Royal School of Military Engineering

The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) Group provides a wide range of training not only in all the engineering disciplines that are fundamental to the Royal Engineers, but also Military Working Animals; their handlers and maintainers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Military Musicians. The scope of training delivered by the RSME Group ranges from combat engineers to Army musicians, chartered engineers to veterinary technicians and bomb disposal operators to heavy plant operators.

Royal School of Military Engineering
Royal Engineers badge
Badge of the Royal Engineers
Active1812 – Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleEngineer Training
Part ofArmy Recruiting and Training Division
Garrison/HQChatham, Kent
51°23′34″N 0°32′07″E / 51.3928°N 0.5352°ECoordinates: 51°23′34″N 0°32′07″E / 51.3928°N 0.5352°E
Brigadier MTG Bazeley (Late RE)


The Peninsular War (1808–14) revealed deficiencies in the training and knowledge of officers and men in the conduct of siege operations and bridging. During this war low ranking Royal Engineers officers carried out large scale operations. They had under their command working parties of two or three battalions of infantry, two or three thousand men, who knew nothing in the art of siegeworks. Royal Engineers officers had to demonstrate the simplest tasks to the soldiers often while under enemy fire. Several officers were lost and could not be replaced and a better system of training for siege operations was required. The need for a school was highlighted by problems experienced during the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo In January 1812 and the Siege of Badajoz in March 1812.[1]

On 23 April 1812 an establishment was authorised, by Royal Warrant, to teach "Sapping, Mining, and other Military Fieldwork's" to the junior officers of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Corps of Royal Military Artificers, Sappers and Miners.

Maj Gen Sir Charles Pasley KCB

Captain Charles Pasley who had been pressing for such an establishment since 1809 was selected as the first Director with the rank of major. The location chosen was Chatham which was, at that time, a strongly fortified naval town. The town was surrounded by batteries, bastions and ditches designed to be defended by 7000 men and so provided excellent areas for training in siege operations. (Records show that there had been a military base on the high ground above Chatham built to defend Chatham Dockyard since at least 1708.) Pasley received his orders to move from Plymouth on 2 May 1812 and ten days later he was in Chatham.

In 1815 Pasley recommended that the Royal Sappers and Miners Training Depot at Woolwich be closed, to concentrate all training at Chatham. But that was not achieved until 1850 when the training Depot was moved to Brompton Barracks, Chatham. The move was made possible by the completion of North Kent Railway, which facilitated a fast transport link into London. The Headquarters of the Royal Engineers, also based in Woolwich, was not moved to Chatham until 1857.

The first courses at the Royal Engineers Establishment were done on an all ranks basis with the greatest regard to economy. To reduce staff the NCOs and officers were responsible for instructing and examining the soldiers. If the men could not read or write they were taught to do so and those that could read and write were taught to draw and interpret simple plans. The Royal Engineers Establishment quickly became the centre of excellence for all fieldwork's and bridging. Pasley was keen to confirm his teaching and regular exercises were held as demonstrations or as experiments to improve the techniques and teaching of the Establishment. From 1833 bridging skills were demonstrated annually by the building of a pontoon bridge across the Medway which was proved by the infantry of the garrison and the cavalry from Maidstone. These demonstrations had become a popular spectacle for the local people by 1843, when 43,000 came to watch a field day laid on to test a method of assaulting earthworks for a report to the Inspector General of Fortifications. In 1869 the title of the Royal Engineers Establishment was changed to "The School of Military Engineering" (SME) as evidence of its status, not only as the font of engineer doctrine and training for the British Army, but also as the leading scientific military school in Europe.

Its range of courses at this time included instruction in:

  • Field fortifications
  • Siege works & mining
  • Demolitions
  • Fitting & Lathe work
  • Bridging
  • Stoking & management of steam boilers
  • Engine driving
  • Electric light in field operations
  • Electricity & telegraphy
  • Model making
  • Woodworking machinery
  • Photography & chemistry
  • Ballooning
  • Survey
  • Submarine mining
  • Railway work
  • Lithography (printing)
  • Estimating & building construction

At the start of World War I the Royal Engineer battalions based at Chatham were deployed to defend the local area. Immediately recruits started to arrive - in the first six weeks of the war 15,000 men arrived. A hundred recruits per day had been expected to arrive but they arrived at a rate of two hundred rising to a peak of nine hundred per day. The Depot coped so well with this influx that on 3 October 1914, the King and Queen paid a private visit to the Corps, 12,001 all ranks were on parade in uniform on the Great Lines.

The courses at Chatham had to change to produce soldiers at the rate required by the war. Training in the Construction, Survey and Electrical Schools was cut back to allow for increases in fieldwork's and military training. Recruit courses were cut from eight months to four months and a batch of thirty officers arrived every month for five months training. After the war, the SME returned to its peacetime training role. In 1920 officers started to go to Cambridge University for one year courses. This was limited to wartime officers who then also had to do one year at SME, but by 1926 all officers spent two years at Cambridge University, after their course at SME, and received a degree.

