Standing L to R: 2/Lt Satish Chandra, Lt RA Bhola, Lt KL Suri
At the turn of 20th century there was no organised signal service in existence in India. As far back as 1857, there is a record of a Signals service in India, though it was not until 1911, as a result of the recommendations of Headlam Committee in 1910, that Signals in India came into being on a separate establishment under the auspices of the Corps of Sappers and Miners. The Corps was raised with a signal company for each Division and a nucleus of a wireless company for the line of communication.
Based on the recommendation of various committees, 2 Divisional Signals Companies (31 & 32) under Northern Army, were raised on 15th Feburary 1911 at Fatehgarh, with Lieutenant Colonel S H Powell conferred Commandant Designate. Two more Signal Coy (33 & 34) under Southern Army at Ahmednagar and One Wireless Company (40) at Roorkee, were raised on 1st March 1911.
Composition of each Divisional Signal Company:
September 1935 saw the commissioning of the first Indian officer from the Indian Military Academy, 2/Lt AC Iyappa (later Director of Signals and Signal Officer-in-Chief) commissioned into the Corps. On India attaining independence in 1947, the Corps was completely Indianised and on 26 January 1950, on India attaining full sovereignity, the Indian Signal Corps was redesignated as the Corps of Signals.
Lt Gen Apparanda Aiyappa
As a captain he saw action in the Malyan campaign in 1942 against the Japanese in World War II. He was the first Indian Signal officer in chief. He became Master General of Ordnance in the rank of Lt Gen. He was the first Indian to be Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Signals. He was then deputed to Bharath Electronics Ltd (BEL) where he became chairman and held the post until 1972.
Photograph of 1949: Kind courtesy Col Rangaraj Jairam (Retd)