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The Royal Corps of Signals (often simply known as the Royal Signals - abbreviated to R SIGS) is one of the combat support arms of the British Army. It is responsible for installing, maintaining and operating all types of telecommunications equipment and information systems, providing command support to commanders and their headquarters, and conducting electronic warfare against enemy communications.

Contents

Personnel

Training & trades

Royal Signals officers receive a general military training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, followed by specialist communications training at the Royal School of Signals, Blandford Camp, Dorset. Officers are not differentiated into trade groups - their training covers the whole range of their future employment.

Other ranks are trained both as field soldiers and tradesmen. Their basic military training is delivered at the Army Foundation College Harrogate or the Army Training Regiment Pirbright before undergoing trade training at 11 Signal Regiment, (part of the Royal School of Signals). There are currently six different trades available to other ranks [1], each of which is open to both men and women:

  • Communication Systems Operator: trained in military radio and trunk communications systems
  • Communication Systems Engineer: trained in data communications and computer networks
  • Royal Signals Electrician: trained in maintaining and repairing generators and providing electrical power
  • Driver Lineman Storeman: trained in driving, laying line and accounting for communications equipment
  • Installation Technician: trained in installing and repairing fibreoptics and telephone systems
  • Electronic Warfare Systems Operator: trained in intercepting and jamming enemy communications

Staff sergeants and warrant officers work in one of five supervisory rosters:

  • Yeoman of Signals - trained in the planning and deployment and management of military tactical/strategic communications networks;
  • Yeoman of Signals (Electronic Warfare) - trained in the planning, deployment and management of military tactical/strategic electronic warfare assets;
  • Foreman of Signals - trained in the installation, maintenance, repair and interoperability of military tactical/strategic communications assets;
  • Foreman of Signals (Information Systems) - trained in the installation, maintenance, repair and interoperability of military tactical/strategic Information Systems;
  • Regimental Duty - trained in the daily routine and running of a unit.

History

Origins

Cap Badge of the Royal Corps of Signals

In 1870, 'C' Telegraph Troop, Royal Engineers, was founded under Captain Montague Lambert. The Troop was the first formal professional body of signallers in the British Army and its duty was to provide communications for a field army by means of visual signalling, mounted orderlies and telegraph. By 1871, 'C' Troop had expanded in size from 2 officers and 133 other ranks to 5 officers and 245 other ranks. In 1879, 'C' Troop first saw action during the Anglo-Zulu War. On 1 May 1884, 'C' Troop was amalgamated with the 22nd and 34th Companies, Royal Engineers, to form the Telegraph Battalion Royal Engineers; 'C' Troop formed the 1st Division (Field Force, based at Aldershot) while the two Royal Engineers companies formed the 2nd Division (Postal and Telegraph, based in London). Signalling was the responsibility of the Telegraph Battalion until 1908, when the Royal Engineers Signal Service was formed. As such it provided communications during World War I. It was about this time that motorcycle despatch riders and wireless sets were introduced into service.

Royal Warrant

A Royal Warrant for the creation of a Corps of Signals was signed by the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, on 28 June 1920. Six weeks later, King George V conferred the title Royal Corps of Signals. It was given precedence immediately after the Royal Engineers.

Subsequent history

Before the Second World War, Royal Signals recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 2 inches tall. They initially enlisted for eight years with the colours and a further four years with the reserve. They trained at the Signal Training Centre at Catterick Camp. All personnel were taught to ride.[2]

Throughout World War II, members of the Corps served in every theatre of war. By the end of the war the strength of the Corps was 8,518 officers and 142,472 men. In one famous episode, Corporal Thomas Waters of 5th Parachute Brigade Signal Section was awarded the Military Medal for laying and maintaining the field telephone line under heavy enemy fire across the Caen Canal Bridge on D Day 1944.

