Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME)

Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) 


Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Data current to 5 July 2019.

The Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME provides army engineering maintenance support. From the 1980s to 2013 it was called the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch.  The Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers came into being officially on 15 May 1944, with the fusion of various elements from the Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, following the model of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME).

With the increase of mechanized equipment during the Second World War, the need to have one corps dedicated to service and maintenance thereof was becoming increasingly apparent. Trucks had become the de facto means of transportation and logistic support, armoured vehicles had replaced cavalry, weapons were becoming more complicated, as well as the advent of radios and radar, it was apparent that the previous model of having a different corps for each job was inadequate for a modern, mechanized army.  The original RCEME structure incorporated 25 different trades and sub-trades, employing specialists for each particular job in order to train and deploy them in time to meet the war's demand. While it was somewhat bulky, it was nonetheless a centralized structure for maintaining the Army's everyday equipment which was more efficient than the previous system of having each corps perform its own equipment maintenance, and also allowed for a greater degree of specialization within trades.

The author's uncle, Warrant Officer Carl Skaarup, served with the RCEME.


Carl J. Skaarup, 4th row, 2nd from left, RCEME course, 3 Feb - 26 May 1958.

Personnel of the 1st Armoured Brigade Workshop, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) working on the engine of a Sherman tank of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Italy, 13 October 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574228)

The engine is a Chrysler A57 multibank. Five 250.6 L-head inline six cylinder engines placed around central shaft, driven by a sun gear arrangement. 30-cylinder 1,253 370 hp.  M4A4 Sherman's used this engine, and had a longer hull to fit it.  Most were used for Lend-Lease.

C SQN Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), M32B3 VVSS armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) operations on the Imjim River, Korea, 25 July 1951.  The ARV's name is "CONTENTENTED COW", commanded by RCEME Sgt Gord Hunter.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3780239)