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MODERN warfare, with its mechanisation and its greatly increased use of the aeroplane, has become a highly complicated and intricate organisation. Engineering construction in
all its branches must be called upon to supply the aerodromes, railways, roads, camps, hospitals and all the services which are indispensable to an army in the field. The technical units in the army supply the skilled tradesmen and supervision for such works, but in order to enable them to be carried out with speed and efficiency there must also be a supply of unskilled labour organised and ready to be sent at a moment's notice to any part of the area occupied by an expeditionary force. It is for this reason that the War Office decided to form, shortly after the outbreak of war, the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps. The Corps consists mainly of men who are too old to undertake front line duties; many were in the last war and served with gallantry and distinction in several theatres of war, and their keenness and discipline is no whit less now than it was in the old days.
An Ordinary Meeting of the Institution was held at 11, Upper Belgrave Street, London,
S.W.1, on Thursday, 22nd February, 1940, at 5.30 p.m., when a Paper entitled “Some Unusual Structural Features in Recent Building Construction” was presented by Mr. L. SCOTT WHITE, M.Inst .C.E., M.I.Struct .E. Mr. P. J. BLACK, M.I.Str-uct.E., L.R.I.R.A.(THE PRESIDENT) occupied the Chair.
BEFORE the formation of Catchment Boards under the Land Drainage Act of 1930, ther was, of course, no essential authority to take control of or to carry out works on rivers. Such control works as existed on rivers consisted of sluices built in connection with the operation of mills and of locks constructed for navigational purposes. We do not need to go back a great many years to find a period when the roads were in such a bad state of repair that many of them were almost impassable in winter and at the best of times heavy transport was only possible with very cumbersome wagons drawn by teams of eight to ten horses. In those days, therefore, water transport was the easiest and often the quickest way of carrying goods to towns situated in the neighbourhood of our large rivers. Milling of course was also actively carried on and the mill sluices were kept in a workable condition.