Between the wars sports were an important part of life at SME. The barracks had an open-air swimming pool. New sports fields were built on the Black Lion fields, and a new hockey ground was built to the north of the Great Lines. The enthusiasm for sports went so far that in 1921 three tennis courts were marked out on Brompton Barracks square and were used frequently.

In 1939 SME mobilised again and the Training Battalion left Chatham forming two training battalions at Harper Barracks Ripon and Shorncliffe Army Camp.

Young Officer training was cut short to allow the officers to be dispatched to units. No basic training was now done at Chatham since the officers were trained at the RE OCTU and the men were to be trained in the training battalions. Specialist, instructor and higher trade continued at Chatham but from June 1940 training was seriously interrupted by German efforts to destroy the dockyard. Approximately 100 bombs, and one Spitfire, fell on the SME damaging buildings including the Commandant's residence. One caused heavy casualties when it burst in the basement of a barrack block. Staff and students were also required to direct the building of defences in the dockyard and the surrounding area. It was difficult to continue training under these circumstances so it was decided to look for a new site for SME. In September 1940 the decision was taken to move to Ripon. Despite the disruptions caused by the move, only one month's training was lost. Trade training remained at Chatham throughout the war due to the difficulty of finding suitable workshops elsewhere. The school at Ripon was expanded to keep pace with the growing demands of the war. In 1940 an Experimental Tunnelling Section was formed and in 1941 Assault Engineer and Bomb Disposal Schools were formed. The schools ran a wide range of courses for all arms and the long courses were designed to be taken in sections so that students could attend the relevant parts.

After the war SME remained at Ripon while a decision was made about the future location of the school. Several sites with better training facilities were considered but the Treasury could not afford the cost of providing new quarters and SME returned to Chatham. The move back was completed in March 1950. The close relationship the SME had with the civilian population led to the Corps being granted the Freedom of Ripon before the departure of the SME in July 1949. The SME was also involved in the parades granting the Freedom of Gillingham in September 1953 and of Rochester in May 1954.

In 1950 trade training courses were six months long, and these were put to good use around the barracks. By 1953 they had built Burgoyne House for the Mess Secretary and Napier House for the Institution Secretary. In 1962 the School of Military Engineering celebrated its 150th birthday, and as a birthday present HM The Queen bestowed the Royal title on the School, becoming The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME). This was announced by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh when he visited Chatham to lay the foundation stone for a new barracks for the RSME at Chattenden Camp, to house Fieldwork's, Signal and Tactics Schools and to provide accommodation for Plant, Roads and Airfields School.

In 1993 Battlefield Engineer Wing moved from Chatham to Minley. In 2006 the Defence Animal Centre came under the command of the RSME and this was followed by the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment in 2011 and more recently in 2012 by the Royal Military School of Music to form the RSME Group as we know it today.

The Corps Museum in Chatham provides an opportunity to explore the history of the Royal Engineers.

Curriculum history

Jebb-map2-e002342777-print 1816 Survey
Survey of the Rideau Canal by Captain Joshua Jebb.
Pentonville Prison designed by Captain Joshua Jebb.
Victoria Barracks looking East
Victoria Barracks, Sydney, designed by Lieutenant Colonel George Barney.

Some of the original subjects taught and innovations included:
Field fortification This was the original course of instruction and covered: field defence, siege works, bridging, demolition. Railway work was introduced in the 1830s.

Survey First introduced in 1833, covered Technical Surveying and Military Topography. This led to officers and soldiers conducting surveys (e.g. India 1820-1947, Palestine1865-83, and Uganda railway 1890's) and boundary commissions throughout the world, (e.g. North American 1843 and 1858, Russo-Afghan 1884, Gambia 1890, Kenya 1892 and Chile-Argentine 1902). Both tasks are still practiced to this day.

Electricity First introduced in the 1830s, covered battery construction, telegraphy, firing of mines, and electric light (search-lights) - From this department grew; the Army Signals Service, which became the Corps of Royal Signals (1920) and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (1942). The Professional Engineer Wing of the School still qualifies Clerks of Works, Engineering Technicians, Incorporated Engineers and Chartered Engineers in Electrical Engineering and trains electricians for deployment with the Corps.

Photography and Chemistry First introduced in the early 1850s just before the Crimean war (1854–56) because its potential as a method of photo-reconnaissance was seen. Captain (later Sir) William de Wiveleslie Abney RE, whilst acting as department head in the 1870s, invented the photolithographic process called `Papyrotype'. The interest in chemistry continued through to the First World War and gave rise to the development, by the Corps, of chemical weapons in response to the German use of poison gas in 1915.

