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General Headquarters Signals, Middle East
15th (Cyprus) Signal Regiment
Headquarters Northern Ireland and 15th Signal Regiment
15th Signal Regiment
Insigne du Royal Corps of Signals (R SIGNALS).svg
Active 1936—1938
1940—1963
1965—1967
1992—Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch

 British Army

Role Global Communications
Size Regiment
Part of 11th Signal Brigade and Headquarters West Midlands
Garrison/HQ Blandford Camp
Nickname(s) 15 Signal Regiment

The 15th Signal Regiment is one of four special signal regiments of the British Army's Royal Corps of Signals, and will soon be leaving this role to support the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade under the Army 2020 Refine concept.

The regiment was originally formed before World War II during the expansion of colonial signals units, and continued to serve in the area until 1963. After reforming two years later, they continued for a short time to provides communications of the island of Cyprus but were disbanded shortly after. Finally in 1992 following the Options for Change, they were reformed to support HQ Northern Ireland and units on deployments during Operation Banner. Following the initial Army 2020 reform, the regiment was to be a specialist communications unit but, as stated above, is to re-role to support one of the armoured infantry brigades.

History

World War Period

Inter-war

Just before World War II, the Egypt Signals unit was formed. This unit was tasked with providing communications and signals support to the army units based in the Egypt Area. Their area of responsibility was not limited to Egypt itself, but included the following areas; Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, and later Cyprus. During this time, the unit was collectively known as Egypt Command Signals.[1] The regiment had a two but later three company structure with the following units and locations in 1939;[1][2][3]

In 1938, the 1936–1939 Arab revolts were spreading and becoming more of a nuisance for the government in the area. Following these increasing revolts, the regiment left the area's signals support role to the 7th and 8th Infantry Divisional signals after they were formed and based in the area.

World War II

In 1940, the 8th Infantry Division was broken up following the end of the revolts and this led to many other separate signals units to merge as General Headquarters Signals, Middle East. After their formation, the regiment was based in Cairo with their HQ under General Archibald Percival Wavell in his role as General-Officer Commanding, Middle East Command. During 1940, following the Italy's entry in the war, the regiment's role changed from a mostly civilian support role to military. Their support ranged from providing signals and communications for units in Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, The Balkans, and later Eastern Africa. The Western Desert Force and British Troops in Egypt formed signals unit to support the GHQ signals regiment. By 1943, the Western Desert Campaign was starting to wrap up, and the regiment's workload was significantly reduced to support only the GHQ and the GHQ for Troops in Palestine.[1]

Cyprus

Following the end of the war, the regiment was re-titled in 1946 as the 3rd General Headquarters Signal Regiment. Although the regiment's name changed, its role didn't and it continued to support GHQ Middle East. In 1947, the regiment moved to Moascar in the Suez Canal Zone and then to Episkopi in Cyprus by 1955. Following their move to Cyprus, the situation worsened for military members on the island. As a result of this, the EOKA terrorists increased their activities on the Island.[1]

In 1959, Middle East Command was dissolved and split into two new formations, British Forces Suez Canal and British Forces Arabian Peninsula. As a result of this change, the regiment was renamed as 15th (Cyprus) Signal Regiment to better represent their new role. After their rename, the regiment changed role to provide signals support to all military units based on the island. One of the regiment's main tasks while being based on the island was to provide communications for the specialist artillery units during operations and training. On 30 September 1960, the Cyprus Signal Regiment was renamed and their tasks transferred over to the regiment. In 1963 the EOKA started to end their terrorist assaults and as a result, the British Forces Cyprus were reduced by many regiments. As a result of this draw-down, the regiment was disbanded.[1]

Cold War

On 15 January 1965, the regiment was reformed in Aden.[1] After this reform, the regiment was titled as 15th Signal Regiment. Upon formation, the regiment had the following structure;[1]

  • Regimental Headquarters in Aden
  • 254 (Aden) Signal Squadron at Singapore Lines (Aden), Renamed as "1 Squadron", manning the Communications Centre
  • 255 (Bahrain) Signal Squadron in Bahrain, Renamed as "3 Squadron", remained in Bahrain
  • 603 (Mideast) Signal Troop in Cyprus, merged into "2 Squadron", Providing radio links with operational units
  • 643 Communications Security Signal Troop in Aden, merged into "2 Squadron", Providing radio links with operational units
  • D Troop at Streamer Point
  • E Ithsmus Troop, providing communications for City of Aden
  • K Airport Troop, providing communications for RAF Aden
  • J Troop, providing communications for Joint Headquarters
  • L Troop, providing communications for Aden Brigade
  • Transmissions Troop, providing maintenance for all signals troops
  • System Control Troop
  • F Troop at Faslane Camp

During this time, the regiment also providing a teleprinter detachment at HQ South Arabian Army. Also, the regiment controlled a cipher/telegraph detachment at the British Residence in Mukalla. This role was mainly because the garrison was increasing due to the Aden Crisis. After this crisis came to an end, the regiment remained in Aden to help provide and easy transition for the British control to Yemen. The regiment was finally disbanded in October 1967. Although the regiment's lineage ended in 1967, two troops remained in the area.[1]

