there was a saying when I was in that if you wanted fast promotion, it was better to be clever in a thick unit than be clever in a clever one.
 
Batus in 87 we had a young chunk, l/cpl I think , JJ , he was ace, the hardest working lad in the workshop , he washed down the packs before we got to work on them , and he was always good for a pallet of jerry cans for the car

and he was continually as horny as a two dicked dog, with half the scruples . For some reason he went down a storm with all the local slappers Jeez , there was nothing he wouldn't shag

 
A civvy mate of mine sold insurance and the like around the NAAFIs in BAOR. In the queue in the NAAFI at a Pioneer unit, he asked for a chunky meat pie and was promptly decked by the guy behind him...
The few that I met were sound blokes, though rumour had it that Pt1 orders were read out loud every evening.

When I first joined the Army, I met a few pioneers (and some infantry) who couldnt read, their recruiters, instructors and mates all covered for them. But they were the reason orders were read out.
 

RedDinger

Old-Salt
We had several RPC attached to 39 Sigs in 85. Among other duties they were bodyguards for Techs when we ventured into West Belfast. A good bunch of blokes.

I didn't ask them to read to me so I can't comment on their literacy.
 

Carbon 6

War Hero
Batus in 87 we had a young chunk, l/cpl I think , JJ , he was ace, the hardest working lad in the workshop , he washed down the packs before we got to work on them , and he was always good for a pallet of jerry cans for the car

and he was continually as horny as a two dicked dog, with half the scruples . For some reason he went down a storm with all the local slappers Jeez , there was nothing he wouldn't shag


@don't tell him pike was in the RPC?
 

exsniffer

Old-Salt
I seem to recall that RPC officers were responsible for administering local labour in BAOR and so had access to some fairly useful civilian qualifications An MBA springs (possibly falsely) to mind.

As a result It was said that the RPC had the brightest officers and the dimmest other ranks and so was the opposite of my own Corps
 
When I first joined the Army, I met a few pioneers (and some infantry) who couldnt read, their recruiters, instructors and mates all covered for them. But they were the reason orders were read out.
There was an establishment called the Army School of (Elementary/Preliminary ?) Education (or something like) which was based at Corsham, which took soldiers who needed to be taught to read and add up.
I also recall another establishment which took in men who were badly under or overweight. I don't remember where it was.
Maybe these places were creations of the National Service era - if you could have dodged the draft by claiming to be illiterate menny would have dun itt.
You had to be careful who you bullied - the fatties and the weedies might come back built like Superman.
 
I seem to recall that RPC officers were responsible for administering local labour in BAOR and so had access to some fairly useful civilian qualifications
Every garrison seemed to have a PCLU (Pioneer and Civil Labour Unit) which was staffed by the RPC. They also ran the MCLGs, Mobile Civil Labour Groups which consisted of civilians from various countries (primarily Eastern bloc, but also the poor countries of western Europe, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian. They lived in barrack accommodation with their own cookhouses.
 

KnockKnock

Old-Salt
We had a National Service corporal who lost his stripes for being caught 'out of bounds' in area of local Malaya town, then posted miles away as private in the Pioneer Corps.
 

ScooterDog

Clanker
On a largish FTX in Germanland mid 70's, I was tasked with the Recovery of a Chieftain MBT. It was bogged in on an embankment and had thrown a track. It looked as if the Squadron had gone from field to field across a dual carriageway, flattened the ARMCO and pushed mud everywhere. (We could do that shit back then.)

On arrival at the the stricken tank with my Cent ARV, there was a section of RPC helping out as security and waiting to clear the mess after I had finished.

It was a horribly messy job, pissing down with rain. GCP had closed the road and by the time I had the MBT back on the road and had sorted out the track ready to be towed away, a Bedford full of more Chunkies arrived and started the real work.

Two days later I passed the exact same spot and there was nothing to suggest that anything had ever happened there. The track gouges up the embankment had been filled and turfed, the road was clean of mud and the ARMCO had been replaced. They had even planted some saplings along the embankment.

In 15 years of Regular Service, this was the one and only time I met the Pioneers and I was very impressed. Total respect.
 

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