Lithography First introduced into the curriculum in the 1850s. It was invented in 1798 as a method of printing using stones.

Diving and Submarine mining This subject was of a personal interest to Pasley, who introduced it in 1838. To trained divers in coast defence, underwater demolition, guided torpedoes (Brennan torpedo) and port wreck clearance.

Estimating and Building Construction First introduced in the 1830s and included: building materials, sewerage, drainage, ventilation, gas and water supply, building design and architecture. Architecture was introduced in 1825 and by the 1840s onwards, this department was training world-class building designers and architects; men such as Lieutenant Colonel George Barney (designer of Victoria Barracks, Sydney, Australia), Captain Joshua Jebb (prison designer whose works included; Pentonville Prison, Broadmoor Hospital, a secure mental hospital, and Mountjoy Prison in the centre of Dublin), Captain Francis Fowke (architect of the Royal Albert Hall), and Major General Henry Young Darracott Scott (builder of Royal Albert Hall). The Professional Engineer Wing of the School still qualifies Clerks of Works, Engineering Technicians, Incorporated Engineers and Chartered Engineers in Civil Engineering.

Ballooning First introduced in the 1860s as a means of aerial reconnaissance. After the Anglo-Boer war (1899–1902) developments shifted from air balloons to fixed-wing aircraft, which eventually led to the formation of the Royal Flying Corps in 1912 and the Royal Air Force.

Mechanics Brought about with the adaptation of the Steam Engine for military purposes in the 1870s; this gave rise to the interest in railways, which led to the formation of the Royal Engineers Transport Section responsible for railways, waterways and ports, and from this the Royal Corps of Transport was formed in 1965.The Professional Engineer Wing of the School still qualifies Clerks of Works, Engineering Technicians, Incorporated Engineers and Chartered Engineers in Mechanical Engineering and trains Mechanical Fitters for the wider Corps.

The Fowke Medal

London-Victoria and Albert Museum-Building-01
North Side of Victoria and Albert Museum designed by Captain Francis Fowke, Royal Engineers.

Francis Fowke (7 July 1823 – 4 December 1865) was a British Engineer, Architect and a Captain in the Royal Engineers, who was educated at the School of Military Engineering.[2] Most of his architectural work was executed in the Renaissance style, although he made use of relatively new technologies to create iron framed buildings, with large open galleries and spaces.

Among his projects were the Prince Consort's Library in Aldershot, the Royal Albert Hall and parts of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, and the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. He was also responsible for planning the 1862 International Exhibition in London. Working on the International Exhibition building, described as 'a wretched shed' by The Art Journal; The Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of 1851, being a hard act to follow. Parliament declined the Government's proposal to purchase the building; the materials were sold and used for the construction of Alexandra Palace. Before his sudden death from a burst blood vessel, he won the competition for the design of the Natural History Museum, although he did not live to see it executed. His renaissance designs for the museum were altered and realised in the 1870s by Alfred Waterhouse, on the site of Fowke's Exhibition building.

The presentation of the Fowke Medal was instigated by the Institution of Royal Engineers in 1865, as a memorial prize for young officers who demonstrated outstanding architectural ability at the School of Military Engineering. With the demise of great architectural works the prize has been transferred and today it is reproduced in bronze and is awarded to the top student in each of the Clerk of Works (Construction), (Electrical), (Mechanical) and Military Plant Foreman's courses at the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME).

Brompton Barracks

Records show that there has been a military base on the high ground above Chatham since at least 1708, built to defend Chatham Dockyard.[3]

Brompton Barracks forms the centrepiece of the Brompton Lines Conservation Area, an area designated in 1982 acknowledging the importance of the Chatham Dockyard as having the best-preserved dockyard defences in the country, and a set of historic assets of international significance. Brompton Barracks now forms part of the headquarters of the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) and are one of the highest quality Georgian barracks in the country. The Georgian core of the barracks has been enhanced by a collection of 19th and early 20th century buildings and monuments associated with the school and the carefully designed formal landscaping around these structures.

World Heritage Status

Chatham's UNESCO World Heritage Site application is funded by Medway Council, English Heritage and the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. Communities and Local Government (CLG) have also made important contributions to project work.[4] Brompton Barracks proliferation of Listed Buildings, museum and historical links to the area and the nation are key elements in the attempt by Chatham to achieve World Heritage status. The RSME is represented on Steering Group of the bid.

