Bengal Engineer Group
|Bengal Engineer Group|
|Active||1803 – present|
|Branch||Corps of Engineers|
|Regimental Centre||Roorkee, Uttarakhand|
|Decorations||11 Victoria Cross
116 Indian Order of Merit
1 Padma Bhushan
17 Shaurya Chakra
93 Sena Medals
11 Arjun Award
11 Theatre honours
|Brig SK Kataria|
|Ceremonial chief||Lt Gen Sanjiv Talwar, AVSM
|Lt Gen Suresh Sharma, AVSM
Director General Border Roads
|Lt Gen JS Dhillon, Padma Bhushan, PVSM
Lt Gen K N Dubey, PVSM
The Bengal Engineer Group (BEG) or the Bengal Sappers or Bengal Engineers as they are informally known, are remnants of British Indian Army's Bengal Army of the Bengal Presidency in British India; now a regiment of the Corps of Engineers in the Indian Army. The Bengal Sappers have their regimental centre at Roorkee Cantonment in Haridwar district, Uttarakhand. The Bengal Sappers are one of the few remaining regiments of the erstwhile Bengal Presidency Army and survived the Rebellion of 1857 due to their sterling work in the recapture of Delhi and other operations in 1857–58. The troops of the Bengal Sappers have been a familiar sight for over 200 years in the battlefields of British India with their never-say-die attitude of Chak De and brandishing their favourite tool the hamber.
Over the years the Bengal Sappers have won many battle and theatre honours, 11 Victoria Cross, 116 Indian Order of Merit, 17 Shaurya Chakra, 93 Sena Medals and 11 Arjun Awards, the highest number of won by any single organization in the country. Lt Gen Joginder Singh Dhillon, commissioned into Bengal Engineer Group in 1936, who commanded the First Republic Day Parade in Delhi, became the first Army Officer to be awarded the Padma Bhushan on 24 November 1965. Among the three Sappers of Indian Army, Bengal Sappers was the first Engineer Group to receive the 'President Colours' in recognition of its service to the nation, on 12 January 1989, by R Venkataraman, the then President of India, who presented the Regimental Colours to Bengal Engineer Group at Roorkee.
Besides service on the battlefield, the Bengal Engineers also rendered valuable peacetime contributions. The military engineer, Lt. James Agg, designed St John's Church in Calcutta. It was based on James Gibbs's St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and was consecrated in 1787.
The Indian Army Corps of Engineers is one of the oldest arms of the Indian Army, dating back to 1780, when the two regular pioneer companies of the Madras Sappers were raised, as a part of British East India Company army. Prior to its formation, by 1740s British officers and engineers served in the Bengal Engineers, Bombay Engineers and Madras Engineers, formed with the respective Presidency armies, while British soldiers served in each of the Presidencies' Sappers and Miner Companies, namely Bengal Sappers and Miners, Madras Sappers and Miners and Bombay Sappers and Miners.
The Bengal Sappers and Miners, as they were earlier known, was originally the Corps of Bengal Pioneers, which was raised from two pioneer companies in 1803, part of Bengal Army of the Presidency of Bengal; one raised by Capt T. Wood at Kanpur as Bengal Pioneers in November 1803, also known as "Roorkee Safar Maina". In 1819, at the conclusion of Third Maratha War, a part of Bengal Pioneers merged with the Company of Miners (raised in 1808) to become the Bengal Sappers and Miners, and raised at Allahabad, with Captain Thomas Anburey as the Commandant. The remaining part of the Corps of Bengal Pioneers was absorbed in 1833. In 1843 'Broadfoot's Sappers', which had been raised in 1840, merged into the Bengal Sappers and Miners.
In 1847 the Bengal Sappers and Miners was renamed Bengal Sappers and Pioneers, and in 1851 it became the Corps of Bengal Sappers and Miners. On 7 November 1853, the regiment moved to Roorkee, where it has maintained its regimental centre ever since. Lord Kitchener's reforms in 1903 saw it redesignated as the 1st Sappers and Miners, which was again altered in 1906 to the 1st Prince of Wales's Own Sappers and Miners.
On the accession of George V to the throne in 1910 it was renamed 1st King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners, with the '1st' being dropped in 1923, to make it King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners. In 1937 it was renamed King George V's Bengal Sappers and Miners, and in 1941 they became the 'King George V's Bengal Sappers and Miners Group' of the Indian Engineers. In 1946 it became the 'King George V's Group' of the Royal Indian Engineers. On Indian independence and partition in 1947, about half of the serving personnel were allocated to the Pakistan Royal Engineers. In 1950 they became the Bengal Centre, Corps of Engineers, after which they became the Bengal Engineer Group and Centre.
