HOW IT STARTED
The Club traces its history back to the Dining Clubs set up by the Officers of The 3 AER Regiments when their Regiments were disbanded in 1967. The surviving Commanding Officers of these Regiments became the first President (Col B S T Archer GC OBE ERD) and Hon Secretary (Lt Col E E Wakeling ERD) of this club. Col Archer was also the Honorary Colonel of the 3 Regiments. A separate starting point was the Joint Services EOD Dinner which started up in the early 1970s, with each service taking it in turns to host an annual dinner (the Army sharing the honour between the Sappers and the Royal Army Ordnance Corps).
On the 19th May 1989 the Commanding Officer and Officers of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) hosted a ‘Reunion Dinner’ for wartime RE Bomb Disposal Officers – the first of many dinners hosted by the Regiment!
1990 was the 50th Anniversary of Bomb Disposal and a number of celebratory events took place, including a Memorial Service at St Paul’s Cathedral and a Royal Visit to 33 Engr Regt (EOD). It was also the Corps turn to host the Joint Services EOD Dinner which was held in the Officers Mess at Brompton Barracks – home of the Corps. This 21st Joint Services dinner was unfortunately to be the last, but the idea that serving, as well as retired, BDOs should maintain social contact remained (particularly with officers moving to other regiments in the family of the Corps).
THE LATER YEARS
Dinners remained open to serving and retired officers, however the Club decided to open its doors to serving officers in 1996, becoming the Bomb Disposal Officers Club. The club became an official RE Association in 1997 and changed its name to the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers Club at the first AGM in October 1998.
The 60th Anniversary of the ‘trade’ was celebrated in 2000 with a Commemorative Service at the Garrison Church, followed by lunch at the REHQ Mess, Brompton and displays by both of the Regiments. Col Archer also presented the RE Museum with a 1000 kg bomb.
A Bomb Disposal
We are the R.E. Bomb Disposers,
Enlisted for the war,
And for many months we lay about,
‘til life becomes a bore.
Then Jerry came along,
To break our sweet repose,
We now go round from place to place,
His dud ones to dispose.
Some people think they’re filled with sand,
And are dropped about for fun,
But there’s nothing ruddy funny,
About any Nazi Hun.
We have to wake up early,
To thwart Adolf’s little tricks,
To find out which are acid ones,
From those whose clockwork ticks.
There is one job we are proud of,
Amongst our many calls,
When Davies and his merry men,
Saved Britain’s great St. Pauls.
We don’t kid ourselves we’re heroes,
‘cos we sometimes get the blues,
especially when we get a bomb,
that’s got an awkward fuze.
And if we get it out alright,
We do a little grin,
But if we don’t – that’s just too bad,
And they inform our next of kin.
Written by a Sapper of No 9 Bomb Disposal Company, RE (Birmingham/Coventry) WW2 circa 1940/41, whose name is thought to be Walter Cornish.