Scheduled monument

The Brompton Lines were built in 1755-1757, during the Seven Years' War, to protect Chatham Dockyard from the landward side. The initial construction was in earth. The Lines were improved in the 1780s, during the American War of Independence, when a further French threat was recognised. This work included the defensive ditches with brick retaining walls that still survive today. In 1803 a new magazine and protective Ravelin were built in the north-east corner of the 1780s fortifications. The site of the magazine and Ravelin are outside the boundary of the Scheduled Monument, although their surviving below ground elements have the same historic significance as the other parts of the Lines. The defences were extended to the north-east from 1803–1809, with the construction of the Lower Lines. This work ran concurrently with the construction of the original buildings of Brompton Barracks. Advances in military engineering rendered them redundant by the mid 19th century although they continued in use as a training area until the late 19th century and were sporadically occupied during the First and Second World Wars.

Listed buildings

In addition to the Institute building, built in 1872, Brompton Barracks North, South and West Blocks, flanking the Parade Square are also Grade II* Listed. Following the resumption of war in 1803, the Ordnance Board decided to build new Artillery Barracks, similar to those at Woolwich. Building work was completed in 1806. It was first occupied by Foot Artillery, but the Royal Military Artificers also had a company at Brompton in 1806, and in 1812 it became the Royal Engineers' Establishment.[5] Also included in the building works were stables for 200 horses and sheds for 30 gun carriages.

The Listed buildings in Brompton Barracks are arranged in a formal, mostly symmetrical arrangement that centres on an axis that runs east-south-east to west-north-west through the centre of BR029, through the middle of four Grade II* Listed war memorials and through the middle of the parade ground. The South Africa Arch a memorial to the Corps' dead and wounded of the Boer War was unveiled on 26 July 1905 by King Edward VII. The memorial was constructed by Ingress Bell, starting in 1902, and its construction was subsidised by all ranks of the Corps. The memorial is Grade II* listed. The Crimean War Memorial Arch dates to 1858, the Gordon Memorial to 1890 and the Great War Obelisk.

The HQ 1 RSME Regiment, a former school house, is Grade II* listed.


CCT - Spr Alderson welding
A Military Engineer - Fabricator in Iraq
HQ Royal School of Military Engineering
HQ Royal School of Military Engineering.
Royal Engineers Museum, Prince Arthur Rd, Gillingham (2) - - 1148711
Ravelin Building now houses the InstRE and Royal Engineers Museum.
British engineers demining
Combat Engineers of 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment practice landmine clearance.

The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) Group provides a wide range of training not only in all the engineering disciplines that are fundamental to the Royal Engineers, but also Military Working Animals; their handlers and maintainers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Military Musicians. The scope of training delivered by the RSME Group is vast ranging from combat engineers to Army musicians, chartered engineers to veterinary technicians and bomb disposal operators to heavy plant operators.

The RSME encourages and promotes a wide range of sporting activities and clubs enabling all personnel to participate either as individuals or as part of a team. All sites have well equipped gymnasiums, squash and tennis courts, hockey, rugby and football pitches. The site at Minley, Surrey maintains a swimming pool in order to enable combat and competitive swimming training.

The RSME Group now consists of a headquarters at Chatham, Kent and the following seven Unit commands spread over 6 different locations.

• 1 RSME Regiment (1RSME Regt) Chatham, Kent

• 3 RSME Regiment (3 RSME Regt) Minley, Surrey

• Professional Engineer Wing (PEW) Chatham, Kent

• Royal Engineer Warfare Wing (REWW) Minley, Surrey

Defence Animal Centre (DAC) Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment (DEMS Trg Regt) Bicester and Kineton

Royal Military School of Music (RMSM) Twickenham

The quest for continuous improvement is driving the modernisation of the design and delivery of the training courses across the RSME Group. Many courses now benefit from modern state of the art technology to support the soldiers learning experience. Course content and training methods are continually reviewed to ensure the RSME Group continues to deliver the required number of highly motivated trained personnel and military working animals in order to meet the requirements of Defence.

The RSME at Brompton Barracks at Chatham is also home to the Royal Engineers Museum and the Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE).


The Royal Engineer is a military engineer. The training combines the discrete but complementary disciplines of combat engineering and construction engineering which, together, provide the unique range of skills that are fundamental to the Royal Engineers.

These skills include the command and management of engineer tasks; combat engineering; artisan, technical, and professional engineering; counter terrorist search; communication; watermanship; and driving specialist engineer vehicles.

Soldier training

Sappers are firstly trained as a soldier and then as a combat engineer. Many Royal Engineering trades require minimal qualifications on entry; however most trades require individuals to possess good practical ability, technical aptitude and an appetite for continuous learning.[6]

On completion of Phase 1 training, all Royal Engineers proceed to RSME Minley to complete their Phase 2a training in which they will qualify as a combat engineer. In the 9 week long course, soldiers will learn combat engineering skills such as how to clear mines, construct bridges and cross water obstacles. On successful completion soldiers will be awarded their Royal Engineer Stable Belt and officially become a Sapper.[7]

