The Museum archive contains a vast array of material relating to the history of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Totalling more than 100,000 items, this collection allows us to tell the REME story from official, technical and personal perspectives. It is an incredible resource for our researchers and for historians and family history aficionados, interested in a wide range of topics.

Stepping back in time

A significant portion of the archive collection covers REME history from the Second World War and through the post-war era, up to the 1980s. However, we do hold items related to more recent REME activities and also care for material that pre-dates the formation of the Corps on 1 October 1942. This older material includes that related to predecessor Corps like the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) and items relating to the individuals who transferred into the Corps in 1942.

Official records

The operational history of the Corps can be charted through the official material that comprises a significant part of the archive collection. This includes REME War Reports; operational and campaign reports; Second World War tracer cards; discharge and transfer registers; unit histories and official albums; maps, plans, posters and programmes. Corps regimental matters, training, REME Reserves, sport and social activities are also covered.

The archive is also home to full set of back issues of The Craftsman (REME's Corps magazine) as well as various other REME publications.

Book with typed letters open on a page. A letter index runs down the side of the open page.

Minutes of the REME Corps Committee are among the significant official documents the Museum holds. This volume covers meetings held in the 1950s at Golden Cross House. A:2013.6732.

Personal stories

Collections of personal papers tell the stories that bring REME history to life. The archive contains letters, diaries, memoirs, photographs and oral histories, associated with Corps members of all ranks and trades. Often given to the Museum by family members, these items provide an insight into the work and experiences of the extraordinary men and women that have served with the Corps.

Landscape sketchbook open on a page with a cartoon sketch of military trucks driving through a forest. A purple gloved hand holds the book.

This sketchbook charts a REME soldier's advance across France and into Belgium, 1944-45. A:2013.6890. © Lance Corporal Portch.

Technical material

The archive also houses various handbooks, technical drawings and maintenance and repair manuals. These materials deal with all types of equipment and vehicles that, at one time or another, came within REME’s remit. Our archive does not include individual vehicle records, nor is it complete, but it is a fantastic resource for historians, restorers and modellers.

Various technical drawings and annotations of tracked machines on sketching paper.

Technical drawings of an early Wheelbarrow bomb disposal robot. You can see the real thing in our REME Ready gallery.

Pictorial collection

The Museum’s collection of images is extensive and diverse. We preserve everything from formal unit photographs to personal snapshots of social activities, taken by REME soldiers. Our pictorial collection includes prints, albums, slides, glass plate negatives, digital photography and film.

Check out our online photo archive, which showcases some of our digitised photographs.

Four black and white photos stuck in a book with black paper. Top left photo shows a factory from the outside. Top right photo shows an artillery gun being made. Bottom two photos cut off.

Photo album, 1 Advanced Base Workshop, Rome, 1944. While this volume covers the early days of the Corps, the archive also contains images from recent decades. A:1958.0089.

Caring for the archive

The Museum’s archive is located in purpose-built, climate-controlled storage spaces, designed to keep delicate materials in good condition for perpetuity.

Our small but very busy Archive team cares for the collection and maintains a database of items. They also use archival records to answer enquiries submitted though our Research Service.

Archive room with one stack of archives in view. Two wooden top cabinets in foreground and computers and desks in background.

The Museum's main archive storage space.

Accessing the archive

Archival material may be viewed by appointment. For more information about this service please visit our Research page.