- Bhurtpore (1825), Battle of Ghazni (1839 First Anglo-Afghan War), Kabul 1842, Ferozeshah, Sobraon, Multan, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi 1857, Lucknow, Ali Masjid, Charasiah, Kabul (1879 Second Afghan War), Ahmad Khel, Afghanistan 1878–80, Burma 1885–87, Chitral (1895), Punjab Frontier, Tirah, China 1900;
- World War I: La Bassée 1914, Festubert 1914 '15, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Loos, France and Flanders 1914–15, Megiddo, Sharon, Damascus, Palestine 1918, Aden, Kut al Amara 1915 '17, Ctesiphon, Defence of Kut al Amara, Tigris 1916, Baghdad, Khan Baghdadi, Sharqat, Mesopotamia 1915–18, Persia 1918, North West Frontier India 1915 '16–17, Baluchistan 1918;
- Afghanistan 1919;
- The Second World War: Kampar, Malaya 1941–42, North Africa 1940–43, Cassino II, Italy 1943–45, Yenangyaung 1942, Ngakedaung Pass, Jail Hill, Meiktila, Burma 1942–45
- Jammu and Kashmir 1947–48, Jammu and Kashmir 1965, Punjab 1965, Rajasthan 1965, East Pakistan 1971, Jammu and Kashmir 1971, Sindh 1971.
Victoria Cross recipients
|Name||Event||Date of action||Place of action|
|Home, DuncanDuncan Home||Indian Mutiny||14 September 1857||Delhi, India|
|Innes, JamesJames Innes||Indian Mutiny||28 February 1858||Sultanpore, India |
|Salkeld, PhilipPhilip Salkeld||Indian Mutiny||14 September 1857||Delhi, India|
|Smith, JohnJohn Smith||Indian Mutiny||14 September 1857||Delhi, India |
|Thackeray, EdwardEdward Thackeray||Indian Mutiny||16 September 1857||Delhi, India|
|Trevor, William William Trevor||Anglo-Bhutanese War||30 April 1865||Dewangiri, Deothang, Bhutan|
|Dundas, James James Dundas||Anglo-Bhutanese War||30 April 1865||Dewangiri, Deothang, Bhutan|
|Leach, EdwardEdward Leach||Second Afghan War||17 March 1879||Khyber Pass, Afghanistan |
|Aylmer, Fenton Fenton Aylmer||Hunza-Naga Campaign||2 December 1891||Nilt Fort, British India |
|Colvin, James James Colvin||First Mohmand Campaign||16 September 1897||Bilot, British India |
|Watson, Thomas Thomas Watson||First Mohmand Campaign||16 September 1897||Bilot, British India |
- The Indian Sappers and Miners,By Lieut.-Colonel E.W.C. Sandes D.S.O., M.C., R.E. (Ret.), Published by The Institution of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1948. Extracts
- K.S. Calendar of battles, honours and awards : King George V's Own Bengal Sappers & Miners from 1803 to 1939, by Rhamat Ullan Khan, ca. 1944.
- History and digest of service of the 1st King George's Own Sappers & Miners. Roorkee : 1st King's Own Press, (ca. 1911)
- Regimental history of the King George's Own Bengal Sappers & Miners. Roorkee : KGO Sappers & Miners Press, 1937.
- Corps reunion and the unveiling of the war memorial. (Roorkee : King George V's own Bengal sappers and miners group, R.I.E),1927.
- History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, by Great Britain Army. Royal Engineers, Whitworth Porter. Published by Longmans, Green, 1952.
- The Bengal Sappers 1803–2003, by General Sir George Cooper GCB MC and Major David Alexander. ISBN 0-903530-24-4.
- The Military Engineer in India, by Lt. Col. E.W.C Sandes. Reprint 2001, Original 1933.ISBN 9781843420422.
First World War:
- Cunningham, A.H., A Short history of the Corps of King George's Own Bengal Sappers & Miners during the War, 1914-1918. (1930)
Second World War:
- Pearson, G., Brief history of the K.G.V's own Bengal Sappers and Miners Group, R.I.E., August 1939-July 1946. Roorkee : Pearson, 1947.
- Bengal Sappers’ saga of valour The Tribune, 24 November 2008.
- Bengal Sappers: 'Sarvatra' for Two Hundred Years Sainik Samachar, Vol. 50, No. 21, 1–15 November 2003, 10-24 Kartika, 1925 (Saka), Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India.
- Corps of Engineers, Indian Army bharat-rakshak.com. Archived 25 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Bengal Engineering Group Haridwar Official website.
- Unique Achievements Bengal Sappers.
- [dead link]
- Corps of Engineers - History Indian Army Official website. Archived 22 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Indian Sappers (1740-1947)[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- Indian Army Service Records (up to 1947) Royal Engineers Museum. Archived 20 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- THE BENGAL SAPPERS National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. Archived 13 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Institute Time Capsule IIT Roorkee.
- 1st King George's Own Sappers and Miners - Officers & Non-Commissioned Officers and Men
- [dead link]
- Bengal Sappers’ 200 yrs of valour The Tribune, 29 October 2003.
- The Battle of Kabul 1879
- Chitral 1895 - Fort Siege
- Cassino Memorial[dead link]
- Lieutenant James John McLeod INNES VC[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- Lieutenant Philip SALKELD VC[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- Sergeant John SMITH VC[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- The Royal Engineers Museum - Victoria Crosses held by the Royal Engineers Museum
- Captain Fenton John AYLMER VC[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- Lieutenant James Morris Colquhoun COLVIN VC[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- Lieutenant Thomas Colclough WATSON VC[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum.
- Martyrs of Bengal Engineer Group[dead link] at Indian Army
- The Bengal Snappers - Roorkee, Official website
- Bengal Sappers and Miners on the Royal Engineers website[dead link] Royal Engineers Museum
- Bengal Sappers and Miners on Regiments.org[dead link]
- Bengal Sappers and Miners and the Victoria Cross