A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ROYAL SIGNALS TRAINING ORGANISATION IN UK

(EXCLUDING BOYS TRAINING)

The formal training organisation of the Royal Corps of Signals can be traced back to 1869 when, with the support of Sir John Burgoyne, the Chief Engineer, a Signal Wing was formed at the School of Military Engineering at Chatham. Its purpose was to teach electrical and visual methods of signalling. Two key appointments were also established with the Instructor of Telegraphy and the Instructor of Army Signalling. The former was responsible for electrical signalling and the latter for visual Signalling

1875 the Instructor of Army Signalling. moved to Aldershot and was retitled the Inspector of Army Signalling. The Signal Wing at Chatham only instructed RE tradesmen and did not include any visual signalling In 1886 the School of Signalling. was formed at Aldershot for visual signalling Simultaneously, the Signal Wing of the School of Military Engineering was absorbed into the Electrical School.

In 1913 the Signal School at Aldershot assumed responsibility for both electrical and visual signalling and so, once again, both signaling disciplines were collocated. At the time of the First World Was it was found that there was no reinforcement training canter to prepare non-regulars for war. Under Captain A B Cunningham RE a Reserve Signal Depot (RSD) was formed in Aldershot. Following on from this, in early 1915, Colonel R H H Boys, formed the Signal Service Training Canter (SSTC) from RSD. The SSTC HQ was initially at Ridmont and then Bedford. There were depots set in various locations under Territorial Lieutenant Colonels. By 1916 they had the following responsibilities :

In 1918 Brigadier Godfrey-Faussett took command of the SSTC and Depots became Companies and were components of the SSTC. It was also decided to move the organisation to a temporary hutted camp in Maresfield, Sussex. In 1920 1st Training Battalion was set up in Maresfield and 2nd Training Battalion in Crowborough Sussex. Maresfield also included the SSTC and the Army Signal School. Later in 1920 on the formation of the Royal Signals. These were retitled the Signal Training Canter (STC) and the School of Signals. The latter was for officer training.

In May 1922 Colonel Commandant WPE Newbiggingss became Commandant of the STC (Brigadier Generals ceased as a rank after WW1). The STC remained in its 'temporary' accommodation until it moved to its permanent location in Catterick, North Yorkshire. The advance party moved to Catterick in 1924 but the units were not fully in situ until September 1925.

The STC moved in to 'S' lines (later Vimy), the School of signals moved to 'R' lines (later Messines), the Depot Battalion to 'U' lines ( later Baghdad) and the Training Battalion to 'S' and 'T' lines (later Vimy and Kennel). After this there do no appear to be many major changes to the training organisation until the onset of hostilities in 1939 when there was a need to expand the training capability rapidly.

An early addition was in June 1939 when a Militia Training Battalion was formed in Catterick with three squadrons. The Antiaircraft Militia training Battalion was also formed in Harrogate on a tented site. In September 1939 1st Operators Training Battalion was formed with four companies. Its staff comprised mainly Territorial augmented by Reservists, Regulars and Militiamen. At a similar time, 1st General Trades Training Battalion was formed with five companies including Boys Company. Also in 1939, at Prestatyn in Wales, 2nd STC was formed with 2nd Depot Battalion, and 2nd general Trades Training Battalion. This lasted until June 1943 when its care returned to Catterick.

The final prewar expansion was of 3rd Depot Battalion, 3rd Holding Battalion, 3rd Operators Training Battalion and 3rd General Trades Training Battalion (comprising four companies). Initially, 3rd Operator Training Battalion was established at Whitby in 1939, it then moved to Prestatyn in 1940 and returned to Whitby 1944. In 1946 it formed 3 Training Regiment at Catterick and in 1956 reformed in Lincoln as 23rd Signal regiment.

By 1946 the STC had undergone a series of redesignations and standardisation on trade Training Regiments. These did not last long and by 1948 the set up became :

The reorganisation following National Service resulted in the following by 1959/1960.:

The last course of Officer Cadets to receive national Service commissions passed out of Officer Training Wing, The School of Signals in 1958 and the unit was disbanded. The last intake of National Servicemen was in 1959.

Throughout the 1960's 8th Signal Regiment was responsible for the training of Linemen, Technicians, Radio Relaymen, Cipher Operators and some specialist skills. 24th Signal Regiment was responsible for Clerks Technical, Drivers, Electrician Drivers, Operators (Telegraph, Radio and Commcen). WRAC Switchboard Operators were trained in the Signal Regiment Training Canter WRAC of 24th Signal Regiment. 8th Signal Regiment absorbed 24th Signal Regiment on 1 November 1970. The regiment formed the Trade Training School with two wings - Engineering and Operator/Driving. 11th Signal Regiment continued with Depot and basic training responsibilities.

In 1964 the Royal Corps of Signals was granted the Freedom of Richmond. In 1967 the School of Signals moved to Blandford Camp together with the HQ Officers Mess. The move was initially planned for Middle Wallop but the need for a location for the Army Air Corps arose so the plans were changed. On 1 January 1973 Catterick Camp became Catterick Garrison with HQ Training Brigade, Royal Signals in Vimy Lines.

There were a number of major changes as a result of the Army Review of Training Base and Option for Changes of the early 1990's. Basic recruit training for the Army canted on a number of Army Training Regiments. In 1993 Royal signals basic training was transferred to the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourne. It was also decided that all Royal Signals professional training should be carried out centrally at Blandford. Thus, 8th Signal Regiment final parade was on 14 October 1994 and the training function was moved to Royal School of Signals which had been given its Royal honour in June 1992. The name of 11th Signal Regiment was assumed by the School Regiment, Blandford on 5 April 1993.>

A full version is obtainable from the Royal Signals Museum, which also contains three pictures,