-- Emperor Constantine the Great. 4th Century AD.
||Royal Navy formed (Charles II)
||Newcomen's first static steam engine (mine pumping)
||Portsmouth Naval Academy opened.
||Watt's steam engine invented
||Communication by coded flags introduced to Royal Navy
||World's first steam ship experiment
||Hydrographic Department of Admiralty founded
||First commercial steam-propelled ship Charlotte Dundas
||Battle of Trafalgar
||* War of 1812 - GB & USA (to 1814)
* Bell's Comet conducted trials on The Clyde
||Battle of WATERLOO
||First Transatlantic crossing by ship with steam propulsion (SS Savannah)
||RN "COMET" entered service (238tons/80hp/4psi steam)
||Stockton - Darlington Railway opened with Stephenson's "Rocket"
||Ampere's 'Electrodynamics' published.
||First steamships commissioned into RN as "HMS".
||Total of 12 paddlewheel steamships in RN service
Engineers' Boys in steamships for 5 years' training at sea as Indentured Apprentices
|| Lt. Wall RN published "suggestions for the establishment of a Naval University (at Buckingham House, later Palace), with some
observations on the formation of a Corps of Naval Engineers"
||Factory Act passed
||Cdr. Otway RN published "Elementary Treatise on Steam", forecasting need for a "training school to educate Engineers beyond mere engine-men"
||* 27 steam vessels in Navy List.
Built by Great Western (I. K. Brunel)
* Naval Instructors introduced at Warrant rank
||* Queen Victoria's Coronation
* Telegraph invented (Samuel Morse)
* Steam ships of Post Office Packet Service transferred to RN.
* Order in Council establishes Engineers as officers "next below Carpenters"
||* Steam ships cross Atlantic under sustained power- Sirius and Great Western
* Training scheme established for Engineers' Boys (apprentices) in Dockyard workshops: 1 year Dockyard, 1 year sea, 1 year
||First sea-going ship Archimedes driven by propeller
||80 paddlewheel steamships in RN service as auxiliaries
||* SS Great Britain launched (Brunel)
* Naval Cadets introduced into the Royal Navy
* Barque "SULPHUR" provided as accommodation for Engineers' Boys under training at Woolwich Dockyard
* Dockyard Schools founded for training of Dockyard Apprentices, also attended by Engineers' Boys.
||First Morse telegraph demonstrated
||Archimedes demonstrated screw propulsion
||Cunard formed first trans-Atlantic steamship line
||Public Health Act passed
Communist manifesto published by Marx & Engels
||Water hydraulic gear fitted to cranes (Armstrong)
||Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, London
||Commodore Perry visits Japan
||Crimean War started
||Charge of the Light Brigade
||Lignum vitae stern-tube bearings introduced
* HMS ILLUSTRIOUS to Haslar for training of Naval Cadets (age
|| * HMS ILLUSTRIOUS
replaced by HMS BRITANNIA afloat at Portsmouth
* Last wooden-hulled RN battleship built (HMS Victoria)
* First commercial production of petroleum
* First ironclad warship Gloire launched (France)
||HMS WARRIOR commissioned
||April - Start of American Civil War
||US Ironclads, Merrimac and Monitor
fight in Chesapeake Bay
||* RN Engineers adopted purple stripes on
* Engineer Students introduced (to replace Boys).
* First submarine Hunley (CSA) to sink a warship
* Training reviewed for Dockyard Schools at Woolwich, Sheerness, Portsmouth and
* Entry at age 15 years, twice yearly by examination:
- 6 years in Dockyard factories, including 2 evenings per week at School.
- Naval uniform and discipline after passed final exam.and entered R.N.
- Messing separately at sea.
* Naval Cadet training in HMS BRITANNIA moved to Dartmouth
||* Self-propelled torpedo demonstrated
* Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering opened at South Kensington (now Victoria & Albert
||* American Civil War ends (July)
* Morse Code communication by flashing light introduced to RN
||All men over 21 given vote in UK
||Engine Room Artificers introduced to RN to do more of the physical work of operation, maintenance & repair in place of Engineers
||* Suez Canal opened
* Cutty Sark launched
* Union Pacific & Central Pacific Railroads linked
||* Franco-Prussian War started
* Rugby Football Union founded
* Prototype steam/steel/shell battleship launched (HMS DEVASTATION)
||* Rugby started at Devonport by Engineer Students.
