After a year of planning and last minute route changes, 10 members of the Indian Army Signal Corps Motorcycle Expedition 2010 finally completed their month long 3000 mile journey to Blandford Camp on Friday 17 Sep 10,2010. The team led by Lt Col Vks Tomar which included 2 female officers, Captains Ravinder Kaur and Tashi Thapilyal arrived at RHQ Royal Signals to be greeted by the fanfare trumpeters of the Corps Band and a reception party headed jointly by the SOinC(A), Brig Tim Watts OBE ADC and the Military Attache, Brig Anil Mehta from the Indian High Commission in London. After the team was introduced to the SOinC a special introduction was made to Maj (Retd) Tom Bewsey OBE (93 years of age) the last Chairman of the Indian Army Signal Corps Association. With only 3 members still living it was a particular privilege for the visiting riders that one of the surviving veterans who served in the Indian Army Signal Corps before partition in 1947 could also make the journey to Blandford. The motorcycle expedition was devised as a suitable way in which the Indian Army Signal Corps could reconnect with their heritage and visit the Home of the Royal Corps of Signals to make a small presentation in their Centenary celebration year. The Indian Army Signal Corps will officially reach its 100th birthday on 15 Feb 2011 when the major commemorative events including a reunion will take place at the Signal Training Centre at Jubbulpore. Following their epic journey and the formal arrival and presentation ceremony the riders were entertained to an evening of well deserved relaxation and reminiscing before once again mounting their 250cc Royal Enfield motorcycles in order to watch the White Helmets undertake their last performances for this display season at the Royal Berkshire Show. The expedition members have been on the road for almost a month and after completing a number of wreath laying and other ceremonies in Brighton, London and Camberley will return to India by air on 29 Sep 10, 2010.
THE INDIAN ARMY SIGNAL CORPS MOTORCYCLE EXPEDITION 2010
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Maj (Retd) Tom Bewsey OBE of Indian Signal Corps, talking on "Operation Overlord". Tom is known to a very large section of the local community where he he has been involved in many activities notably being a founder member of the Sidcup Symphony Orchestra, being a Governor of Harenc School, and three times President of this Society. War time experience in the Royal Corps of Signals led him to a peacetime career in maritime radar and marine engineering. The talk on " Operation Overlord" was a lucid and interesting account of Tom's involvement with the planning of the Royal Signals part in the D Day landing. He showed how extreme secrecy was maintained before the actual invasion. His Signals unit was stationed on the Isle of Wight where they were aware of the possibility of a German Paratroop landing which however did not occur. Occupying high ground on the Isle of Wight gave him a ring side view of "the greatest amphibious operation in history". Although the story of the Normandy landings is well known much of Tom Bewsey's talk was of the part played by Royal Signals in carrying out a meticulously planned deception campaign. This resulted in the retention by the Germans of 12 divisions in the Calais area and a further 12 divisions in Norway. Fictitious military units were set up in Scotland and in the South East of England with dummy tanks and trucks. This deception was planned by Jasper Maskelyne, the grandson of the famous Edwardian Illusionist. Not all the Signals activities involved 20th Century science. Carrier pigeons were used to convey messages from France and one particular bird received the Dickin Medal for Animal Bravery on account of several successful flights.