Royal Naval Engineers

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The Royal Naval Engineers, a department of the Royal Navy, has existed since 1835.

Naval engineers are in charge of the management and upkeep of ship-board machinery. Traditionally this included engines, motors, pumps and other mechanical devices, but modern engineers are now responsible for both mechanical systems and high-tech electronics such radar and sonar systems and nuclear-power plants.


When the corps was first created, there were three ranks for engineers: First, second, and third. Over the years this ranking system has changed several times:

  • 1835 - First, second and third engineer.
  • 1847 - Inspector of machinery, chief engineer; first, second and third engineer.
  • 1886 - Chief inspector and inspector of machinery (r.adm and captain), fleet engineer (cdr), and staff engineer (senior lieutenant).
  • 1904 - Standard executive rank titles with an "engineer" prefix.

Fields of expertise[edit]

After graduating from university and receiving a basic training, naval engineers specialize in a particular field.

  • Weapon engineer officer (WEO) - ensures that weapon systems are working properly.
  • Marine engineer officer (MEO) - deals with the fuel, air, water, electrical, and (non-nuclear) propulsion systems.
  • Air engineer officer (AEO) - maintenance and upgrading of engines and electrical systems in aircraft.
  • Submarines the nuclear task - working with nuclear-powered submarines.


In 1888 engineer studentships were created. Today, there are several different student-scholarship programs available including the University Cadetship Entry, a competitive program in which students enlist and train at Britannia Royal Naval College before going to university.


  1. Engineer Officer, Royal Navy.[dead link]
  2.[dead link]

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.