* Universal education started in UK for 5 - 13 year-olds
||* Royal Naval College opened at Greenwich for training of engineers, constructors and military officers: all messing separately.
* South Kensington closed
* Evaporator installed in Crocodil (France)
||* Hydraulic gear fitted to fore-turret of Thunderer
* Cooper-Key Committee investigated "...the most scientific and practical management of engines and the highest mechanical skill for
Recommended adoption of 1863 regulations including:
- equality of pay, rank and promotion for Engineers
- abolition of separate Engineers' messes
- incorporation of Engineers into the Military Branch (but not Command)
- greater scrutiny of Engineer Student candidates' social background
- establishment of a Residence for Engineer Students in the Dockyards
"... to become accustomed to the discipline which, in many ways, they find irksome on first appointment to a
|| Civil Service examinations held nation-wide for officer entry
First telephone message passed (Bell)
||* July - Uniforms and naval discipline introduced for Engineer Students.
* Dec - HMS MARLBOROUGH opened at Portsmouth as Engineer Students' hostel.
Students entered at 15 - 16 yr olds for 6 years training in Dockyard
* Mainly practical instruction
- fitting & turning - 18 months
- other craft skills - 18 months
- erecting machinery
- fitting afloat - 30 months
- machinery trials
- drawing office 6 months
Then to sea as Acting Assistant Engineers (Probationary).
Selected students sent to RNC Greenwich for 8 months mainly for theory
|| Dec - Zulu Wars started
||* First UK telephone exchange
* Battle of Rorke's Drift (Royal Engineer in command)
|| * July - Engineering College opened "without ceremony" at
Keyham, Devonport as "training school for Engineer Students" 35 students transferred from MARLBOROUGH at Portsmouth. Later to be
known as RNEC Keyham
* RN Engineering Branch strength 6,000 men.
* First refrigerated cargo ship (Strathleven)
|| Training in electrical generation introduced for RN Engineers
||* Impulse-reaction steam
turbine patented (Parsons)
* Steam "trawlers" introduced
||* First oil tanker
* Contra-rotating propellor patented (Ericssson)
* 103 Engineer Students remained under training in MARLBOROUGH.
* Theoretical lectures started in RNEC Keyham (in place of Dockyard
||* Kodak box camera patented
* Engineer Student (ES) made a naval rank. MARLBOROUGH closed.
* Academic staff appointed to Keyham for 146 E.S. Course reduced from 6 to 5 years
"...there are obvious disadvantages which any university labours under compared with Keyham... perhaps more than anything, no other training school could enforce the strict training discipline so noticeable at
Keyham, and which is greatly responsible for its efficiency" (anonymous college
||* Institute of Marine Engineers founded
* Impulse steam turbine patented (Laval)
* RN Barracks, Devonport opened
|| HMS SPIDER (525 tons/3000 hp) attached to Keyham to provide steaming and maintenance
||* X-rays discovered.
* Prototype Diesel engine produced (Diesel)
* Labour Party formed in UK
* Annual intake of Engineer Students increased from 40 to 60
* British Merchant Shipping Act passed
||* Direct Entry Engineers
introduced to meet rising needs.
* Separate Engineers' Mess at RNC Greenwich abolished.
||* Radio transmission demonstrated
* Decision taken to build BRNC Dartmouth
||* Turbinia demonstrated steam turbine propulsion (Parsons)
* Total strength of RN Engineers about 950.
* South Extension to Keyham College opened.
* "Golden Age" of Keyham Rugby begins (until 1899)
||* Spanish-American War in Carribean & Phillipines.
* First (gasoline/electric) submarine (Holland)
* Steam "drifters" introduced
* HMS SHARPSHOOTER (735 tons/4500 hp) replaced SPIDER at Keyham for steaming and maintenance practice
||* Boer War started. (to 1902)
* US Navy integrated Executive and Engineer Officers
||* RN Engineering Branch 26,000 strong
* Contract signed for BRNC Dartmouth
||* Queen Victoria died (64 yr reign).