The rearguard squadron remained in Aden for another month until all signals personnel left Aden in November of that year. After all signals members left, the squadron was disbanded.[1] 603 (Mideast) Signal Troop was reduced from 2 Squadron and based in Oman until March 1977.[1]

Modern-day

The regiment was finally reformed for the third time at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn Northern Ireland in 1990. After this reformation, the regiment was titled as 15th Signal Regiment. The regiment was formed to help co-ordinate the work of some existing signal squadrons in the province. Because the regiment took control of the squadron based in Northern Ireland, the regiment today continued to have a strong link to Northern Ireland.[1][5]

After the Options for Change and later Strategic Defence Review, the regiment took control of the brigade signal squadrons. The regiment was also converted to the Headquarters Northern Ireland and 15th Signal Regiment.[6] The regiment as a result controlled the following units;[6]

  • Regimental Headquarters in Lisburn[7]
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters and 203 Signal Squadron in Portadown[6][7]
  • 39th Infantry Brigade Headquarters and 213 Signal Squadron in Lisburn[6][7]
  • 8th Infantry Brigade Headquarters and 218 SIgnal Squadron in Derry[6][7]
  • 225 Signal Squadron in Lisburn[7]
  • 233 Signal Squadron in Lisburn[7]

During their time in Northern Ireland, the regiment gained a link with the Queen's University, Belfast Officer's Training Corps.[1] This link continues today. Until the 2003 Delivering Security in a Changing World reforms, the regiment continued to support communications for HQ NI and the battalions assigned for Operation Banner.[1][5]

Sometime after the end of Operation Banner in 2007, the regiment moved to Blandford Forum in Dorsetshire.[5] After their move, the regiment continued to both maintain their link with Northern Ireland and control the former Northern Ireland signal squadrons. Following the initial Army 2020 reforms, the regiment was re-titled as 15th Information Support Signal Regiment.[5]

According to a FOI Response, the regiment is to move under the control of the 11th Signal Brigade and Headquarters West Midlands.[8][9] The regiment is also due to move to Perham Down from Blandford Camp by 2025.[8][9] The regiment's role is to provide Specialist Technical Support through information support.[9][10][11]

The regiment under the reform is to re-organise and become a close support signals unit.[11] The regiment will support the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade by 2020. Under the refine, the RHQ was split to form a new 15 Signal Regiment (Armoured Infantry) and gain its field squadrons from 1 and 16 signal regiment. This new unit helped for the new 13 Signal Regiment.[9][11][12]

After the formation of the new regiment, the structure for 15 signal regiment is now as follows:[12][13]

  • Regimental Headquarters, at Blandford Camp
  • 207 (Jerboa) Signal Squadron, at Beacon Barracks, Stafford (from 16 Signal Regiment under June 2020 RCS re-organisation)
  • 255 (Bahrain) Signal Squadron, at Beacon Barracks, Stafford (from 16 Signal Regiment under June 2020 RCS re-organisation)
  • Support Squadron, at Blandford Camp

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Lord and Watson page 54
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "The Monthly Army List". London, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: The General Staff, War Office. 1939. p. 704. https://deriv.nls.uk/dcn23/1055/2061/105520616.23.pdf. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Files, The Patriot. “The British Army Overseas and the Colonies on 3 September 1939.”". http://www.patriotfiles.com/index.php?name=Sections&req=viewarticle&artid=6696&page=1.. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Egypt, 03.09.1939". Niehorster, Leo.. http://niehorster.org/017_britain/39_army/egypt.html. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "15 Regiment". British Army Units from 1945 On. http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/royal-signals/regiments---major-units-2/15-regiment.html. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Headquarters Northern Ireland and 15th Signal Regiment". https://web.archive.org/web/20040216050955/http://www.army.mod.uk/royalsignals/15sigregt/index.html. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 "Royal Signals Organisation". https://web.archive.org/web/20040216041807/http://www.army.mod.uk/royalsignals/organisation.html. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Army 2020 Refine changes since 2017" (in en). https://www.dropbox.com/s/t2dixk6lq6502ni/20190718-FOI06365_Zacchi_Response_Letter-ArmySec%20%283%29.pdf?dl=0. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "An Update from the Master of Signals". 2019. pp. 8, 14. https://royalsignals.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/20170921-Master-of-Signals-Presentation.pdf. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  10. "Transforming the British Army an Update". 2019. p. 12. http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2014-0042/20140110-PQ01968B-SOames-A2020-Update-Glossy-U.pdf. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Royal Corps of Signals Organisation". 2019. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/69/d1/4b/69d14b4613335e9739497c31f7bbb83f.jpg. Retrieved 20 October 2019. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Royal Corps of Signals, 2020 Summer Wire.
  13. Royal Signals Interactive Map.

Sources

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