In the immediate post-war period, the Corps played a full and active part in numerous campaigns, including Palestine, Malaya and the Korean War. Until the end of the Cold War, the main body of the Corps was deployed with the British Army of the Rhine confronting the former Communist Bloc forces, providing the British Forces' contribution to NATO with its communications infrastructure. Soldiers from the Royal Signals delivered communications in the Falklands War, the first Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo and the second Gulf War. They are currently deployed in Cyprus (TA), Bosnia (TA), Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1993, The Royal Corps of Signals relocated its training regiments: 11th Signal Regiment and 8th Signal Regiment, from Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire to Blandford Camp in Dorset.

Dress and Ceremonial

Tactical Recognition Flash

Tactical Recognition Flash of the Royal Signals

The Corps wears a blue and white tactical recognition flash on the right arm.

Cap Badge

The flag and cap badge feature Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, who is referred to by members of the corps as "Jimmy". The origins of this nickname are unclear. According to one explanation, the badge is referred to as "Jimmy" because the image of (the ancient Greek god) Mercury was based on the late mediaeval bronze statue of that 'divine' being by the Italian sculptor Giambologna (this is usually referred to as "Giambologna's Mercury" - shortening over time reduced the name Giambologna to "Jimmy". The most widely accepted theory of where the name Jimmy comes from is a Royal Signals boxer, called Jimmy Emblem, who was the British Army Champion in 1924 and represented the Royal Corps of Signals from 1921 to 1924.

Lanyard

On Service Dress and No 2 Dress the Corps wears a dark blue lanyard signifying its early links with the Royal Engineers.

Motto

The Corps motto is Certa Cito, which freely translates as Swift and Sure.

Appointments

The Colonel in Chief is currently HRH The Princess Royal. The Master of Signals is General Baxter. The Signal Officer-in-Chief (Army) is Brigadier Ted Flint, and the Corps Regimental Sergeant Major is Warrant Officer Class One (CRSM) David Taylor.

Equipment

The Corps deploys and operates a broad range of specialist military and off-the-shelf communications systems[3]. The main categories are as follows:

  • Satellite ground terminals
  • Terrestrial trunk radio systems
  • Combat net radio systems
  • Computer networks
  • Specialist military applications (computer programmes)

Royal Corps of Signals units

Brigades

There are three signal brigades:

  • 1st Signal Brigade (Germany) (7 and 16 Signal Regiments plus Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Support Battalion) 1 Signal Brigade also consists of 22 Signal Regiment, and 12 Signal Group, which comprises 33, 34 and 35 Signal Regiments. [1]
  • 2nd (National Communications) Signal Brigade (10th, 31st, 32nd, 36th, 37th, 38th, 40th and 71st Signal Regiments, plus 1st, 2nd and 81st Signal Squadrons and LIAG) [2]
    • 11th Signal Brigade (2nd, 14th and 30th Signal Regiments) [3]

Regular Army

  • 2nd Signal Regiment
    • Support Squadron
    • 214 Signal Squadron
    • 219 Signal Squadron
    • 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron
  • 10th Signal Regiment
    • 233 Signal Squadron
    • 241 Signal Squadron
    • 243 Signal Squadron
    • 251 Signal Squadron
    • ECM (FP) Squadron (Northern Ireland) (Formerly Romeo Troop, 15 Sig Regt which disbanded May 2006)
  • 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare)
    • Headquarters Squadron (now renamed as Operations Support Sqaudron)
    • 223 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 224 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 226 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 237 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
    • 245 Signal Squadron (Electronic Warfare)
  • 16th Signal Regiment
    • Headquarters Squadron
    • 230 Signal Squadron
    • 255 Signal Squadron
    • 252 Signal Squadron
  • 21st Signal Regiment (Air Support)
    • HQ Squadron
    • 220 Signal Squadron
    • 244 Signal Squadron
    • 248 Gurkha Signal Squadron (To move to 22 Signal Regiment 2007)
  • 22nd Signal Regiment
    • Support Squadron
    • 217 Signal Squadron
    • 222 Signal Squadron (From 3 (UK) Divisional Signal Regiment)
    • 248 Gurkha Signal Squadron (From 21 Signal Regiment (Air Support))
  • 628 Signal Troop (Formerly 280 Signal Squadron)
  • 280 Signal Squadron (Formerly 28 Signal Regiment)
  • 28th (UK)Signal Regiment BAOR (NORTHAG)
    • 1 Squadron
    • 2 Squadron
    • HQ Squadron
    • Motorised Transport Squadron
    • Victor Troop (Comms) Rheindalen
    • 13 TTR (Belgium)
  • 30th Signal Regiment
    • Support Squadron
    • 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron
    • 256 Signal Squadron
  • 3rd (UK) Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment
    • Headquarters (Somme) Squadron
    • 202 Signal Squadron
    • 206 Signal Squadron
    • 222 Signal Squadron (To move to 22 Signal Regiment 2007)
  • 39th Infantry Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (213)
  • 8th Infantry Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (218)
  • 52nd Infantry Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (258)
  • 264 (SAS) Signal Squadron (renamed 18 (UKSF) Signal Regiment in early 2005)
  • 600 Signal Troop - (Attached to Unified Systems Support Organisation (USSO))
  • 628 Signal Troop (UK DCM(A)) - 1 NATO Signal Battalion (Formally 280 UK Signal Squadron Dec 05)
  • 660 Signal Troop (Attached to 11 EOD Regt RLC for support in ECM and communications)
  • Defence Communication Services Agency (DCSA) (Many locations throughout UK and Germany)
  • Joint Communications Unit (Falkland Islands)
  • The Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team (RSMDT) [Known since 1960's as "The White Helmets"]
  • Band of the Royal Corps of Signals

