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HMS Collingwood celebrates Engineering birthday

20 July 2018
Personnel from across HMS Collingwood came together recently to celebrate the 'birth' of the Engineering Branch of the Royal Navy.

Although steam propulsion was introduced to the Royal Navy in 1812, the early ships were manned by civilian engineers employed on an ad hoc basis. 

By 1837 with 27 steam vessels in the Fleet it was clear that more formal management arrangements for engineers were needed and so early that year the post of Comptroller of the Steam Machinery and Packet Department was created. 

Then on 19 July 1837 an Order in Council was issued placing engineers onto a permanent footing, “with such rank and pay as appears to be fitting for persons charged with the performance of such important and responsible duties.”

It was felt appropriate, especially in the Year of Engineering, that the Engineering section within HMS Collingwood, join with other bases to celebrate the 181st Birthday of the Engineering Branch on 19 July 2018.

The Year of Engineering is an initiative of the Cabinet Office to counteract the potential future shortfall of engineers and specialists in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and these birthday celebrations seek to raise the profile of engineers and engineering careers within the Royal Navy.

I’m really enjoying my course and I’m proud to have been chosen to cut the cake. I’m delighted to represent the Royal Navy today and I’m looking forward to a rewarding engineering career

AB Elliott Baird

Lieutenant Commander Tim Laurenson organised the event and said, “The UK, home of the Industrial Revolution, finds itself facing a potential shortage of engineers and the Royal Navy, as a main trainer of engineers, has aligned itself to the Year of Engineering initiative.

"HMS Collingwood is the main school for Royal Navy Weapons Engineers and this is just a simple little acknowledgment. Today is a celebration of the formation of the Engineering Branch within the Royal Navy and an acknowledgement that these engineers need to be recognised. Let’s celebrate our birthday!”

The event was marked with a splendid cake iced with Engineering sections’ badges and it was cut by the youngest trainee present.

Seventeen-year old AB Elliott Baird said, “I’m really enjoying my course and I’m proud to have been chosen to cut the cake.  I’m delighted to represent the Royal Navy today and I’m looking forward to a rewarding engineering career.”

The event culminated in a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday'.

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