* First Transatlantic radio signals (Marconi)
* Keyham sports ground opened
||* Admiral Fisher became First Sea Lord.
* RN Engineers about 1500 strong.
* First RN submarines arrived at Portsmouth
* Dec - Selborne-Fisher Scheme announced: "One system of supply, entry and training...Homogenous training of Executive, Engineer and Marine Officers. . To enter the service as Naval Cadets between ages of 12 & 13...
specialization to be definite and final"
i.e. to remain (N), (G), (T), and (E) specialists for whole career
||* First flight by Kitty Hawk (Wright Bros.)
* Mar - Military-style titles introduced for RN Engineers e.g." Engineer Lieutenant" with purple stripe inserted between gold.
* Sept Royal Naval College Osborne, I.O.W.opened
- 2yrs (age 13 -15
- 2yrs at BRNC (age 16-17)
- 3yrs at sea as Midshipmen (to age 20)
* Engineer Captain appointed "in charge" of RNEC.Keyham establishing RNEC as a naval establishment, not Dockyard college
||Russo-Japanese War (to 1905)
||* BRNC Dartmouth opened. First marine Diesel engine built (German)
* Wireless communication introduced to RN.
* "Douglas" Report published, with public disagreements on Engineer Officers' status, training and uniforms.
* "Cawdor" memorandum (by Fisher) directed: "...all officers' duties to be carried out by Executive officers of common entry and training... specialised for different duties without separating into permanent and distinct Branches...All will be equal and Executive officers".
i.e. all eligible to command ships - no purple stripe to distinguish
* Last "Old Scheme" enters Keyham for 5 year course as Engineer Students (to 1910)
||First Diesel / electric submarine
||First Isle of Man TT motorcycle race
||First Cross-Channel flight
||* First aircraft launch from warship
* RNEC Keyham closed pending arrival of "New Scheme" (E) Specialists in
||* Balkan Wars started
* Royal Flying Corps formed - Military & Naval Wings.
* Special Entry Scheme started for 18year-old Naval Cadet entry from schools, due to shortage of junior officers from RNCs.
Entire 18 months' training given at sea
||* July- RNEC Keyham re-opened. First "New Scheme" Lieutenants (E) joined. Hence:
||Typical Student Age
| 2 yrs
|| RNC Osborne
||13 - 15 yrs
| 2 yrs
|| BRNC Dartmouth
|| 15 - 17 yrs
| 3 yrs (Mids)
|| 17 - 20 yrs
| 2 yrs (S/Lts)
|| 20 - 22 yrs
|| RNC Greenwich
||22 - 23 yrs
|| RNEC Keyham (E only)
|| 23 - 24 yrs
* Training at all RNCs included
- 1,346 hrs engineering (incl. practical work) 22%
- 1,023 hrs science 17%
- 249 hrs seamanship 4%
- 258 hrs navigation & pilotage 4%
- 3,222 hrs general education 53%
- 6,096 hrs total training
||* Panama Canal opened.
* July - Royal Naval Air Service formed.
* Aug - War started against Germany
* BRNC Dartmouth emptied.
* Special Entry Cadets (N,G,T) sent to RNEC Keyham for 3 - 5 month course.
* Sept - Executive Captain appointed in charge of RNEC Keyham
||* Jan Engineering Branch officers given "executive curl" on stripes and military status.
* June BRNC Dartmouth Entry cadets overflow to RNEC.
* Order in Council creates 5 Branches: Military, Medical,
Accountant, Instructor and Artisan.
* Dardanelles/Gallipoli Campaign
||Battle of Jutland
||* First landing by aircraft on warship - Sopwith Pup on HMS Furious
* Russian Revolution and Civil War starts
* Insufficient volunteers as (E) specialists from BRNC Dartmouth
- Special Entry Scheme expanded to make up (X) & (E) numbers
||* Jan - Training of (E) volunteers re-started at RNEC Keyham ( K Classes )
- 6 month engineering course followed by appointment to sea.
* April - Royal Air Force formed: amalgamation of RFC & RNAS
* First purpose-built aircraft carrier completed (HMS ARGUS).
* Nov - Armistice
* Universal Old Age Pension introduce in UK
||* First Transatlantic flight (Alcock & Brown).
