When it comes to military operations in challenging underwater environments, the Royal Engineer Divers are a distinguished and highly-skilled force. This elite group combines engineering expertise with diving proficiency to take on missions above and below the water’s surface.
Above is a photo of Royal Engineer Divers flopping their way to training at Marchwood Military Port on April 2, 1980. They walk in front of vehicles stopped at a sign erected to warn drivers that frogmen will be crossing there.
The Royal Engineer Divers date back as far as 1838, when Col. Charles William Pasley took on the role. Becoming one is no easy feat, as these individuals undergo rigorous training that equips them with the necessary skills to navigate and operate in diverse underwater scenarios.
Beginning with basic training, candidates proceed to intensive diving instruction, including proper decompression techniques. They learn advanced techniques in underwater demolition, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), operating underwater tools and underwater construction. This comprehensive training ensures that Royal Engineer Divers are well-prepared to handle complex missions in hostile and unpredictable environments.
Their primary role involves providing engineering support, such as underwater reconnaissance, harbor and beach clearance, and construction and repair – essentially, anything that an engineer can be expected to do aboveground, he must perform underwater. Their specialized skillset enables them to carry out vital tasks that support various missions, naval operations and humanitarian efforts.
Despite their lengthy underwater training, Royal Engineer Divers are considered soldiers first and frogmen second, so most of their operations take place above the surface. This means that, while on active-duty, they always travel with their diving gear, so they’re prepared to move into an underwater role at a moment’s notice.
Whether it’s removing obstacles hindering British naval forces or repairing crucial infrastructure, Royal Engineer Divers ensure the smooth execution of their tasks in challenging underwater environments. Their unique training and capabilities make them an indispensable asset in modern military operations.