On completion of Phase 2a training, Sappers commence their Phase 2b training. For most trades, this will mean artisan trade training at Chatham in Kent. Course lengths vary and can last up 53 weeks at the end of which Sappers will be posted their first Regiment. For some this will include further training as a paratrooper, commando or EOD specialist. All successful graduates of their Phase 2b courses are awarded a Military Engineer Class 2 qualification for their particular trade.[8]

At some stage during their careers, most Sappers will return to Chatham to continue their professional development. This phase of their training is known as Phase 3. Phase 3 training can be split into 3 main categories: trade training, command and leadership training, and professional engineering.[9]

Officer training

Although more than 80% of officer cadets are university graduates, some are accepted with A-Levels or equivalent qualifications, or are serving soldiers who have been selected for officer training. Age on entry must be between 17 years 9 months and 28 years. Following the 48 weeks of officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Royal Engineer Officers proceed to Command Wing at the RSME, where they complete a 6-month-long Troop Commanders' Course.[10]

The course, which is split between the Minley and Chatham sites, aims to provide the Corps of Royal Engineers with trained and motivated commanders and leaders through operationally focused command and leadership training. With particular emphasis on engineering principles, doctrine and tactics, the training provides the necessary technical, supervisory and administrative knowledge to command engineer soldiers in peace and on operations. On passing the Troop Commanders' Course, officers are posted to their unit, where they will become a Troop Commander. This may entail further training as a paratrooper, commando or bomb disposal officer.

During their commission, high-quality officers may be selected to attend the Battle Captains' Course and/or Squadron Commanders' Course, where they will be provided with the necessary command and supervisory training required to operate effectively in their unit.

Professional engineer training

Professional Engineering Wing delivers advanced technical training to foundation degree standard for selected Junior NCOs and post-graduate learning for officers with engineering degrees to be awarded a MSc degree and be well placed to apply for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status, in order to deliver force infrastructure, reconstruction and development projects on operations. Soldiers who have proved themselves as high quality tradesmen may apply to attend Clerk of Works/Military Plant Foreman courses whilst high quality officers apply to become Professionally Qualified Chartered Engineers in order to lead the Corps civil, electrical and mechanical engineering effort.

Other beneficiaries

The RSME Group also provides training for the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, other Arms and Services of the British Army, Other Government Departments, and Foreign and Commonwealth countries as required. These skills provide vital components in the Army's operational capability.


Royal Engineers Metcalf and Manduwi (photo Andy V Byers)
Royal Engineers' Surveyors in Europe

The mission of RSME Group is "To deliver the required number of highly motivated trained personnel and military working animals in order to meet the requirements of Defence".

Headquarters RSME

Headquarters Royal School of Military Engineering provides policy, strategy and direction to its seven units. The RSME is commanded by a Brigadier, the Commandant RSME, from the headquarters in Brompton Barracks, Chatham.

The Institute building was built in 1872 and housed the Engineers' college: a central lecture room flanked by specialised teaching rooms. It is now occupied by Headquarters RSME, Headquarters Construction Engineer School and the Corps Library. It is a fine grade II listed building.

The Institution of Royal Engineers is now housed in the Ravelin Building, co-located with the Royal Engineers Museum.

Holdfast Training Services

In a public private partnership (PPP) that will span 30 years, Holdfast Training Services Ltd and the RSME will modernise training and the management of training through the development of new initiatives.

In August 2008 Holdfast Training Services Ltd signed a 30-year Public Private Partnership (PPP) Contract, worth in the region of £3 billion, with the MoD. The Contract commenced on 5th January 2009 to provide the RSME at Chatham and Minley, with training, training support services and hard and soft FM services. These are provided by Babcock and three central secondary contractors: MKC Training Services, TQ and ESS. There was also a 7 year build programme undertaken by Carillion PLC. The design, build and transition phase involved three locations and included 32 new builds, 21 refurbishments and the development of five training areas. The Contract also provides limited hard FM services and IT support at Bicester. The core training capabilities delivered at the RSME (Chatham and Minley) are varied, and include: Combat and management of engineer tasks, Combat Engineering, Artisan, Technical and professional Engineering, Communication, Watermanship, and Driving specialist engineer vehicle.[11]

"Pay as you Dine" facilities exist at both sites and provide a wide range of hot and cold food for all soldiers and staff. Both sites also have a NAAFI shop, relaxation facilities, licensed bars, internet access, large screen TVs and pool tables.


  1. ^ Porter, Maj Gen Whitworth (1889). History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Vol I. Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers. p.310
  2. ^ Royal Engineers' Museum - Francis Fowke Archived 10 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Brompton Barracks Cultural Heritage Appraisal
  4. ^ Chatham World Heritage and Existing UK World Heritage Sites
  5. ^ "The History of Brompton" (PDF). p. 14. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  6. ^ Soldier Training
  7. ^ Phase 2A
  8. ^ Phase 2B
  9. ^ RE Phase 3
  10. ^ Officer Training
  11. ^ Holdfast Training

External links

Brompton, Kent

Brompton is an old village near Chatham, in Medway, England. Its name means "a farmstead where broom grows" — broom is a small yellow flowering shrub. Today, Brompton is a small residential village between Chatham Dockyard and Gillingham.

