As time went by the regiment became more and more representative of the whole British Commonwealth. Although nominally a British Army unit it contained, in addition to its British squadrons, a Canadian Squadron, a New Zealand section, a New Zealand light aid detachment, and several Australian officers integrated into the British sub-units.
The regiment remained in Korea throughout the fighting and the busy and uneasy truce that followed, carrying out with distinction the odd mixture of humdrum and hazardous duties that are the common lot of the Royal Engineers both in war and peace.
At the end of 1954, when 1st Commonwealth Division was reorganized, 28 Field Regiment came home to Erlestoke Park, near Devizes in Wiltshire, leaving 55 Field Squadron behind in Korea as an independent squadron.
For the next year the regiment's role in England was once again as the divisional engineer regiment of 1st Infantry Division. In February, 1956, 71 Field Squadron joined the regiment and so filled the vacancy left by the Canadian Squadron on its return to Canada.
A few months later, during the spring, the regiment was warned for duty as part of Task Force "Grapple" and it was at Erlestoke Park that all preparations and training for the move of the regiment to Christmas Island were made. It is interesting to recall, however, that due to the security restrictions in force in the early days of planning, for many weeks very few of the regiment had any idea for what reason Task Force "Grapple" had been formed. They would have had even less idea if certain newspaper reports had not authoritatively stated that an engineer unit was going to Christmas Island in the Pacific as part of an H-bomb force!
The orders for "Grapple" brought 55 Field Squadron once again under command of its parent regiment and it was in fact this squadron that had the honour of being the first of the Task Force units to land on Christmas Island, on 24th June, 1956, arriving in H.T.
Devonshire from Singapore, its vehicles and plant coming in the S.S.
Reginald Kerr. The main body of the regiment sailed from England in S.S.
Charlton Star and H.T. Cheshire, arriving respectively in late July and early September, 1956.
For Operation "Grapple" the regiment was comprised of four squadrons with a total strength of 40 officers and 931 men made up as follows: 12 Field Squadron and 55 Field Squadron, both "streamlined" units of only 149 all ranks; 71 Field Squadron, a specialist Squadron comprising a plant troop with over 195 pieces of engineer plant, and an electrical and mechanical troop to build and maintain the island's electricity supply, piped water supply and refrigeration, and a tank farm of 12 large tanks for storing bulk petrol and other fuels; 64 Field Park Squadron made up of a workshops troop producing many items for engineer constructional work, a stores troop controlling stores and issues of all engineer project stores and engineer tools, and a transport troop in which were centralized, for reasons of control and economy, all the regiment's transport.
It will be clear from the composition of the regiment for the Operation that its character, if not its name, had changed fundamentally. It was no