* Royal Australian & Royal Canadian Navies formed.
* First all-welded ship Fullagar (Cammell Laird)
* March - First (E) volunteers started at RNC Greenwich - G Classes.
* Oct - Last Special Entry Cadets left RNEC Keyham.
* G (Greenwich) Classes entered RNEC Keyham for training on 1913 - 14 scheme.
* For (E) Specialists
- 2 yrs at RNC Osborne
- 2 yrs at BRNC Dartmouth (Cadets)
- 6 to 9 months Fleet-time (Cadets / Midshipmen)
- 6 months RNC Greenwich
- 15 months RNEC Keyham, mainly theory.
* Mates (E) (i.e. Artificers), started courses at RNEC Keyham.
* 'Instructor Officer' title introduced, mainly honours degree
||League of Nations founded.
"Geddes Axe" made large reductions in RN officer numbers
|| RNC Osborne closed
||* May - Long Course introduced for (E) Specialists, modifying 1913-14 Scheme.
* Purpose-built aircraft carrier USS Langley launched
||* Fleet Air Arm formed: composite of RN & RAF personnel.
* Mates(E) Course moved to RNC Greenwich
||First RADAR range-finding experiment
||The Great Betrayal
Military Branch split into Executive (Command stream) and Engineer (non-Command stream)
Mid (E) volunteers of 1922 / 23 / 24 Long Courses lost promised opportunity for
Command, having been sent early to RNEC Keyham. Lack of training as Midshipmen at sea made transfer back to Executive (Command) specialisation unrealistic.
Long Course continued for (E) specialists after 1 year common training in Training Cruiser, entering RNEC Keyham as 18 yr old
Midshipmen for 4 year course in general engineering, (including electrics). Left RNEC as 22 yr old S/Lts.
Engineers made to wear "more distinctive shade" of purple between gold stripes.
Most (E) specialists direct entry from "public" schools, few BRNC volunteers
||General Strike in UK
||* Women of 21 allowed to vote
* Talking cinema started
||First round-the-world airship flight (Zeppelin)
||Television introduced to Great
||* Italo-Abyssinian War started
* Practical RADAR system demonstrated
* Conversion course for OE Officers started at Whale Island - to manage Ordnance Artificers in place of (G)
||* Keel of Queen Elizabeth laid - largest liner ever built
(at 83,673 tons)
* Spanish Civil War started
* First powered flight of (twin-rotor) helicopter.
* Keyham living and teaching conditions overcrowded preventing re-expansion of numbers in training after "Geddes Axe"
||* Fleet Air Arm formed. under joint RN & RAF
* Manadon estate in North Plymouth bought by Admiralty
||* May - Fleet Air Arm established under full RN
* Sept - Second World War starts
* RNC Greenwich evacuated to Keyham.
* BRNC Dartmouth evacuated to Eaton Hall
* 1940 Aeronautical Engineering introduced to all RNEC courses.
* 300 officers at Keyham in accommodation built for 150 on 8-term courses
- 1 term at Eaton Hall
- 7 terms at Keyham, of which 5 as Midshipmen and 2 as S/Lt.
* Manadon site opened with temporary buildings, for eating and
||* First flight of
turbo-jet engine (Whittle).
* Air engineering courses started at Manadon.
* Dec - Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour
||Nuclear chain reaction achieved
||* First programmable electronic computer (COLOSSUS)
at Bletchley Park - 11 built in total, 2 transferred to GCHQ
at end of war
* Sea training re-started for RNEC courses.
* Nov - Mids (A) RNVR (HNC level) started 6 month air engineering course at Manadon
||* Jun - Normandy Landings.
* Dec - Mids (E) RNVR (graduate level) course started
||* May - VE Day.
* 700 officers under training at Keyham/Manadon; incl. 427 Mids (A) & 61 (E).
* Instructional Block at Manadon completed.
* Aug - First operational atomic bomb dropped (Hiroshima) - VJ Day - Second World War ends
* UN founded.
* Sept - RNEC Flight established at Roborough.
