Event archive

Event Organiser: ICE

ICE and InstRE Joint Lecture: The modern evolution of specialist military water engineering, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 11 July 2019
  • 18:00 - 21:30
ICE and InstRE Joint Lecture: The modern evolution of specialist military water engineering, London

Watch this event


If you would like to book a place on this event, please contact [email protected].


This year's joint lecture organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE) will be co-chaired by ICE President, Andrew Wyllie and InstRE President, Major General Nick Cavanagh.

The Corps of Royal Engineers has a long history of being at the forefront of military engineering. Contributing to ICE’s Water knowledge programme, this lecture will celebrate innovative achievements in civil and military engineering.

The lecture will examine how Defence’s only specialist military water engineering team has evolved since 1990. It will use the threat (or circumstances) to measure the capability that was needed and use a series of case studies to draw out some real-life lessons. Ultimately, the lecture will conclude by explaining how the team is scaled, trained and equipped today for the current threat.

The presentations will be followed by a drinks and canapés reception, offering an excellent opportunity for networking and further discussion on the topic.


18:00     Registration and refreshments

18:30     Welcome address from the ICE Chair
                   Andrew Wyllie, President, Institution of Civil Engineers
18:35     Introduction
                   Major Nick Fielding, Officer Commanding, 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Water Development)   
18:45     Large scale deployment in the Middle East – Op GRANBY
                  Major Nick Fielding

18:55     Medium scale deployment in Europe – Op AGRICOLA
                  WO2 Jase Knight
19:05     Small scale humanitarian in Africa – Sierra Leone 
                  Corporal Ben Squire 

19:15     The Human Rights-Based Approach to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
                  Robert Prothero 

     Panel Q&A
19:40     Summation by the InstRE Chair
                  Major General Nick Cavanagh, President, Institution of Royal Engineers​

19:45     Drinks and canapes reception

21:30     Finish


WO2 Jason Knight

WO2 Jason Knight joined the Royal Engineers in 1996.  Upon completion of combat engineer and trade training, he was assigned to 35 Engr Regt in Hamelm, Germany.  During this time, he conducted Overseas Training Exercises in Canada and Kenya, deploying to Macedonia (later Kosovo) in 1999.  He was assigned to 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Water Development) (521 STRE(WD)) and successfully completed the (Basic) Well Driller course in 2000, returning to the Team a further two times.  WO2 Knight deployed to Iraq (Op Telic) in 2003, providing potable water, firstly direct from the Shatt al Arab waterway (Reverse Osmosis), moving on to drill boreholes at Shaibah Logistic Base and Al Amarah.  In 2009 he deployed to Afghanistan (Op Herrick), providing potable water in Sangin DC (FOB Jackson & PB Nolay).  A second deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 saw him operating in an Engineering Intelligence role.  In 2014, he was assigned to North West Officer Training Corps (NWOTR) as a Permanent Staff Instructor; actively recruiting and educating/training university students as Officer Cadets, ultimately leading to Regular or Reserve Commissions into the British Army.  In 2016, WO2 Knight was assigned to 170 (Infra Sp) Engr Gp as the Assistant Regimental Career Management Officer, providing career management advice.  His last assignment after a 24-year career is as the Training Warrant Officer in 521 STRE (WD), responsible for training the next generation of Well Drillers.  

Corporal Ben Squire

Corporal Ben Squire joined the Royal Engineers in 2005.  Upon completing his trade course, he was posted to 59 Independent Commando Squadron where he successfully completed the Commando course.  In 2008, he deployed to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 9 providing light role combat engineer support as part of 3 Commando Brigade.  He was posted to 35 Engineer Regiment in 2010 and deployed on his second tour of Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 15 where he was part of a search team within a route proving a clearance capability.
He has been a member of 521 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Water Development) since Jan 13 and has deployed to Cyprus to drill boreholes for Defence Infrastructure Overseas and to Sierra Leone in 2014 on Humanitarian Aid operations.  His most recent tour was a 6-month deployment to the Middle East to provide Facility management for UK bases across the region.

Major Nick Fielding

Major Nick Fielding commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 2005.  A troop commander in 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support), he deployed to Afghanistan as part of the construction team for Camp Bastion and presented to the Construction Industry Awards in 2007 and won their special prize.  He was then posted to 21 Engineer Regiment and deployed to Iraq on Op TELIC 11 and to Afghanistan again on Op HERRICK 12.  Following Regimental Duty, he was an instructor on the Junior Officers’ Tactical Awareness Course before completing Professional Engineering Training and an MSc, which included a 15-month industrial attachment with BP PLC in Aberdeen.  He became a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2015.  Following Intermediate Command and Staff College (Land), he was SO2 Infra Plans in Army Headquarters where he was responsible for categorising, balancing and planning the Army’s £1.3Bn Capital Infrastructure Programme over 10 years.  He has been officer commanding 521 STRE(Water Development) since Apr 18 and has deployed to Kenya to drill boreholes for the British Army Training Area and to Bangladesh on Humanitarian Aid operations.  And he became a Fellow of the IMechE in 2019.

Robert Prothero

Graduated from Bath University in 1982 with a degree in Pharmacology, but opted for a career in IT.  Worked for 33 years at Eastman Kodak before taking redundancy in 2015.

Started volunteering at WaterAid (having been a long-standing supporter), and accepted a permanent position in 2017.  Currently works in the Education team, managing a network of 300 volunteer speakers across the UK who deliver free talks and workshops to a wide variety of organisations.

In October 2019, he will start an MSc in Environment and Sustainability at Birkbeck College.

Major General NJ Cavanagh

Major General Nick Cavanagh was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1988 after reading engineering at Cambridge University.  Early appointments included deployments to Northern Ireland and on Op GRANBY, training roles at Sandhurst and a tour with the Air Support Engineer Regiment.  He attended the first Joint Advanced Command and Staff Course in 1997 and then served in a Resources and Plans role in the MOD.  He assumed command of 3 Armoured Engineer Squadron in 2000, completing operational deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo.

As a Lieutenant Colonel, he was the Military Assistant to the Technical Director in the Defence Procurement Agency before assuming command of 21 Engineer Regiment in Iraq on Operation TELIC 5 in December 2004.  After a further 2 years in command, he was promoted to Colonel and posted as the Assistant Director responsible for the Army’s infrastructure strategy and plans.

He attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in 2009 and was appointed Chief Engineer and Civil Support, HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in January 2010.  In this role, he deployed to Afghanistan for a year as the Chief of Combat Support in HQ ISAF Joint Command.  In 2012, he was appointed as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Land Forces Plans and Programmes but moved in July 2013 to the post of Director Manning (Army) with responsibility for manpower analysis, workforce plans, terms of service and employment policy.  He was appointed as the Director Strategy and Planning in the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in April 2016.

Andrew Wyllie, ICE President 

Andrew was Chief Executive of Costain Group PLC, the smart infrastructure solutions company, for fourteen years until May 2019. Prior to taking up this role in 2005, he worked for Taylor Woodrow where he was Managing Director of the construction business and was a member of the Group Executive Committee.

He worked for several years on a variety of major contracts in Saudi Arabia, Ghana, the Falklands and Malaysia, as well as projects in the United Kingdom.

In addition, Andrew is a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Yorkshire Water and was previously a Non-Executive Director of Scottish Water.

Andrew has an MBA from London Business School, is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Directors and the British American Project. He is also a member of the CBI Infrastructure Board and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.

Andrew was awarded a CBE for services to Engineering and Construction.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

ICE Events Team

e: [email protected]