33 Combat Engineer Regiment - History

Our History

33 CER honours the history of 3rd Field Engineer Squadron and 5th Field Squadron, Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE). 3rd Field Engineer Squadron was established as the Ottawa Company of Engineers on 1 July 1902. In its early years the unit helped Ottawa deal with emergencies and stage public ceremonies. During the World War I, 181 of its members received 26 decorations serving with units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The Company spent the war training Engineer officers.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, 3rd Field Company, RCE was mobilized as part of the First Canadian Division Engineers and embarked for Scotland. A Reserve company remained in Ottawa.

3rd Field Company RCE, made its operational debut in a 1941 demolition operation in Spitzbergen, Norway. It began its main war effort with the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. As the Canadians fought through Sicily, Italy, then France and Holland, the Engineers reconnoitered the ground over which the armies advanced, crossed rivers, built roads and bridges, located and disarmed mines and booby-traps, built communications networks and constructed field defences.

The 5th Field Squadron, RCE originated in Kingston, Ontario on 1 April 1910, when the formation of the '5th Field Company, CE' was authorized. It was re-designated: '5th Field Company, RCE' on 29 April 1936; '5th (Reserve) Field Company, RCE' on 24 February 1942; '5th Field Company, RCE' on 15 January 1946; and '5th Field Squadron, RCE' on 19 June 1947.

During World War II the 5th (Reserve) Field Company mobilized the '5th Field Company, RCE., CASF' for active service on 24 February 1942. The company landed at Normandy as part of 1st Canadian Army Troops in June 1944. It fought in the North West Europe theatre of operations. The overseas company was disbanded on 15 January 1946.

In peacetime, 33 CER trains to conduct demolitions, water supply, bridging, route maintenance, obstacle emplacement, mine awareness and geomatics/mapping support. It has also performed road and bridging operations for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Ontario Hydro and land management tasks such as the environmental clean-up of Upper Duck Island in the Rideau River.

33 CER provides 33 CBG with military engineering advice and operational support. Members of the unit have also served with the United Nations and NATO missions around the globe, most recently in Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Pakistan, Cambodia, Cyprus and the Golan Heights.

Individual awards for gallantry made to members of the unit include: four Distinguished Service Orders, twenty-two Military Crosses, two Bars to Military Cross, two Distinguished Conduct Medals, one George Medal, thirteen Military Medals, fifteen Mention in Dispatches and other foreign decorations.

More history on the 3rd Field Engineer Squadron can be found on the History and Heritage website.

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