* Dec - First "King's Sword" presented on completing training at RNEC
||* Separate TAS and Electrical Branches
* HMS WIZARD attached to RNEC for sea training of courses
* Sept - Long A/E Conversion Course started to correct shortage of air
* Dec - RNEC commissioned as HMS THUNDERER with Captain "in
||* May - S/Lts (E) (ex-ERAs) course returned to Manadon
* Mids (A) & (E) RNVR courses ended
* Electrical Officers joined RNEC prior to Cambridge University & Greenwich (London University External) B.Sc.
||* Berlin airlift.
* Branch List introduced, replacing Warrant Officers.
* Sept - BRNC Dartmouth entry age raised from 13 to 16 yrs. iaw 1944 Education Act.
* Special Entry at 18yrs. retained. Basic training included
- 8 months in Cadet Training Ship
- 8 months in Fleet as Midshipman.
* RNEC 2 year Basic Course introduced:
- 24 months RNEC "Basic Engineering Course"
- 12 months at sea - practical marine engineering.
- ...to be followed by a Specialist Course at RNEC
||* USSR tests its first atomic bomb
Sept - Branch Officers (E)s' technical course started at RNEC (1 term)
||Korean War started (to
||* April - Last Long Course (4 years duration, age 18-22, started in 1925) left
* Sept - First 1 year Specialist Course joined RNEC.
- ME, OE or AE. (Qualified as full members of the Institution / Institutes of Mechanical Engineers, Naval Architects, Marine Engineers, or Royal Aeronautical Society).
* Option of 24 months advanced engineering "dagger" courses for selected officers at RNC Greenwich
(ME,OE) or Cranfield (AE)
|| First US hydrogen bomb test
|| National Service graduates at RNEC for naval engineering
||* First nuclear-propelled submarine (USS Nautilus) launched
* May - French surrender in Vietnam.
* COST Committee recommended:
- abandonment of 16 year-old Cadet Entry.
- all Cadet Entry to be at ages 17 - 18 yrs.
- lowering of entry educational standards except for Electrical Cadets
||* HMS VANGUARD (last battleship) mothballed.
* March - Engineers' purple stripe & Electrical Officers' green stripe removed.
* May COST training scheme started at BRNC:
- 2 terms BRNC
- 1 term Dartmouth Training Squadron
- 2 terms BRNC
- 1 term DTS
- 1 term BRNC
- 18 months Fleet time - watchkeeping certificates
ES - 36 months Long Engineering Course
X - Sea Training
then C, G, ND, SM, H, TAS, P and O specialist "Long
||* Transistor developed
* First Transatlantic cable laid
* First sea-going hovercraft demonstrated (Cockerill)
* General List introduced (AFO 1/56) (Mansergh Committee)
||* Jan - Special Duties List introduced, replacing Branch List.
* First nuclear-powered surface vessel (Lenin)
* Sputnik satellite launched (USSR)
||* Direct-dial telephones introduced in UK
* Jan - Supplementary List Air Cadets to RNEC for 1 term basic training.
* Jul - RNEC Manadon wardroom block opened
* Sept COST 3-year Long Engineering Course started at RNEC
Sept Pilot course for London University External
B.Sc.(Eng) started at RNEC followed by 1 year Application Course.
* Murray Committee reported: "...did not believe that there is any convincing evidence that higher intelligence and higher academic performance are incompatible with the possession of good personal qualities and leadership potential...
basic scientific and engineering knowledge in X officers, no less than E and L officers, are rapidly appreciating asset...
also been impressed by the practice of the American and Canadian (and Russian) Navies...
which now take all their officers in training to the level of a university degree in what may be called liberal engineering studies".
* Naval Cadet entry qualifications restored to 2 Advanced levels
||* Vietnam War started
* Nov - Keyham re-opened as Dockyard Technical College & Constructors' Training Office.
* First Polaris missile-armed SSBN George Washington launched
||* European Free Trade Association formed
* Sept - First 'Murray Scheme' course started at BRNC.
- 1yr BRNC Dartmouth 18 - 19 yrs
- 1yr Fleet-time (Midshipman) 19 - 20
* Dec - Last Supplementary List Air Cadets left RNEC Manadon
||* LASER demonstrated
* Berlin Wall built.
* Weapons & Radio (WR) Branch created from OE & Electrical Branches.
