Old photos and their history

Unknown Soldier, REME, 6th March 1945


REME Cap Badge 1942-1947

This soldier is wearing the uniform of the British Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). This can be seen by his fuzzy but distinct cap badge.

The letters “ME” form part of the REME shoulder title. The hammer on his shoulder is part of a REME Artificers trade badge – the full badge is a hammer and tong. His shoulder rank appears to be Lance Corporal.

The 6th March 1945 was a Tuesday. WW2 was nearing its end. Operation Spring Awakening had begun on the Eastern Front. It was the last major German offensive of the war which ended in defeat after a Soviet counterattack on the 16th.

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

The REME Corps was formed on the 1st October 1942. Their role was and still is to maintain and repair the Army’s equipment. They quickly proved themselves highly capable during the battles of El Alamein.

At the time of this photo, REME was involved in implementing the first phase of the military’s reorganisation. The aim was to gradually replace the many different corps involved in maintenance with this newly formed corps. Tradesmen from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), Royal Army Service Corps (RASC), and the Royal Engineers (RE) were transferred to REME. Facilities to train new recruits were also created.

For more information on the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, you can visit their museum:


Photo of cap badge:

By Tfitzp – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48595775


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