The Corps of Engineers commonly referred to as Army Engineers, comprises three groups, "The Madras Engineer Group" (Bangalore), "The Bengal Engineer Group" (Roorkee), and "The Bombay Engineer Group" (Kirkee). Of these three the "Madras Engineer Group", popularly known as the "Madras Sappers", is the oldest.

The Madras Sappers were originally raised as the "Corps of Madras Pioneers" in 1780 at Dhowlaishwaram (in the old Madras Presidency and now in Andhra Pradesh) to assist the Infantrymen to overcome the enemy entrenched behind seemingly impassable obstacles and fortifications. The Headquarters of the Madras Pioneers moved from Dhowlaishwaram, for varying spells, to Madras, Bangalore and Coorg till March 1865, when they were permanently located at Bangalore.

The history of Madras Sappers is to a great extent the history of the Indian Army, as there is hardly any important event to which the Madras Sappers have not inside their invaluable contribution. Since their inception, the Group has participated in numerous campaigns within India and overseas with distinction, earning over 50 battle honours. The Madras Sappers also helped the United Nations in their peace-keeping missions in Indo-China, Gaza and Congo. True to the Engineers’ motto "Sarvatra" (which means everywhere), the Madras Sappers have often been called to the aid of civil authorities during natural calamities like earthquakes, floods and droughts. The contribution of Madras Sappers in the field of sports has been no less. Their sportsmen have given a splendid account of themselves and have provided representation in the National Teams for Boxing, Hockey, Football, Athletics, Swimming and Sailing. Over the years they have produced more than half a dozen Olympians.

In the history of the Madras Sappers of 203 years the Sapper, popularly known as ‘Thambi’, has, always stood for discipline, loyalty, dedication and, above all, unfailing humour and cheerfulness in the face of adversities.

Stamp commemorates the oldest member of the Indian Army Engineers, "The Madras Sappers"on the occasion of their Bicentennial. 


The stamp shows the Sappers in the uniform of 1780 and 1980 together with the crest and the ribbon of the corps of Engineers of the Indian Army.

First Day cover, designed by the India Security Press, depicts the battle honours of Madras Sappers and also a Sapper engaged in mine-detection and some of the tasks performed by the Sappers.

First Day Cancellation depicts a profile of a Madras Sapper with his typical headgear along with the caption in Hindi and English.

Date of Issue: 26.2.1980