This article explores for the first time the early history of the South African Engineer Corps. The difficult
environment in which the SAEC was established is investigated first. The factors that militated against
growth during this period are then analysed, followed by an explanation of the reorganisations of the
mid-1920s and mid-1930s, which, placed in their domestic and international contexts, are set against
the background of South Africa’s evolving interwar defence policy.