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32 Armoured Engineers

The Royal Engineers were heavily involved in armoured warfare during the later stages of the Great War. As with any new equipment comes a new obstacle to be overcome. In this case it was trenches and shell craters. Fascines and other specialist equipments were developed in order to keep up the advance.
On the arrival of the Second World War, the British with their backward looking defence policy, decided that the Engineers should not require nor provide an armoured capability. This proved disastrous after the mauling that was Dunkirk.
Now realising that they were in it for the long slog, the British decided to develop 79th Armoured Division, commanded by Major General Hobart. The unit comprised of armoured vehicles modified for specialist roles, intended to assist with the landing phase of the Operation Overload (these vehicles became known as Hobart’s Funnies).
Within the Division were 1st Assault Brigade, Royal Engineers, which consisted a number of regiments including 42 Assault Regiment.
After the war in 1948, 42 Assault Regiment was re-designated 32 Assault Engineer Regiment. The Regiment was disbanded in 1957, except for 26 Armoured Engineer Squadron, which moved to Haig Lines, Hohne, Germany.
The need for more armoured CF assault engineers in BAOR was recognised, and in March 1965, 2 Field Squadron re-roled as an armoured engineer squadron with two troops from 26 Squadron also being absorbed. Thus 32 Engineer Regiment was reformed. The amalgamation parade was held in Hohne in June of that year, and was taken by Colonel (Retired) J.F.D. Savage DSO RE, a former member of 42 Assault Regiment RE. It was both a mounted and a foot parade, the Squadron marching past followed by a drive past of AFV's.

 

 
This "Spearpoint" badge was painted onto the mudguards of the vehcles belonging to the squadron. I can only presume
that this was when 26 Sqn was ‘Corps’ Armoured Engineer Squadron.

The unit consisted of:

2 HQ Squadron

7 Squadron (the Shiny Black Horses),

26 Armoured Squadron.
 
30 Field Squadron (Sqn insignia was a Zulu shield in front of crossed assigais and thirty in Roman Numerals(descended from Roukes Drift)).
It remained so until the regiment disbanded around October/November 1977.
                                  
        26 Armoured Squadron Insignia     30 Field Squadron Insignia

 It remained so until defence cuts forced the Regiment to disbanded around October/November 1977. Two of the squadrons then moved on to other locations, with 7 Squadron going to Assaye Barracks, Nienburg and 26 Armoured Squadron heading of for Munsterlager. The later renamed as 26 Corps Armoured Engineer Squadron, because of its size (it became the only ‘Corps’ Armoured Engineer Squadron, but still had all the equipment of the previous 3 squadrons.).
It was not too long before it was realised that a squadron  the size of a regiment, couldn't operate effectively so 31 Armoured Engineer Squadron was reformed in 1980 allowing 32 Armoured Engineer Regiment to exist once again. 77 Armoured Engineer Squadron was raised in 1983; it had been 77 Assault Engineer Squadron in World War 2.
 

The Regiment continues its close association with Assault Engineers being the only remaining unit of the 79th Armoured Division. It still wears the 79th insignia of the Bull’s Head to this day. It now supports 7 Armoured Brigade and consists of:
 
2 HQ Squadron
 
26 Armoured Engineer Squadron
 
31 Armoured Engineer Squadron
 
39 Armoured Engineer Squadron
 
REME Workshop
 
Sub-Unit Affiliations. Each of the armoured engineer squadrons support an armoured or armoured infantry Battle Group; the REME LAD and 2 HQ Sqn provide support to all the squadrons and are either attached to squadrons or located with the Brigade Support Group (BSG). The armoured squadrons are affiliated as follows:

26 Armd Engr Sqn - The Highlanders
31 Armd Engr Sqn - The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
3 9 Armd Engr Sqn - The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
 

Here the plinths are being laid in order to support the AVRE that would mark the reformation of 32 Engineer Regiment in in 1965. The person who built these plinths was S/Sgt Keith Collins, nicknamed Yakki.
 

  Courtesy of Armoured Engineer Branch Royal Engineers Association
 
 
 
 
Churchill MKVII AVRE being mounted on Churchill Bridge.                                                                    
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Side view.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Centurion AVRE during mounted parade (Centurion Bridge-layer and WB11 in background).
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Royal Engineers Band during parade.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Centurion Bridgelayer lowers Bridge. Churchill AVRE on the left now in position.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Bridge now in position.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
RE Band performs.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Possibly Colonel Savage.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Foot parade.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Not sure which band this is, but I don't think it is the RE Band (probably 11th Hussars as yellow/gold stripe on the 'Cherry' trousers stands out).
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Foot Parade.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Foot Parade passes the Cinema.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
An Autumn scene of the barracks. The figure is possibly the late father of the supplier of these pictures.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
Winter
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
These two pictures (above and below) are of the Churchill AVRE monument as seen during the reformation of 32 Armoured Engineers (see above).
These were taken 11 years later in 1976.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
 
Courtesy of Mr Mick Hughes
 
 
 
The final photo of the Tank after being transferred to Bovington. I am told it was to be restored to working order to appear in "Saving Private Ryan" but apparently this proved too expensive and the idea was abandoned. This is a great pity as several Churchill's from 26 Amd Engr Sqn appeared in the 1962 epic D-Day Film The Longest Day. Current whereabouts unknown.