* Dec. - US troops to Vietnam
||* Aug - Engineering Degree Course introduced fully at RNEC (to match Murray Scheme):
- 3yrs RNEC Manadon
- 1yr Application Course at RNEC ME/MESM/WR/AE
* SD Officers' courses at RNEC Manadon in ME, H, AE & OE sub-specializations.
* London (Greenwich) & Cambridge University graduates joined Application Courses at RNEC Manadon "It's hardly surprising that we were completely de-navalized after virtually 3 years out of the Service, during which time we were exposed to every sort of reactionary influence. Naturally it has been difficult to re-adjust ourselves to the Navy again (some doubt if we ever will completely...!)
- Cambridge graduate W&R officer. RNEC Magazine Autumn 1963.
* Direct Graduate Entry (DGE) officers joined RNEC Manadon
||* Indonesian Confrontation (to 1966).
* Geo-synchronous communications satellite launched (US).
* First RN SSN (HMS DREADNOUGHT) commissioned.
* Royal Naval Engineering Service (RNES) formed.
* Keyham site vacated by Navy
||* "Healey" Defence Review. CVA.01 cancelled. Strategic base withdrawals.
* First female student officer joined RNEC (for air engineering course).
* RNEC Manadon Engineering Diploma Course started (Mech. & Elect.)
||* Engineering Branch ("Big E")
* W&R Branch became WE Sub-Branch
* First Manadon (London Univ. External) graduates in electrical engineering.
* Manadon degree courses recognised by CNAA
|| Manadon wardroom accommodation completed (for 380 officers)
||* First RN SSBN (HMS RESOLUTION) commissioned
* World's largest oil-spill (Torrey Canyon)
* Proposal for Tri-Service "Royal Defence Academy" to provide engineering
training of officers of all three Services abandoned.
* Supplementary List graduate (DGE) ME officers' training started at SULTAN
|| First UK heart transplant
||* Fleet Chief (Warrant)
* Daily rum ration abolished
* Last London Univ. external degree exams taken at RNEC Manadon
|| Advanced Marine Engineering Course transferred to RNEC from RNC
||* March - Engineering Branch Development (EBD) started,
leading to transfer of "heavy electrics" from WE back to ME sub-specialists.
* RNEC Manadon accommodated about 400 officers
||First RN-designed aero gas turbine-powered warships commissioned: destroyer (HMS SHEFFIELD) and frigate (HMS AMAZON)
||* April - Vietnam War ended.
* Principal Warfare Officers' (PWO) scheme started.
* Sea Harrier brought into service.
* RNES merged with Royal Corps of Naval Constructors (RCNC)
|| Advanced ME (Dagger) Course recognised by CNAA for award of M.Sc.
|| Sept - New Naval Engineering Degree B.Sc.Course introduced at RNEC Manadon to produce "Systems Engineers". Hence:
- 1 term at BRNC Dartmouth
- 1 term in Dartmouth Training Ship
- 6 months in Fleet, followed by Fleetboard examination
- 3 years degree course at RNEC
- 1 year Application Course at RNEC & specialist branch
||EBD completed. ME
sub-specialists responsible for electrical systems.
First "Through Deck Cruiser" (HMS INVINCIBLE) commissioned
||* First graduates of new RNEC Manadon Naval Engineering Degree course
* Special Duties (SD) officers provided 30% of total engineer officers
* SD (E) officers receive sub-specialist (AE,ME,WE) training at RNEC
qualifying them as Technician Engineers of main national Engineering
|| April - Falklands Campaign
||* RNEC Manadon naval
engineering degree course revised to award BEng, open to suitably qualified X officers with Operational Analysis course
* July - HM Queen visits RNEC
||* RNEC Keyham building
* Maritime Defence Technology courses introduced at RNEC Manadon Diploma & MSc, for E and X officer graduates.
* Warfare Technology module of Principal Warfare Officers Course
||Ro-Ro ferry Herald of Free
Enterprise capsizes & sinks
||Berlin Wall demolished
||Electrically driven Azipod thrusters first installed in icebreaker (Uikku)
||* RNEC Manadon closed - RN
ceases to train graduate-level engineers in-house.
* Training transferred to civilian universities and RN specialist