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Transfer sappers' skills

As one of the last National Servicemen, serving as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers from 1959 to 1960, I found your articles on the work of the sappers in the Balkans fascinating (NCE last week). They were doubly interesting to me since from 1994 through to 1997 I was supervising a training programme in Croatia for Bosnian refugees.

Given the manpower problems faced by the sappers I wonder if they have considered using and training local people to take on tasks which are stretching their resources.

I know the Royal Engineers have a superb training system. If, as well as infrastructure, the Royal Engineers could leave behind some engineers trained in their methods it would be of inestimable value to a country which has suffered considerably as a result of the Bosnian war.

Ian Hamilton (M), 1 Albert Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6DJ

Image conscious

I notice in NCE the continuing debate on the status and perception of the engineering profession by the general public.

May I offer this comment to fuel the debate? As a regular commuter on the M3 between Southampton and Bracknell, travelling at a steady 70mph (honestly!), I am often overtaken by tired, dirty and unkempt vans with 'civil engineering contractors' or 'civil engineers' blazoned down the side.

Does this serve to assist with the image of the civil engineering profession? Could contractors take a little more pride in the appearance of their vehicles?

Andrew Turner (M), con.dev@lineone.net

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