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|The Inland Water Transport and Docks Section of the Royal Engineers was originally formed in December of 1914 to deal with and to develop transport on canals and waterways of France and Belgium. The Section at first operated under the Director of Railways, but, owing to the rapid development of Inland Water Transport, a special directorate was formed in October of 1915.|
In the summer of 1916 all non-transport work in Mesopotamia became a part of the Inland Water Transport Directorate’s responsibilities, and during 1917 its scope was extended to cover Inland Water Transport and Dock Working in Egypt, in Salonika, and in other theatres of war.
These extended responsibilities entailed large increases in establishments. Up to December of 1917, some 1,100 officers and nearly 30,000 men transferred to or enlisted in the Inland Water Transport Section. During 1917 over 600 officers and 8,000 men were drafted overseas to theatres of war.
It must be accepted as a principle that the rifle, effective as it is, cannot replace the devastation produced on the enemy by the speed of the horse, the magnetism of the charge, and the terror of cold steel. - British Army Cavalry training manual 1907