Brompton dates back to the late 17th century, and grew rapidly in the 18th century to accommodate the fast-growing dockyard workforce. It was a deliberately planned settlement, laid out by Thomas Rogers, Esquire, the owner of Westcourt Manor on whose demense lands it was built. In the 1750s, with the building of the Chatham Lines to defend Chatham Dockyard, the village became completely surrounded by military establishments, limiting its ability to expand much beyond its original plan. When war with France recommenced in 1778, it was necessary to strengthen the dockyard defences. Fort Amherst and the Chatham Lines (defensive ditches) were improved and extended, and work was later begun on additional perimeter forts in Chatham and Rochester. The Barracks – still in existence today – were built to house the soldiers. This, and the expansion of the dockyard, meant that more homes were needed for the workers. The position of the Chatham Lines meant that eventually building could only happen to the east of the defensive ditch, and so New Brompton came into being. The population rose to 9,000 by 1851.

From the 1850s, following the building of New Brompton & Gillingham Station, and the subsequent expansion of the town of New Brompton (Gillingham), the original settlement of Brompton became known as Old Brompton. From the late 19th century the importance of Old Brompton as a commercial center began to decline, finally being destroyed in the 1950s and 1960s when redevelopment by Gillingham Council tore down the main 18th & 19th century shopping streets (High Street, Wood Street, Middle Street), replacing shops with council housing, leaving just a handful of shops at the southern end of the High Street. The closure of Chatham Dockyard in 1984 spelled the end for several of the shops and pubs that did manage to survive the Council redevelopments.

Gillingham Green was a small village; eventually it, too, was swallowed up, and the name of the whole settlement changed to Gillingham.

Officers' houses were built within the confines of the Barracks and at Brompton where Mansion Row, Prospect Row and Garden Street now form part of the Brompton-Lines conservation area.

New Brompton was the name originally given to Gillingham station on the Chatham Main Line. New Brompton was the original name of Gillingham F.C. Founded in 1893 it changed its name in 1913.

Brompton Barracks has been home to the Royal Engineers since 1812, and now houses the Royal Engineers Museum. The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) is based at Brompton Barracks

Brompton is also part of the Chatham Dockyard World Heritage bid.

Carl A. Strock

Carl Ames Strock (Ret.) (born c. 1948) was a United States Army officer, and was Chief of Engineers and the Commanding General of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He was born in Georgia and grew up in an Army family. He enlisted in the Army and received his commission as an infantry second lieutenant following graduation from Officer Candidate School in 1972. After completing Ranger and Special Forces training, he served primarily with infantry units before transferring to the Engineer Branch of the U.S. Army in 1983. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and a master's degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.

Prior to his selection as the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he served as Director of Civil Works, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In September 2003, he returned from a six-month tour of duty in Iraq as the Deputy Director of Operations for the Coalition Provisional Authority. His previous assignment was Director of Military Programs, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As the Chief of Engineers, Strock was at the center of attention concerning issues surrounding the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In June 2006, General Strock accepted responsibility on behalf of the Corps for the failure of the flood protection, calling it "a system in name only."Strock stepped down as the Chief of Engineers and retired in 2007. He was replaced by LTG Robert L. Van Antwerp Jr. on 5 March 2007 as the 52nd Chief of Engineers.

Strock's command assignments include:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division;

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division;

Engineer Brigade, 24th Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia;

307th Engineer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, where he led the battalion through Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Iraq;

Rifle Company Commander, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (Forward) in Germany;

Operational Detachment Commander, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.Other assignments include:

Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Engineer Training Center and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri;

Personnel Staff Officer, Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Washington, D.C.;

Colonels Assignment Officer, U.S. Army Personnel Command, Washington D.C.;

Exchange Officer and Instructor, Royal School of Military Engineering in England;

Battalion Operations Officer, Assistant Division Engineer, and Battalion Executive Officer for the 307th Engineer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division;

Resident Engineer, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi;

Project Officer, Tennessee- Tombigbee Waterway, Mississippi and Alabama;

Scout Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Courtenay Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar

Courtenay Charles Evan Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar, CBE, VD (10 April 1867 – 3 May 1934), was a British peer.

