Corps of Signals 100th Anniversary
1911 - 2011

Photographs and Report on 14th Reunion at Jablapur: 13- 15 Feb 2011

Monday, 25 April 2011

History of the Royal Corps of Signals

Courtesy: Royal Corps of Signals
He was the first Commander of 'C' Telegraph Troop, Royal Engineers which was formed in 1870.
The first communication device the heliographs were mainly made in India. The heliograph was used extensively during the various campaigns on the North West Frontier of India and continued in an active service role during World War 1 and even in the desert campaign of World War 2. The next major set forward in military communications was the invention of the telephone in 1876 and its introduction into military service.
Formation of The Royal Corps of Signals
The first official agreement to form a separate Signal Corps was made in 1918, before the end of World War One. Due to various policy delays, the formation of the 'Corps' was delayed until 1920.
A Royal Warrant was signed by the Secretary of State for War, the Rt. Hon Winston S Churchill, who gave the Sovereign's approval for the formation of a 'Corps of Signals' on 28th June 1920. Six weeks later, His Majesty the King conferred the title 'Royal Corps of Signals'.
Campaigns After Formation
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Corps increased its strength and had personnel serving in overseas stations such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ceylon, Egypt, Jamaica and many other 'out-posts of the Empire'.
The largest portion of the Corps was overseas, one third being concentrated in India. Throughout World War Two, members of the Corps served in every theatre of war and, at the end, the Corps had a serving strength of 8,518 officers and 142,472 soldiers. Indian Signal Corps strength was 2,830 officers and 47490 soldiers.
In the immediate post-war period, the Corps played a full and active part in numerous campaigns including: Palestine (1945-1948); the long campaign. in Malaya (1949-1960); the Korean War (1950-1953); ; the Suez Canal Zone (1956); the various operations in Cyprus, Borneo, Aden, the Arabian Peninsula, Kenya and Belize.
Throughout this time, until the end of the Cold War, the main body of the Corps was deployed with the British Army of the Rhine confronting the former Communist Block forces, providing the British Forces' contribution to NATO with its communications infrastructure.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Coffee Table Book

The Defence Minister, Shri A. K. Antony unveiled the Corps of Signals coffee table book Feb 17, 2011

The Defence Minister, Shri A. K. Antony unveiled the Corps of Signals coffee table book on the occasion of Corps of Signals Centenary celebrations, in New Delhi on February 17, 2011.
The Minister of State for Defence, Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology and Home Affairs, Shri Gurdas Kamat, the Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. V.S. Tonk and the Signal Officer-in-Chief, Lt. Gen. P Mohapatra are also seen.
What is a Coffee Table Book?
A coffee table book is a hardcover book that is intended to sit on a coffee table or similar surface in an area where guests sit and are entertained, thus inspiring conversation or alleviating boredom. They tend to be oversized and of heavy construction, since there is no pressing need for portability. Subject matter is generally confined to non-fiction, and is usually visually-oriented. Pages consist mainly of photographs and illustrations, accompanied by captions and small blocks of text, as opposed to long prose. Since they are aimed at anyone who might pick the book up for a light read, the analysis inside is often more basic and with less jargon than other books on the subject. Because of this, the term "coffee table book" can be used pejoratively to indicate a superficial approach to the subject.
David R Brower is sometimes credited with inventing the "modern coffee table book". While serving as executive director of the Sierra Club, he had the idea for a series of books that combined nature photography and writings on nature, with, as he put it, "a page size big enough to carry a given image’s dynamic. The eye must be required to move about within the boundaries of the image, not encompass it all in one glance." The first such book, "This is the American Earth", with photographs by Ansel Adams and others and text by Nancy Newhall, was published in 1960; the series became known as the "Exhibit Format" series, with 20 titles eventually published.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Corps of Signals History- Challenges

Corps History Committee
Though no history of the Corps was published during the period 1947-72, most of the work including the writing of the script of Volume I covering the period 1911-39 was completed during this time. The story of the ups and downs connected with the publication of the book has been covered in ‘History of the History’ which forms Appendix 1 of Volume II. However, the deliberations of the Corps Committee concerning the history of the Corps and other subjects within the purview of the Corps History Committee which are relatively unknown will be covered here.

The Corps Committee, in its very first meeting held in September 1946, ‘agreed that it was most desirable that the history of the Indian Signal Corps should be compiled’. However, nothing much seems to have been done during the next few years except a visit to the Historical Section in Simla by the Deputy Director Signals in early 1953 and the initiation of a case for a lieutenant colonel to write the Corps history. The lieutenant colonel and his staff were sanctioned, but due to acute shortage of officers in the Corps, no officer could be provided for this task. 69

Fortunately, Colonel T Barreto was posted as Deputy Director of Signals from 1953-56. Without any mandate from the Corps Committee, he had begun collecting material in 1951, when he was at the Staff College, and continued his efforts during his tenure at Delhi. This naturally came to the knowledge of Brigadier Akehurst and Brigadier Iyappa, who succeeded him in 1954. In 1957, the Corps Committee agreed that the compilation of the history of the Corps is a long outstanding necessity. They appreciated the effort already put in by Brigadier Barreto and requested him to accept the responsibility to complete the Corps history, sanctioning a sum of Rs. 1000/- for expenses.

