Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Royal Engineers


Recommended Posts

Could some one please tell me what the term Pioneer means in the RE ?.

The soldier I am looking for was born in 1891, in 1911 his occupation is described as Fitter/ Carpenter.

His service papers do not exist on Ancestry but I have the following medal card that may refer to him:

Medal Card of Joseph McCormick

Royal Engineers,

Rank Pioneer, Service No 48639

Victory RE 101/ B101

British do do

15 Star OE? /2B/268

Theatre 1 France

Date of Entry 25/8/1915

Remarks Duration of War

He was living in Salford, Pendleton in 1911 and I was also hoping that someone could look him up to see if there is a Joseph McCormick in the Absent Voters Register, or if there is any other Joseph McCormick listed in this area if it is not too difficult. His address may be Barff Road Weaste.

Thank you, any help will be appreciated as I know this man served and survived the War.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Pioneer is a term of rank, equivalent to a Private. It is an engineering term and these guy's built and demolished things, such as roads, bridges, bunkers, dugouts, all sorts of buildings. Of course this was a general engineering term, as they were also employed as signallers, postmen and other Engineer Corps trades.

Cheers Andy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a lower grade than Sapper which denotes that the man is a qualified tradesman. The rank of Pioneer was introduced in 1913 owing to a shortage of qualified tradesmen in the RE.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Andy and Simon

Thank you both so much your replies are very helpful. I thought the term may have referred to an older man but now I am more hopeful!

Close relatives of this man were also Sappers, but he was the only one that was a carpenter. I can imagine that this skill was useful in building the bridges , bunkers etc.

Your advice is very much appreciated and thank you once again.

Kind regards,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...