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Canadian Military Engineers
Country Canada
Allegiance Canada
Branch branch of the Canadian Forces.
Type military engineer
Role Primary : To permit friendly forces to live, move and fight on the field of battle and to deny the same to the enemy.
Secondary : To fight as infantry when required.
Motto Quo fas et gloria ducunt (Latin, "Whither right and glory lead")
Ubique (Latin, "Everywhere")
March Wings
Anniversaries 4 December St. Barbara's Day
Colonel-in-Chief HM The Queen
Colonel Commandant Colonel R. St. John

The Canadian Military Engineers (CME) is the military engineer branch of the Canadian Forces.



The mission of the Canadian Military Engineers is to contribute to the survival, mobility, and combat effectiveness of the Canadian Forces. Their roles are to conduct combat operations, support the Canadian Forces in war and peace, support national development, provide assistance to civil authorities, and support international aid programs. Engineers serve wherever the need arises. Military engineers’ responsibilities encompass the use of demolitions and land mines, the design, construction and maintenance of defensive works and fortifications, Urban operations(hostile room entry), breaching of any obstacle they may encounter, establishing/maintaining lines of communication, and bridging. They also provide water, power and other utilities, provide fire, aircraft crash and rescue services, hazardous material operations, and develop maps and other engineering intelligence. In addition, military engineers are experts in deception and concealment, as well as the design and development of equipment necessary to carry out these operations. The Engineer is able to do anything he/she is required to, they always find a way. The official role of the Combat Engineer is to allow friendly troops to live, move and fight on the battlefield and deny that to the enemy.




Following the Boer War the Canadian Government realized that the defence of Canada required more than just a single infantry battalion and a few artillery batteries as part of the permanent defence force. In 1903 The Royal Canadian Engineers were founded as the basis of the permanent military engineers, while the militia had the Canadian Engineer Corps created.

World War I

Canal du Nord - Building an extra bridge (2).jpg

One of the first tasks completed by the engineers after the declaration of war upon Germany in 1914 was for the rapid development of the Valcartier training site in Quebec. At its peak size 30,000 men where stationed here before the 1st Canadian Division was deployed to England.

When the 1st Division arrived on the front in Belgium they were accompanied by field companies of the Canadian Engineer Corps (men recruited into the service after the start of the war were part of the Militia branch and not the regulars). These troops were responsible for construction of defences, sanitation systems, water supplies, bridging, and assisting with trench raids.

One of the most important functions of the Sappers during the war was to dig tunnels underneath enemy trenches, with which to plant explosives to destroy them. At the Battle of Vimy Ridge, several such mines were used to win the battle.

During the war the only Victoria Cross the Royal Canadian Engineers ever received was earned by Captain C. N. Mitchell for actions on 8 October 1918 at Canal du Nord.

In total, more than 40 000 Canadians served as Engineers during the war, 14 000 on the front on the last day of the war.

Between Wars

Upon demobilization, the permanent force of Engineers was changed to 38 officers and 249 other ranks.

On 29 April 1936, the Militia and Permanent components were joined to form the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers. On this date the Militia adopted the cap badge used by the regulars.

World War II

The formation patch worn by Royal Canadian Engineers attached to the First Canadian Army during World War II.


Unification and the Cold War

On 1 February 1968, the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force were officially unified as the Canadian Armed Forces (now Canadian Forces). As such the Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Navy Civil Engineers and Royal Canadian Air Force Construction Division were amalgamated. However, the new branch went under the name Royal Canadian Engineers until 1973. At that point the branch was officially named as the Canadian Military Engineers.

21st century and beyond

The role of the Canadian Military Engineers has been expanding. The regular force component has been expanding the size of their units, due to the current missions of the Canadian Forces.

The current deployment in Afghanistan requires considerable use of Engineers for road clearance, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Heavy Equipment, and Combat Support. To date 13 members of the CME have been killed in Afghanistan.

Customs and Traditions


HM Queen Elizabeth II is the Colonel-in-Chief of the CME. She had previously been Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Engineers unit unification in 1967. On the occasion of her Silver Jubilee she was re-affirmed as Colonel-in-Chief. King George V, Edward VIII (albeit briefly), and George VI have all served as previous Colonels-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Engineers.


King George V granted the RCE the same mottoes as the Royal Engineers.

