A Reunion website can be found at www.1stFdSqnRE.com
HISTORY courtesy http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineers/org/21regt/1sqn/history.htm
The Early Days
Most of the early units in the Corps of Royal Engineers were called field companies and had the task of providing engineer support to the fighting divisions and brigades. It was from one of these (11th Field Company) that a small force of mounted engineers was formed in 1885 - called the RE Division - for service in the Egyptian War, with the Corps of mounted Infantry.
In 1894 it was made a permanent part of the Calvary Division and was therefore renamed as the 'Mounted Detachment Royal Engineers'. This title however, proved to be short lived.
The Boer War 1899 - 1901
In 1899 it was expanded and became the Field Troop, and when others were formed, the '1st Field Troop'. It fought through the war in support of the Calvary.
At the end of the Boer War, 1st Field Troop returned to England and took up permanent station in Aldershot, where it continued to provide engineer support to the Calvary.
The First World War
In 1914 after further expansion it became the 1st Field Squadron and in August embarked for France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, where it served for the whole war in support of formations of the Calvary Corps. At this time 1st Calvary Division had just one field squadron (225 men and horses).
The Squadron took part in many of the major actions of the war including, the retreat from Mons, the advance to Aisne, the outflanking advance into Flanders, the first battle of Ypres in 1914, digging and blowing up of the first mine laid by the BEF in France in 1915.
The Second World War
In February 1940 1st Field Squadron once again deployed to France (with 1st Armoured Division), where whilst on detachment to the 51st Highland Division the majority of the Squadron were taken prisoner at St.Valery. Only 4 Officers and 65 men made it back to England.
In September 1941 1st Field Squadron sailed for the Middle East where it was immediately committed to action in the western desert. It took part in the Gazala battle and in the more famous defence of Tobruck in 1942. Once again the Squadron suffered from large-scale capture whilst attached to the 2nd South African Division.
Again 1st Field Squadron was reformed, in time to play its part in the battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein and accompanied the 8th Army advance along the whole of the North African shore to the Cap Bon Peninsula in Tunisia.
In 1944 the Squadron crossed in to Italy where, after a short attachment to 8th Armoured Division, it rejoined 1st Armoured Division and took part in the attack on the Gothic Line.
At the end of 1944, 1st Field Squadron was reorganised as an Assault Squadron, retitled to 1st Armoured Engineer Squadron, and took part with 2nd Armoured Regiment RE in the final offensive in Northern Italy.
The Post War Years 1945 - 1991
At the close of World War 2 the Squadron spent a short time in Austria, returning to Italy in 1945 for duty with 1st Armoured Regiment RE.
When the latter was disbanded, the squadron reverted back to its normal role and name and, after a brief attachment to 6th Armoured Division, motored into Germany in February 1946, to join the 7th Armoured Division, where it remained until March 1948.
On reforming in September 1948, it set sail for the Far East. Once disembarked at Singapore the Squadron was used as in anti-bandit operations, mainly around Kuala Lumpar, moving to Hong Kong in May 1949.
In February 1950, 1st Field Squadron returned to the United Kingdom, where it joined and largely helped to form the 27th Field Engineer Regiment.
In 1957 the Field Engineer Regiments were disbanded and 1st Field became the Sapper Squadron in 20th Armoured Brigade Group, serving within 4th Division in Paderborn, Germany.
In 1961 as part of the reorganisation, 1st Field Squadron moved with 20th Armoured Brigade to 1st Division, to become part of 1st Division Engineer Regiment in Nienburg on the river Weser.
In April 1969 during further reorganisation, 1st Division Engineer Regiment became 21 Engineer Regiment. With it the Squadron deployed to Northern Ireland a number of times, and on numerous BAOR exercises.
In 1990 the Squadron deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the coalition force, in support to 7th Armoured Brigade and played its part in the ensuing war.
Post Gulf War to the Present
When the problems in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia (the former Yugoslavia) became critical, the United Nations sent in a peace-keeping force, of which the United Kingdom was a part. This operation was known as Operation Grapple. The Squadron deployed on Op Grapple 2 and later on Op Grapple 6.
In January 1996, 21 Engineer Regiment once again moved locations, this time to Osnabrück.
During 1997 the Squadron deployed on an operational tour of the Falkland Islands, returning to Osnabrück in September of that year.
In 1998 the Kosovo crisis hit the headlines and 21 Engineer Regiment deployed on Operation Agricola 1, as part of NATO's KFOR. 1st Field Squadron, as part of the King's Royal Hussars Battlegroup, played a major role in the construction of the Brazda refugee camp, the entry into Kosovo, and later was the forward engineer squadron based at Podujevo.
On returning from the Balkans in late 1999, 21 Engineer Regiment saw the formation of Close Support Squadrons, and the introduction of Armoured Troops within the ORBAT. 1st Field Squadron then moved to Roberts Barracks, Osnabrück where it was responsible amongst other things for fostering the soon to reform 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron.
The Squadron was retitled 1st Armoured Engineer Squadron in April 2000.