By this time Brigadier Barreto had moved to Poona as CSO Southern Command. He was nominated Chairman of the Corps History Committee, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1965. During his tenures at Poona (1956-60); Simla (1960-63) and Mhow (1963-65), he continued to work assiduously on the project. He presented the first report of the Corps History Committee during the 11th Corps Committee Meeting in 1958. Thereafter, he presented progress reports in every meeting of the Corps Committee up to 1965, which was the last meeting he attended. During this meeting, he informed the Committee that the manuscript of Volume I of the History of the Indian Signal Corps was almost ready. In the absence of the Chairman, Lieutenant General Iyappa, the meeting was chaired by the Co-Chairman, Major General Batra, who stated that he had discussed the matter with the Senior Colonel Commandant. As the printing of the Volume would require last minute coordination with the printers, it would be printed in India. It had been decided that the services of Lieutenant Colonel Proudfoot be engaged for technical vetting of the manuscript and processing till its final publication.

The decision to engage Lieutenant Colonel Proudfoot could not have been taken kindly by Brigadier Barreto. It indicated a lack of confidence in his abilities which was totally unjustified. That this was done without consulting him was even more galling. Due to various reasons, he put in his papers and retired prematurely in June 1965, when he was the Commandant of the School of Signals. Before he retired, he was asked to hand over the manuscript and all the material collected by him painstakingly over the previous 10-15 years.

Though the manuscript had been completed by Brigadier Barreto before he retired, the project went into limbo after his departure, with the Corps not being able to find a suitable replacement to head the Corps History Committee. The next meeting of the Corps Committee records:
Since the retirement of Brig T BARRETO a new Chairman of the Corps History Committee has not yet been appointed in his place. No report has, therefore, been prepared for discussion. CSO Central Command stated that the present system of collecting data for the compilation of Corps History entailed delay and therefore the system should be revised and the responsibility entrusted to a training establishment to whom copies of war diaries and other materials of historical value to the Corps should be made available. He also stated that it may be advantageous to employ a retired officer who may progressively compile the History and keep it up-to-date.

In 1967 the Corps Committee was informed that the only nomination received so far for ‘writing’ the Corps history was that of Lieutenant Colonel A Asirvadam of the School of Signals. Brigadier KD Bhasin stated that he had informally contacted Brigadier Barreto who had declined to undertake the task. The Chairman, Lieutenant General Iyappa, asked the SO-in-C, Major General ID Verma to discuss this issue with Brigadier Barreto during his next visit to Jabalpur. Meanwhile, all the material still held with Brigadier Barreto was to be taken over from him and properly compiled to facilitate further work. Major GY Sowani of 1 STC was to carry out processing of Volume I and start writing the draft for Volume II. The draft written Major Sowani was to be passed on to Colonel SN Mehta for vetting and finalisation.

For the next four years literally nothing was done with regard to the Corps history. The subject was also not discussed by the Corps Committee during the meetings held in 1968, 1969 and 1970. In 1971 Commandant 1 STC placed before the Corps Committee the list of items which had been collected from Brigadier Barreto and kept in the Corps Museum. The Chairman, Lieutenant General Iyappa then suggested that it is time we take some concrete action to publish the Corps history. CSO Southern Command stated that Lieutenant Colonel GY Sowani had volunteered to do the work. (This had been approved by the Committee four years earlier). Initially he should be moved to Jabalpur on temporary duty to make an assessment of the volume of work involved and later he may be posted to Jabalpur if necessary.

In the event, after Colonel GY Sowani also begged off, various other writers approached, including Lieutenant Colonel CL Proudfoot, Colonel Pyara Lal Colonel V Anantahraman, Major KS Kapur Brigadier KD Bharagava and Lieutenant Colonel JC Dhamija. Volume I of the Corps History was finally published in 1975, ten years later after its completion by Brigadier Barreto. The book was a verbatim reproduction of the original draft except for a change in the title. The preface written by Brigadier Barreto was omitted and so was his name as the author. One can only wonder at the lackadaisical manner in which the Corps history project was addressed by the Corps Committee and the callous manner in which it treated one of its most distinguished members. Brigadier Barreto had been the longest serving member of the Corps Committee, except for General Iyappa. 6/7/2010
Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd)
Comment: Wonderful insight into the ordeals and challenges confronted in getting the Corps History Published. Brig Barreto and Maj Gen VK Singh are the true time keepers of Corps of Signals for perpetuity.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Corps of Signals War Memorial