Ubique (Latin, "Everywhere") serves as a substitution for the battle honours the Corps would have obtained if they were a line regiment.

Quo fas et gloria ducunt (Latin, "Whither right and glory lead")

Cap Badge

From shortly after their creation until 1967, the Royal Canadian Engineers had a nearly identical cap badge as that of the Royal Engineers. This consisted of the Cipher of the Reigning monarch, surrounded by the Garter, surrmounted by the crown with the words Royal Canadian Engineers on the scroll at the bottom, and surrounded by maple leaves instead of laurels.

The current cap badge came to its current form after unification. Since the Royal Canadian Engineer cap badge was representative only of the army, a new one was developed. In bilingual format, the words Engineers and Genie appear on the current cap badge indicating the bilingual nature of the CME. The word Ubique also appears, confirming that the Engineers are present everywhere the Canadian Forces goes.


The CME greeting, toast and battlecry is "CHIMO" - pronounced CHEE-mo. This expression is also often used as a closing on correspondence between Engineers. The word itself is derived from the Inuktitut greeting saimo, and roughly translates as "hello," "goodbye," "peace be with you". The current spelling and pronunciation is based on a Caucasian adaptation of the native language. The greeting was introduced during the time of unification to create a common tradition to the CME. As well, the corps was also heavy involved with the development of Canada's North at the time. [1]

Engineer Prayer

The Engineer Prayer was created for 2 Field Engineer Regiment by Major Hugh Macdonald, the unit's Padre. It goes as follows:

Almighty God, we pray thee to bless the Canadian Military Engineers. May our bridges always stand, and our charges never fail, our members be ever loyal, and our officers worthy of their loyalty. May we work diligently in all our purposes and be skilled in our trades; steadfast for Queen and Country everywhere. Amen. [1]

Patron Saint

The Canadian Military Engineers have no patron saint but Engineers often participate in artillery celebrations honouring St. Barbara, the patron saint of the artillery. Engineers, along with the Artillery and miners, celebrate her feast day on December 4th.


Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering

The Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering (CFSME), located at CFB Gagetown in Gagetown, New Brunswick is responsible for the conduct of 85 different courses that span all ranks and occupations within the Field, Construction and Airfield Engineer organizations. CFSME is the Canadian Forces Centre of Excellence in Engineer Training and home of the Engineers. [2]


Regular Force Units

Reserve Force Units

  • 34 Combat Engineer Regiment (34e Régiment du Genie de Combat) (Westmount, Quebec)
    • 4 Engineer Squadron (Westmount, Quebec)
    • 9 Escadron du Génie (9 Engineer Squadron) (Noranda, Quebec)
    • 16 Engineer Squadron (Training and Recruiting) (Westmount, Quebec)
  • 35e Régiment du Genie de Combat (35 Combat Engineer Regiment) (Quebec City, Quebec)
    • 10 Escadron du Génie (10 Engineer Squadron)
    • 15 Escadron du Génie (15 Engineer Squadron)


The reserve component of the CME has just completed a reorganization. Until recently the reserves had one Combat Engineer Regiment, three Field Engineer Regiments, and seven independent Field Engineer Squadrons. Three Canadian Brigade Groups had more than one engineer unit, and one (38 Canadian Brigade Group) did not have any units at all. Now the Field Engineer Regiments have been re-designated and/or amalgamated to become Combat Engineer Regiments, and the Field Engineer Squadrons have either been amalgamated to make new Combat Engineer Regiments or re-rolled as generic Engineer Squadrons.[3]

At the present all but 36 Canadian Brigade Group, 37 Canadian Brigade Group, and 38 Canadian Brigade Group are without a Combat Engineer Regiment to support it. 36 CBG has an independent Engineer Squadron. 37 CBG also has an independent Engineer Squadron, but has a second being stood up that is presently hosted by 1st Battalion, Royal New Brunswick Regiment with hopes that in the near future a Regiment can be established. 38 CBG previously had 21 Field Engineer Squadron, based in Flin Flon, Manitoba. It was however disbanded in 1995. In 2003, the Fort Garry Horse in Winnipeg, Manitoba began hosting what will become 31 Engineer Squadron. The Brigade hopes to start up a second Squadron somewhere in Saskatchewan.

Order of Precedence

Preceded by:
Royal Canadian Artillery
Canadian Military Engineers Succeeded by:
Communications and Electronics Branch

External links



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