The RCEME is a branch of the Canadian Armed Forces that provides army engineering and maintenance support to combat field units.
In 1939, the functions of the Corps of the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (today known as the Electrical Mechanical Engineers (EME) Branch), were carried out by engineers and tradesmen of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, the Royal Canadian Engineers and the Army Service Corps.
Following the lessons learned by the British, the Canadians recognized that technological advances necessitated a revised organization to carry out the maintenance, recovery and repair of the vehicles, equipment and weapons used by the Canadian Army. Thus the Corps was officially born in May 1944 and a new badge to be worn by the men of the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was designed.
Early History of the RCEME
After reorganization in 1944, the tradesmen from the engineering branch of RCOC, The Ordnance Corps, the RCE (Royal Canadian Engineers) and RCASC (Army Service Corps) were required to re-badge and these soldiers formed the nucleus of the new Corps.
Unit maintenance sections and light aid detachment (LAD) platoons were formed and manned by the tradesmen from the new Corps. These unit technicians carried out light repairs, recovery operations and preventive maintenance of unit equipment.
In support, large workshops were formed to carry out medium and heavy repairs to tanks, vehicles, artillery pieces, electrical equipment and instruments, for which the unit tradesmen were not equipped with the necessary special tools and heavy spares. These workshops were normally located in static positions behind battle lines, while RCEME Unit tradesmen traveled with their tank, artillery and infantry regiments.
On the beaches of Normandy, to the hills of Korea, to the rocky, barren country side of Afghanistan, the technicians, tradesmen and women and engineering officers of the Electrical Mechanical Engineers have earned their motto; Arte et Marte, "By skill or by fighting".
Soldiers first, technicians second, they have kept the Canadian military equipment and vehicles operational for over sixty years. One of the more remarkable achievements of the Electrical Mechanical Engineers was its workshop conversion of fitting 72, 105 mm, self-propelled artillery pieces to armoured personnel carriers in just three days, which enabled the successful break out of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division at the beach head at Caen after the Normandy invasion in 1944.
On United Nations peacekeeping missions also, the men and women of the Electrical Mechanical Engineers have served efficiently and professionally with units and workshops in many dangerous places, among them; Gaza, Cyprus, the Sinai Desert, the Golan, Congo, Haiti and the former Yugoslavia.
The Corps of the Electrical Mechanical Engineers has undergone many changes since its inception including several badge designs. Today, it proudly flies the flag containing the dark blue, yellow and red colours derived from the three originating Corps, RCOC, RCE and RCASC, as well as the recent addition of the lighter blue colour representing technicians whose trade activities were originally carried out by Air Force personnel.
Today EME personnel may be found with units as diverse as an infantry battalion, on naval ships at sea and air force bases. The one constant is its proud, on-going tradition of the efficient maintenance, recovery and repair of Canada’s military equipment, under all kinds of weather or combat conditions.