The Corps of Royal Engineers celebrate Victoria Cross and George Cross medals that have been awarded to Royal Engineers, Royal Sappers and Miners, members of the Empire and Commonwealth Engineer Corps and others who won their awards, while wearing other cap badges.
This has been done on the principle of: 'Once a sapper, always a sapper'
The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the ultimate symbol of valour in battle. Only 1355 have been awarded since its inception and fifty-five of these have gone to the Royal Engineers, a Corps not always associated with the heroic side of warfare.
All the Sapper VC's were won by ordinary men, who rose to their challenges with selfless bravery and extraordinary endurance.
A book 'Sapper VC's' by Colonel G W A Napier (ISBN 0-11-772835-7) is available for purchase from the Institute of Royal Engineers.
In his book, Colonel Napier has compiled a fascinating anthology of the stories of the 55 officers and men of the Royal Engineers who have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The stories range from the renowned such as Lieutenant Chard at Rorke's Drift, to the poignant story of Sapper William Hackett's self-sacrifice in remaining with a wounded comrade in a collapsing mine tunnel. A skilful insight into the role of the sapper and military engineering in war.
The George Cross
The George Cross is only awarded "for acts of the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger"
It has been awarded directly to 155 people, 84 posthumously, and was bestowed on over 100 recipients during the Second World War. To date 17 members of the Corps (including one member of the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers and one member of the Indian Engineers) have been awarded the George Cross.
Further information about Sapper Victoria Cross and George Cross awards is available on the Royal Engineers Museum website