Catalogue description War Office: Royal Engineer Board, later Royal Engineer and Signals Board: Extracts of Proceedings

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Details of WO 187
Reference: WO 187
Title: War Office: Royal Engineer Board, later Royal Engineer and Signals Board: Extracts of Proceedings

The series consists of printed handbooks of extracts relating to equipment and research from the proceedings of the A (Field Engineers), B (Air Defence) and C (Signals) Committees of the Royal Engineer Board (1919 to 1936) and Royal Engineer and Signals Board (from 1936).

Date: 1919-1938
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

War Office, Royal Engineer and Signals Board, 1939

War Office, Royal Engineer Board, 1919-

Physical description: 32 file(s)
Administrative / biographical background:

In 1920 the Royal Engineer Committee, which had originated in 1782 as the Committee of Engineers, and which had come under the direct control of the War Office only in the early years of the twentieth century, was changed into an Executive Board and called the Royal Engineer Board.

The Board's responsibilities were wider than those of its predecessors and its work was dealt with by three separate committees, all of whose meetings were attended by the full Board: the 'A' Committee was concerned with Field Engineer Equipment, the 'B' Committee with Air Defence, and the 'C' Committee with Signals; two more committees were formed in the thirties, a 'D' Committee in 1937 for Radar and an 'E' Committee in 1939 for Camouflage. Each of the committees was served by its own experimental establishment with the appropriate scientific and technical staff and with facilities for design and development to the prototype stage. General policy was the responsibility of the Director of Staff Duties, but the technical aspects were the concern of the Director of Fortifications and Works, the Commandant of the School of Military Engineering, the Director of Artillery and others whose responsibilities were affected.

In the mid-1930s the Board was reorganised and its name changed to the Royal Engineer and Signals Board.

With the coming of war in 1939 control of the Board passed to the Ministry of Supply when the Master General of Ordnance's Department, which had assumed control of the Board in 1927, was transferred to the new ministry. This led eventually to the replacement of military control by scientific civilian control, and with it to the break-up of the Board into separate components. The Royal Engineer side of the Board was absorbed into the Directorate of Royal Engineer Equipment of the Ministry and the Ministry also took over the Experimental Bridging Establishment at Christchurch, Hants., and the Experimental Demolition Establishment at Bovington, Dorset, from the War Office. The latter establishment moved to Christchurch at the end of the war and in 1946 it combined with the Experimental Bridging Establishment and the Experimental Tunnelling Establishment, which had been formed at Ripon, Yorkshire, in 1941 as the Special Tunnelling and Development Centre and which had subsequently moved to Christchurch, to make up the Military Engineering Experimental Establishment.

The Board was reformed again in 1952 and called the Royal Engineers Advisory Board. This Board was replaced by the Royal Engineers Advisory Committee in 1968.

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