Cap Badge of the Royal Corps of Signals
|Active||1920 – present|
|Garrison/HQ||Blandford Camp, Dorset|
Certa Cito |
(Swift and Sure)
|March||Begone Dull Care (Quick); HRH The Princess Royal (Slow)|
|Colonel-in-Chief||The Princess Royal|
|Ceremonial chief||Lieutenant General Sir Nick Pope|
|Corps Colonel||Col J Gunning ADC|
|Corps Sergeant Major||WO1 D Corcoran|
|Tactical Recognition Flash|
|British Army arms and services|
|Royal Armoured Corps|
|Special Air Service|
|Army Air Corps|
|Special Reconnaissance Regiment|
|Combat Support Arms|
|Royal Corps of Signals|
|Royal Army Chaplains' Department|
|Royal Logistic Corps|
|Army Medical Services|
|Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers|
|Adjutant General's Corps|
|Small Arms School Corps|
|Royal Army Physical Training Corps|
|General Service Corps|
|Corps of Army Music|
The Royal Corps of Signals (often simply known as the Royal Signals - abbreviated to R SIGNALS) is one of the combat support arms of the British Army. Signals units are among the first into action, providing the battlefield communications and information systems essential to all operations. Royal Signals units provide the full telecommunications infrastructure for the Army wherever they operate in the world. The Corps has its own engineers, logistics experts and systems operators to run radio and area networks in the field. 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Museum
- 4 Dress and ceremonial
- 5 Equipment
- 6 Royal Corps of Signals units
- 7 Cadet Forces
- 8 Order of precedence
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
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 the First World War. It was about this time that motorcycle despatch riders and wireless sets were introduced into service.
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.
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 and all personnel were taught to ride.
During the Second World War (1939–45), members of the Royal Corps of Signals served in every theatre of war. In one notable action, Corporal Thomas Waters of the 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 during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
In the immediate post-war period, the Corps played a full and active part in numerous campaigns including Palestine, the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation, 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 Soviet Bloc forces, providing the British Forces' contribution to NATO with its communications infrastructure. Soldiers from the Royal Signals delivered communications in the Falklands War in 1982 and the first Gulf War in 1991.
In 1994, The Royal Corps of Signals moved its training regiments, 11th Signal Regiment (the Recruit Training Regiment) and 8th Signal Regiment (the Trade Training School), from Catterick Garrison to Blandford Camp.
In late 2012, 2nd (National Communications) Signal Brigade was disbanded. Soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals saw extensive service during the eight years of the Iraq War before withdrawal of troops in 2011, and the 13 years of the War in Afghanistan before it ended in 2014.
In 2017 the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team, then in its 90th year, was disbanded; senior officers had complained that it "failed to reflect the modern-day cyber communication skills in which the Royal Signals are trained".
Training and trades
Royal Signals officers receive general military training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, followed by specialist communications training at the Royal School of Signals, Blandford Camp, Dorset. Other ranks are trained both as field soldiers and tradesmen. Their basic military training is delivered at the Army Training Regiment at Winchester before undergoing trade training at 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signal Regiment. There are currently six different trades available to other ranks, 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
- Communication Logistic Specialist: trained in driving 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 Sergeant & 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.
Whilst SSgts are generally regarded as being Regimental Duty, this roster does not start until WO2 and therefore all SSgts in the Royal Signals who are not supervisory are still employed "in trade".
Dress and ceremonial
Tactical Recognition flash
The Corps wears a blue and white tactical recognition flash. This is worn horizontally on the right arm with the blue half charging forward.
Airborne elements of the Royal Signals wear a Drop Zone (DZ) flash on the right arm of their combat jacket. It is square in shape with its top half white and the bottom half blue. When 5 Airborne Brigade was re-formed for the Falklands War, Signal elements adopted the Airborne Bridges Headquarters DZ Flash but this changed back to its original colours in the mid 1980s.
The flag and cap badge feature Mercury (Latin: Mercurius), 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 Mercury was based on the late mediaeval bronze statue by the Italian sculptor Giambologna, and 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.
It is one of the eight chalk hill figure military badges carved at Fovant, Wiltshire. It is the latest one to be made, as it was placed in 1970 following the Corp's 50th anniversary.
On Nos 2, 4 and 14 Dress, the Corps wears a dark blue lanyard on the right side signifying its early links with the Royal Engineers. The Airborne Signals Unit wears a drab green lanyard made from parachute cord. This dates back to the Second World War, when, following a parachute drop into France, the unit's Commanding Officer ordered all Signal personnel to cut a length of para-cord from their chutes in the event they may need it later in the fighting.
The Corps motto is "certa cito", often translated from Latin as Swift and Sure . It is easily seen on any of the Corps Badges.
The Colonel in Chief is currently the Princess Royal.
The Corps deploys and operates a broad range of specialist military and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) communications systems. The main categories are as follows:
- Satellite ground terminals
- Terrestrial trunk radio systems
- Combat net radio systems
- Computer networks
- Specialist military applications (computer programs)
Royal Corps of Signals units
Order of precedence
Corps of Royal Engineers
|Order of Precedence||Succeeded by|
- Career paths
- The Royal Signals Museum: Telegraph TP & Boer War
- The Royal Signals Museum: Corps History
- "Royal Corps of Signals". National Army Museum. http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units/royal-corps-signals. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- War Office, His Majesty's Army, 1938
- "Pegasus Bridge hero honoured in exhibition". Dorset Echo. 23 July 2004. https://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/5363595.pegasus-bridge-hero-honoured-in-exhibition/. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "No. 52589". 29 June 1991. p. 45. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/52589/supplement/45
- "Blandford Garrison". Army Garrisons. https://www.armygarrisons.uk/blandford-garrison/garrison/local-information-military-172824/. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- THE SIGNAL OFFICER IN CHIEF'S MESSAGE ON CHANGE FOR THE CORPS, dated 19 Sep 11
- "Chilcot report: Who were the 179 British soldiers who died during the Iraq War?". The Independent. 5 July 2016. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/chilcot-report-iraq-war-inquiry-british-soldiers-how-many-died-who-were-they-cause-of-deaths-a7118676.html. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "UK ends its war in Afghanistan: These are the 453 British men and women who died fighting the Taliban". The Independent. 27 October 2014. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-ends-its-war-in-afghanistan-these-are-the-453-british-men-and-women-who-died-fighting-the-taliban-9820014.html. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Sawer, Patrick (1 September 2017). "'Old fashioned' White Helmets display team wound up as Army looks to promote more high tech role". https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/01/old-fashioned-white-helmets-display-team-wound-army-looks-promote/. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- Royal Signals Careers - Soldier Trades Archived 29 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "About us". Royal Signals Museum. https://www.royalsignalsmuseum.co.uk/about-us/. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- Royal Signals Equipment Archived 13 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Homepage of ACF/CCF Signals Training". http://www.acfccfsignals.org.uk/main.php. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
- Lord, Cliff; Watson, Graham (2003). The Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the Corps (1920-2001) and Its Antecedents. West Midlands: Helion & Company Limited. ISBN 9781874622925. https://books.google.com/books?id=031WegRPmM8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- Warner, Philip (1989). THE VITAL LINK : The Story of Royal Signals 1945-1985. London: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0850528828. https://books.google.com/books?id=gtSkAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Category:Royal Corps of Signals.|
- The Royal Corps of Signals official website
- Royal Corps of Signals RSTL
- Royal Signals Museum
- Royal Signals Association
- Royal Signals ACF and CCF
- Royal Engineers Museum - Origins of Army Signals Services
- 32 Signal Regiment
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