Corps of Signals Centenary Celebrations and 14th Reunion 1 STC Jabalpur

To honour the sacred memory of those brave brethren who laid down their lives during World War I and II in service of the Corps and the country, a War Memorial was erected on the Parade Ground of 1 Military Training Regiment of 1 Signal Training Centre, Jabalpur. The Memorial was unveiled at a solemn ceremony on 13 February 1961 during the Golden Jubilee Reunion. This Memorial is a 305 cms high wall made of Katni stone and a matching base. The column mounts the original Corps Badge (Emblem) of the Indian Signal Corps in brass and Dedicatory Plaque with the inscription 'IN MEMORY OF THE THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THE COUNTRY'.
As a matter of Corps custom, only white roses are grown and floral tributes of white roses only are paid. In Feb 1970, the current Emblem of the Corps was mounted beneath the old one. This memorial adorns the Parade Ground of 1 Military Training Regiment in Anderson Lines that has, since 1920, been watered by the sweat of the recruits who joined the Corps. It is on this Drill Square, in the shadow of this symbol of supreme sacrifice that they pledge their loyalty to the service and the nation on entering the Corps. There is no better backdrop than that of this parade ground to attest the recruits on their entry into the Corps as trained soldiers. The Regimental Attestation Parade has therefore, become an important ceremony, which is held in the shadow of the War memorial. For all these ceremonies, the Roll of Honour is brought ceremoniously and kept at the foot of the War Memorial to enliven the memory of our brethren who have given their lives in the service of the Corps and the Country.
Corps of signals War Memorial

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Souvenirs and Memorabilia

14th Reunion at 1STC Jabalpur
Similar to souvenirs, memorabilia (Latin for memorable things, plural of memorābile) are objects treasured for their memories; however, unlike souvenirs, memorabilia are valued for a connection to an event. Examples include Reunions, sporting events, historical events, culture and entertainment. Such items include playing cards, carry bags, publicity photographs, posters, caps, cups, clocks and such other collectables.
14th Reunion had an array of such items:
1. Corps tie
2. Corps scarf
3. Reunion folder with brochures and posters
4. Wall clocks and wrist watches
5. Hand Bag
6. Cups
7. Ladies Handkerchief
8. Caps

Monday, 11 April 2011

Autographed India Post Stamp and Cover

Centenary Celebration of Corps of Signals- India Post releases Postage Stamp

Dear Sir,
I am sending the photographs of signals postage stamp issued during centenary celebrations and veteran signallers has signed on this issue of stamps. Please circulate through your “report my signal”.
With warm regards
Col S C Ghose (Retd)

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Modernisation Process and the Poineers

Supreme Commander Inaugurating 100th Anniversary
The Modernisation Process
The Corps of Signals is well poised to exploit the state-of-art modern communication techniques for meeting the requirements of the Indian Army of the 21st Century. The ASTROIDS (Army Strategic Operational Information Dissemination System) and the DCN (Defence Communication Network) are other networks which have been visualised to cover communication requirements of all three services at the strategic level. Some of the areas where the Corps is already in the process of exploiting are the cellular radios - in both GSM (Global Satellite for Mobile Communications) & CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) modes, WLL (Wireless Local Loop), OFC (Optical Fibre Cable), mobile trunk radios, mobile satellite systems, etc. Advanced data transmission methods such as SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) and PDH (Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy) are also being used.
Personnel of the Corps are regularly sent abroad to expand their knowledge in numerous areas of telecommunications, information technology and electronic warfare including attending conferences such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to keep abreast with the latest in communications technology. The Corps also fielded communication task forces for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Sierra Leone. Signals personnel have also attended the Indian Army's training teams at Botswana and Mauritius.
Poineers in computerisation
To start the computerisation process, a middle level officer of the Corps of Signals, Maj OA Pereira was deputed to undergo a one year computer course at the statistical institute, Calcutta. On his return, the nucleus of a computer cell was formed at the AHQ. Around the same time, a training facility was organised by the Government at Delhi based on a Honeywell mainframe computer system. The scope of such training was, however, limited to fundamentals of computer technology and programming in COBOL with an exposure of FORTRAN. Simultaneously, officers were also sent to US Army School at Fort Monmonth, New Jersey for regular computer courses. Notable amongst these trainees were Lt Col MS Sodhi and Lt Col Harbhajan Singh, later both of them rose to the rank of Lt Gen's as SO in C. Prominent amongst the early computer poineers were Lt Col (Maj Gen) BS Paintal and Maj (Brig) VM Sundaram. They played a leading role in educating and spreading compuer awareness. Subsequently Maj Gen Gopal Das and Maj Gen Ganga Prasad made significant contribution for the planning and organisation of computer education and training. Brig SVS Chowdhry was closely associated with the computer education activity, first as a faculty member at MCTE, Mhow and later on in the planning and coordination of computer training during his two tenures at the Army Headquarters.