Territorial Army

  • 32nd (Scottish) Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
    • Headquarters Squadron [Glasgow]
    • 51 (Highland) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Aberdeen]
    • 52 (Lowland) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [East Kilbride]
    • 61 (City of Edinburgh) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Edinburgh]
  • 33rd (Lancashire and Cheshire) Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
    • 42 (City of Manchester) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Manchester]
    • 55 (Merseyside) Headquarters Squadron (Volunteers) [Huyton]
    • 59 (City of Liverpool) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Liverpool]
    • 80 (Cheshire Yeomanry) (Earl of Chester's) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Runcorn]
  • 34th (Northern) Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
    • Headquarters Squadron [Middlesbrough]
    • 49 (West Riding) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Leeds/Hull]
    • 50 (Northumbrian) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Darlington/Newcastle]
    • 90 (North Riding) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Hartlepool/Middlesbrough]
  • 35th (South Midlands) Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
    • Headquarters Squadron [Coventry]
    • 48 (City of Birmingham) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Birmingham]
    • 58 (Staffordshire) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Newcastle under Lyme]
    • 89 (Warwickshire) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Rugby]
    • 95 (Shropshire Yeomanry) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Shrewsbury]
  • 38th (City of Sheffield) Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
    • Headquarters Squadron [Sheffield]
    • 46 (City of Derby) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Derby]
    • 64 (City of Sheffield) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Sheffield/Nottingham]
    • 93 (East Lancashire) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Blackburn/Manchester]
  • 40th (Ulster) Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
    • Headquarters Squadron [Belfast]
    • 66 (City of Belfast) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Belfast]
    • 69 (North Irish Horse) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Limavady]
    • 85 (Ulster and Antrim Artillery) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Bangor]
  • 1st (Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry) Signal Squadron (Special Communications) (Volunteers) [Bletchley]
  • 2nd (City of Dundee) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Dundee]
  • 63rd (SAS) Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Thorney Island/Southampton/Portsmouth/Bournemouth/Chichester/London]
  • 81st Signal Squadron (Volunteers) [Corsham]
  • Land Information Assurance Group (LIAG) (Volunteers) [Corsham]

Cadet Forces

The Royal Corps of Signals is the sponsoring Corps for several Army Cadet Force and Combined Cadet Force units.[4] They also, quite unusually, sponsor small groups of signals trained cadets in cadet detachments which are affiliated to a different Regiment or Corps. One such contingent with cadets who wear the insignia of the Royal Signals, but are sponsored by a different regiment is the Brighton College CCF. The parent regiment of this contingent is the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment.[5]

Order of Precedence

Preceded by:
Corps of Royal Engineers
Order of Precedence Succeeded by:
Foot Guards

Footnotes

See also

External links








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