The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was formed on 1 October 1942 (a full history can be found here). It was a Corps born in war and was created to maintain, repair and recover the Army’s electrical and mechanical equipment. The REME motto, Arte et Marte, translates to By Skill, By Fighting, but General Montgomery summed up the role of the REME very succinctly by saying that the REME “keeps the punch in the Army’s fist.” When World War Two ended it became apparent that both the Army and indeed the REME had a duty to care for the servicemen that had served with them and had fallen on hardship, and thus The REME Benevolent Fund was created.
The REME Benevolent Fund was formed in 1945 (Registered as a charity in 1966 under the Charity Number 246967) and was constituted under a deed signed on 7 July 1945 by Major General E B Rowcroft CB CBE, Director of Mechanical Engineering. Its aims were to:
- Foster the esprit-de-corps.
- Assist and support any such person, serving or at any time served in the Corps in need of charitable assistance or benefit.
- Make grants to any charity or charitable fund (Military or Civil) existing in which the opinion of the governing trustees benefits the persons or their dependents who are serving, or who have served in the Corps.
In 1987 the REME Corps Committee endorsed the creation of The REME Central Charitable Trust; which provided support to; The Headquarters Officers and Sergeants Mess, The Craftsman Magazine, The REME Institution and The REME Association (and a number of other organisations.) It provided governance for The REME Benevolent Fund and its linked charities.
Whatever we do, we have one overriding aim – to support The REME Family.
In 2015 The Trustees of The Central Charitable Trust made the decision to incorporate the Charity; this decision was made with the approval of the REME Corps Council and was made to offer additional legal protection to the charities and the trustees. The REME Charity was registered as a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee in March 2016 and started fully operating in August 2016. It was linked to its predecessors ‘The REME Benevolent Fund’ and ‘The REME Central Charitable Trust’. Incorporation has brought many benefits, the charity can now hold property, can trade and the board of trustees has been able to diversify; there are now two civilians serving on the board of trustees who are experts in the investment and financial fields. The REME Charity runs in much the same way as its predecessors, indeed the objectives remain very similar. Charitable donations are collected through the days’ pay scheme and spent on providing grants to regular, reserve and retired REME personnel and their families in line with the charitable objectives. Approximately a third is spent on benevolence, a third on developing our personnel through sport and adventurous training, and the remainder is spent on fostering espirit de corps though memorial, heritage and social events.