Morgan was the eldest son of the Honourable Frederick Courtenay Morgan, of Ruperra Castle, third son of Charles Morgan, 1st Baron Tredegar. His mother was Charlotte Anne, daughter of Charles Alexander Williamson, of Lawers, Perthshire. He succeeded his uncle Godfrey Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar, as third Baron Tredegar in 1913.Tredegar was appointed a captain in the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers on 30 December 1891, and was later promoted an honorary major. In early 1900 he was Aide-de-camp to Sir Thomas Fraser, Commandant Royal School of Military Engineering at Chatham and Commanding the Thames District.One of Lord Tredegar's first acts after his succession was to purchase the steam yacht Liberty, which almost immediately was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for use as a hospital ship. He left his home and went back to war, taking command of his yacht for the first part of the war. After the end of hostilities, he embarked on a world cruise, eventually going around the world twice during which he visited every colony in the British Empire and every state in the Commonwealth of Australia.In 1926 the viscountcy was revived when he was created Viscount Tredegar, of Tredegar in the County of Monmouth. He is not recorded as having spoken in the House of Lords. In 1933 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire, a post he held until his death the following year.Lord Tredegar married Lady Katharine Agnes Blanche, daughter of James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk, in 1890. He died in May 1934, aged 67, at the Ritz Hotel in London after his return from a health trip to Australia. He was succeeded in the viscountcy and ownership of Tredegar House by his eccentric and bohemian son, Evan Morgan, 2nd Viscount Tredegar.

Katharine, Viscountess Tredegar died in London in 1949, only a few months after her son Evan. Hon. Gwyneth Ericka Morgan, the only daughter of Courtenay and Katharine died in mysterious circumstances following her disappearance in 1924.

Defence Animal Centre

The Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) is a training Establishment, based in Melton Mowbray, east Leicestershire, that trains animals (mainly dogs) for all three armed forces. It is also home of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. DATR now comes under command of the Royal School of Military Engineering.

Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment

The Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment (DEMS Training Regiment) is an element of the Royal School of Military Engineering responsible for the delivery of training to British Army Ammunition Technicians, Ammunition Technical Officers and Search Operators. The Regiment delivers training from two locations: Marlborough Barracks, MoD Kineton near Kineton, Warwickshire and St George's Barracks, MoD Bicester, near Bicester, Oxfordshire.

Edmond Herbert Grove-Hills

Edmond Herbert Grove-Hills CMG CBE FRS (1 August 1864 – 2 October 1922) was a British soldier and astronomer.He was born the son of Herbert Augustus and Anna (née Grove, daughter of William Robert Grove) Hills in High Head Castle, Cumberland and educated at Winchester College until 1882, after which he entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He adopted the surname Grove-Hills.

He received a commission in the Royal Engineers and worked as an instructor at the Royal School of Military Engineering at Chatham, later transferring to surveying duties as a member of the General Staff. He left the army around 1905 and attempted unsuccessfully to enter politics. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1911, his candidacy citation reading:

Distinguished as an Astronomer and Geodesist. Secretary since 1896 of the Joint Permanent Eclipse Committee of the Royal Society and Royal Astronomical Society. Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society. Instructor in Chemistry and Photography at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham (1893–1899). Head of the Topographical Department of the War Office (1899-1905). Has taken an important part in the systematization of the Scientific Survey of the British Empire. Started the 1/1,000,000 map of Africa. Secretary of the Arbitration Tribunal to determine the frontier between Chile and Argentina (1899-1902). Employed by the War and Colonial Offices to make inspections and formulate schemes for future survey work in the following colonies: - Canada (1903), East Africa (1907); Uganda (1907), Ceylon (1907), Federated Malay States (1907), and Southern Nigeria (1909). President of the Geographical Section of the British Association (1908). Has taken part in several eclipse expeditions, West Africa (1893), Japan (1896), and India (1898), obtaining photographs of the flash and corona spectra with slit spectroscopes. Author of the following papers: - 'The Determination of Terrestrial Longitudes by Photography' (Mem Roy Astron Soc; 1897); 'The Optical Distortion of a Doublet Lens' (Monthly Notices, Royal Astron Soc; 1899); 'The Geography of International Frontiers' (Geograph Journ, 1906); and in conjunction with Sir J Larmor: - 'The Irregular Movements of the Earth's Axis of Rotation: a Contribution towards the Analysis of its Causes' (Monthly Notices, Roy Astron Soc, 1906)

He developed an interest in astronomy, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He took part in observations of eclipses of the sun in 1896 (Japan) and 1898 (India). He was recalled from a similar exercise in Russia at the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and appointed Assistant Chief Engineer of Eastern Command. He was awarded CBE in 1918.

He served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1913 to 1915.

He had married in 1892 Juliet Spencer-Bell, daughter of MP James Spencer-Bell.

He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

Engineer Services Regiment

The Corps of Engineer Services (CES) a regiment of the Sri Lanka Army. The role of the Corps of Engineer Services is to design, construct and maintain all buildings, roads and associated facilities such as electricity, water supply and drainage systems used by the Sri Lanka Army, Apart from this, the Regiment is also responsible for the installation, maintenance and repair of all types of generators, water pumps, sewer pumps, desalination plants and other electrical appliances. It is made up of 6 regular units and 9 volunteer (reserve) units and is headquartered at its Regiment Center at the Panagoda Cantonment, Panagoda.

