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hands on leadership
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click here to read about my book In 1989 I was contracted by the Ontario government to replace a 190 foot Bailey Bridge that had been erected in 1954 immediately following Hurricane Hazel. Sir Donald Bailey designed the Bailey Bridge prior to WWII, when it was used as an assault bridge. The Ontario government is the largest holder of Bailey stock worldwide and generally only uses Bailey Bridges for temporary roadwork. However, this Bridge is a testament to the vital work done immediately following Hurricane Hazel by the 2nd Field Engineer Regiment (RCE) in October 1954. I served with this Regiment and am now a RAE captain.
Our work in 1989 involved dismantling the existing bridge, erecting a new triple single (three panels wide and one panel high) structure, and reconditioning the original 1954 pier. All this work was done by hand, employing a team of seven experienced Bailey Bridge builders (all military engineer corporals). When the dismantling was completed in half the scheduled time, the Ontario government engineers scheduled a visit to observe work methods. By the time they arrived half the new structure was in place and they struggled to understand how we had accomplished our work in record time.

Below are photos of the project

Nose of Bailey approaching pier.

Positioning bridge on rollers on pier.

Assembling panel spacers.

Moving a transom into place.

Nose of Bailey approaching far bank.

Bridging the gap.

Bridge jacked down on bearings.

Me by the bridge.

Me on the bridge.

1984 Reunion of 1954 Team

1955c - 2FER Officers with Sir Donald Bailey (Centre).
Major John Boxer CD (RE-8th Army, RCE) front row second from left.

Bridging the Rapido at Monte Cassino

Terence Cuneo’s painting, Bridging the Rapido at Monte Cassino depicts the British Royal Engineers' launch of an 80ft Class 30 Bailey bridge, built under constant fire on the night of the 12-13 May 1944.
For a complete account of the battle, click here. Written by Lieutenant-Colonel A.P. deT. Daniell, M.C., T.D., R.E., the account has been reproduced from The Royal Engineers Journal. For more information about the Royal Engineers, visit their website at