Royal Canadian Engineers

Badge of the Royal Canadian Engineers
Badge of the Royal Canadian Engineers

The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers is the Army portion of the Military Engineering branch of the Canadian Forces.

The mission of the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) 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. 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 obstacles, 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 in the design and development of equipment necessary to carry out these operations. The official role of the Combat Engineer is to allow friendly troops to live, move and fight on the battlefield and deny the same to the enemy.

Customs and Traditions

The Corps has the following Customs and Traditons

Colonel-in-Chief

Her Majesty The Queen is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps. The Colonel-in-Chief is by tradition the reigning King (or Queen) of Canada.

Mottos

HM George V granted the RCE the same mottoes as the Royal Engineers, with whom we have an Alliance with

  • 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”)

Cheer/Greeting

The RCE greeting or toast is “Chimo” (/ˈtʃiːmoʊ/ chee-moh). This expression is also often used as a closing on correspondence between engineers. The word chimo is derived from the Inuktitut greeting: saimo (saimu) that means “hello,” “goodbye,” “peace be with you,” and similar sentiments. This salutation was used in the Ungava region of northern Quebec and shares the same derivation as Fort Chimo (today Kuujjuaq) on Ungava Bay in northern Quebec. The current spelling and pronunciation is based on a Caucasian adaptation of the native language. The soldiers of the Canadian Military Engineers adopted the greeting of “Chimo” and in 1973 it became the cheer of the Corps.

Cap Badge

Badge of the Royal Canadian Engineers
Present Badge of the Royal Canadian Engineers
Cap badge of the Royal Engineers
Cap badge of the Royal Engineers

From shortly after their creation until 1967, the Royal Canadian Engineers had a nearly identical cap badge to the Royal Engineers. This consisted of the Cipher of the Reigning monarch, surrounded by the Garter, surmounted by the crown with the words Royal Canadian Engineers on the scroll at the bottom, and surrounded by maple leaves instead of laurels which is still used to this day by the Royal Engineers.

Last Cap badge of the RCE
Last Cap badge of the RCE

The present cap badge came to its current form after unification. Since the then 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 Canadian Forces. The word Ubique also appears, confirming that the Engineers are present everywhere the Canadian Forces goes.

Prayer

The Engineer Prayer was created for 2 Field Engineer Regiment by Major The Reverend Hugh Macdonald, the unit’s padre and it goes as follows:

Almighty God, we pray thee to bless the Royal Canadian 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.

Patron Saint

The Corps has no official Patron Saint, however, Engineers often take part in artillery celebrations honouring St. Barbara, the patron saint of the artillery. Engineers, along with Artillery and miners, celebrate her feast day on December 4. St. Barbara is the patroness of artillerymen, fireworks manufacturers, firemen, stonemasons, against sudden death, against fires, and against storms (especially lightning storms).

Canadian Military Engineers Association

The CMEA is the non-profit group of serving and retired military and civilian members of the Engineer Branch. Membership is $2 per month payable, by pay allotment for military members or by cheque, to the Branch CWO. The address is shown on the membership application. Branches are distributed across Canada, or wherever like-minded members gather to promote military engineers and engineering