Fort Amherst

Fort Amherst, in Medway, South East England, was constructed in 1756 at the southern end of the Brompton lines of defence to protect the southeastern approaches to Chatham Dockyard and the River Medway against a French invasion. Fort Amherst is now open as a visitor attraction throughout the year with tours provided through the tunnel complex.

Garrison Stadium, Gillingham

Garrison Stadium is a running track and sports field in Gillingham, Kent. The stadium has also been known as the United Services Sports Club, was built on land owned by the Ministry of Defence and was associated with the military establishments in the area such as Chatham Dockyard and Royal School of Military Engineering. The stadium is built on the area known as the Chatham Lines, an area of open space extending between Gillingham and Chatham.

A cinder running track runs around the stadium. This was used in the 1960s for athletics meetings and Kent county schools championships and from 1968 by the City of Rochester Athletics Club. The central area of the stadium was used for rugby league by the Medway Dragons. The club now uses the playings fields attached to the stadium which are also used for association football and field hockey and were used in the past for cricket.

Kent County Cricket Club used Garrison Ground 2, which was situated to the east of the stadium, for first-class and limited overs cricket matches between 1937 and 1972. The club has also used other pitches on the Chatham Lines, including Garrison 1 Cricket Ground and New Brompton Cricket Ground.

Heron Trail

The Heron Trail is 15 1⁄2-mile (24.9 km) long cycling trail that links with National Cycle Route 1 between Higham and Strood, then it heads around the Hoo Peninsula via Regional route 18 (now renamed National Cycle Route 179 ) passing through 'Hoo St Werburgh', 'High Halstow' and 'Cliffe' before returning to Higham. It has a mixture of rural and maritime interest, with views of the River Medway and River Thames.

In 2005, the RSPB worked with Medway Council to establish the route on the Hoo Peninsula.

I. S. O. Playfair

Major-General Ian Stanley Ord Playfair (10 April 1894 – 21 March 1972) was a British Army officer.

James Bevan Edwards

Lieutenant General Sir James Bevan Edwards (5 November 1834 – 8 July 1922) was a senior British Army officer and politician.


Minley is a village in the Hart District of Hampshire, England. In the ecclesiastical parish of Minley and the civil parish of Blackwater and Hawley. It lies on the A327 road between the M3 and Yateley. Its nearest town is Blackwater, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the village.

Nalin Seneviratne

General Ganegoda Appuhamelage Don Granville Nalin Seneviratne, VSV, ndc, SLE (August 25, 1931 – August 12, 2009) was a Sri Lankan Army officer. He was the Commander of the Sri Lankan Army from 1985 to 1988 and first Governor of the North East Province.

Ridley Pakenham-Walsh

Major-General Ridley Pakenham Pakenham-Walsh CB MC (1888–1966) was a senior British Army officer who became General Officer Commanding (GOC) Northern Ireland District.

Royal Engineers

The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army.

It provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces and is headed by the Chief Royal Engineer. The Regimental Headquarters and the Royal School of Military Engineering are in Chatham in Kent, England. The corps is divided into several regiments, barracked at various places in the United Kingdom and around the world.

School of Military Engineering

School of Military Engineering may refer to a training institution for military engineering such as:

Royal School of Military Engineering of the British Army

Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering of both the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force

College of Military Engineering, Pune of the Indian Army

Military College of Engineering, Risalpur of the Pakistani Army

Sri Lanka School of Military Engineering of the Sri Lanka Army

New Zealand School of Military Engineering of the New Zealand Army

Military Engineering-Technical University of the Russian Army

School of Military Engineering of the Australian Army

Statue of General Gordon

A bronze statue of General Charles George Gordon by Hamo Thornycroft stands on a stone plinth in the Victoria Embankment Gardens in London. It has been Grade II listed since 1970. A similar statue stands at Gordon Reserve, near Parliament House in Melbourne, Australia, on its original tall plinth.

A different memorial statue by Edward Onslow Ford, depicting Gordon on a camel, stands at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, with another formerly in Khartoum and now at Gordon's School near Woking. There are further memorial statues to Gordon in Aberdeen; in Gravesham, where the full length stone statue depicts Gordon in his army uniform with a sabre; and there is a Grade II listed monument to Gordon in Southampton.


Lower Upnor and Upper Upnor are two small villages in Medway, Kent, England. They are in the parish of Frindsbury Extra on the western bank of the River Medway. Today the two villages are mainly residential and a centre for small craft moored on the river, but Upnor Castle is a preserved monument, part of the river defences from the sixteenth century.

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