The Corps of Sappers and Miners had created a drum and bugle corps in 1835. When the Corps of Royal Engineers was formed in 1856, it was decided that the Corps needed a band and a committee was formed with the intention of appointing a bandmaster which was soon accomplished when Mr. William Collins was chosen. He was formally a bandmaster of the Royal Artillery at Woolwich and at this time of the Royal Bucks Militia.
The band was quickly established with a band sergeant, three corporals, thirty musicians and twelve band boys. In 1865 Mr. Collins retired and another Royal Artillery bandmaster, William Newstead was appointed.  It was he who arranged the regimental march of "Wings". When Mr. Newstead retired in 1871, a gentleman from Bohemia, Herr Joseph Rudolf  Sowerthall was engaged.  He had been the bandmaster of the Austrian 6th Cuirassiers and was currently bandmaster of the 4th King's Own Regiment. From this time the RE band was favourably compared to the band of the Royal Artillery. After a successful career, Herr Sowerthall retired because of ill health in 1889. The band's reputation became such that it was much sought after.  They played at both the Golden and Diamond jubilees.
The Uniform worn by the Royal Engineers band was as distinctive as that of the Royal Artillery. In 1856 it was decided that a bearskin cap would be appropriate. It was worn for parades until 1936 when it played at the funeral of King George V.  The band was confused with one of the Foot Guards bands and it was decided that the busby should replace it.  
In 1856, the band was attired in a white tunic with blue collar and cuffs and scarlet trousers with gold lace stripes. The tunic had five loops of gold lace across the front with the same pattern lace down the opening of the tunic. the pointed cuffs were also decorated with lace.  In 1866 the white tunic was replaced by scarlet ones with the gold lace the same as before. The trousers became dark blue (some accounts say they were black) with gold lace stripes
In 1893 the trousers lost the gold stripes, replaced with scarlet cloth ones. The tunic remained in wear until 1946. For undress wear the band wore the round forage cap with gold band from 1856 to 1908 when the blue forage cap with scarlet piping replaced it.
The Militia & Volunteer Royal Engineers