Corps of Signals 100th Anniversary
1911 - 2011

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

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Facets of Corps History

History of Corps of Signals
Corps of Signals provides the life line for the army in providing communications of all sorts. The Corps of Signals of Indian Army enables all commanders to exercise command and control over their troops during operations. Until the telegraph was adopted by the army its communications were operated by various means including the blue and white flags by day and by lamps at night. Later on the messages were transmitted by means of buzzer keys across field cables. There is a record of a signal service in India in 1857. Telegraph lines were also laid for the assault on Lucknow during 1857 with much success. Its communication channels are high speed radio, teleprinters and field telephones.
Objective of Corps of Signals
The main objective of Corps of Signals is to make the Indian Army Network Enabled Force and Network Centric Force. This will implicate consolidation of all networks so as to provide the Indian Army with an optimum, secure, reliable and robust infrastructure that can meet both operational and peacetime requirements and one that is capable of withstanding technical and physical degradation. The Corps of Signals remains the lead agency and nodal centre for information and cyber security both within the Defence Services and at the national level. A holistic approach has been adopted to develop the Communication and IT infrastructure in all its dimensions of the military organisation. With the experience gained in various operations, it was decided in 1911 to organise signals as a separate establishment under the protection of the corps of army engineers and miners. A signal company formed a part of each division and a nucleus of a wireless company for the lines-of-communications. Further developments were interrupted by the declaration of the war. The Royal engineers and the Indian army provided officers for the signals. In October 1914 a Signal Service Depot was formed at Kirkee which was to be responsible for training reinforcements which were needed very urgently for the rapidly expanding corps. Corps of Signals was established in 1922.
The Signal Training Centre and the Boys Company
1 STC and Depot was located at Jabalpur. The Army Signal School and Wireless Training Section were responsible for the training of regimental signallers and personnel for wireless units. The field units consisted of four cavalry brigade signal troops, seven divisional signals, two corps signals and two signal parks. In 1933 a new experiment was started in the Corps with the inauguration of the Boy's Company at the Signal Training Centre which proved a great success.
Courtesy: Indianetzone

Friday, 27 May 2011

Corps of Signals- 21st Century

Uploaded by IndiaDefence on May 1, 2011
In keeping with the 21st century vision of the Corps of Signals 'to achieve electronic and information superiority for effective functioning of the Indian Army', the Corps has embarked upon a multidimensional and challenging task of establishing a converged, robust, broad band and secure IT infrastructure, at peace and operational locations of the Indian Army.

A holistic approach has been adopted to develop the Communication and IT infrastructure in all its dimensions. ASCON Phase III, fully redundant and secure backbone network already implemented and presently project ASCON Phase IV is under implementation to cover voids. Also state of the art Zonal/Metro access networks have been established at a number of stations and at other locations these networks are under implementation. Simultaneously, access networks down to formation/unit level, especially in Northern, Eastern and Southern Commands, are being established based on OFC and UHF systems. Exclusive, satellite-based networks shall provide converged data and voice networks for different users which include use during aid to civil administration, especially during natural calamities.

Signals are essentially the NERVES of the Army. The nerves in our body connect the brain to the sensory organs and also to the limbs. It is through the nerves that the brain receives inputs from the various sensory organs. The processing of these inputs results in a set of commands being issued to the various limbs which execute them to provide the response that our body makes to the external stimulus. In the same manner, the Generals, being the brains of the Army, receive inputs from the troops in contact and from other sources through the Signals. These inputs are processed at the Headquarters and converted into action plans. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Signals to convey these operational plans to the troops who execute them. Therefore, it is obvious that the Signals are intimately intertwined in all aspects of the functioning of the Army both in war and in peace. Signals are present at all levels and at all places, just as we have nerves in all parts of our body.

The vision of Signals Corps is to attain and maintain informatic ascendancy by developing infostructure to cater for Network Centric Warfare in a digitized battlefield of tomorrow. The aim and objective of Signals Corps is to make the Indian Army Network Enabled Force by 2012 and Network Centric Force by 2017. This will entail consolidation of all networks so as to provide the Indian Army with an optimal, secure, reliable and robust infostructure that can meet both operational and peacetime requirements and one that is capable of withstanding technical and physical degradation. The Corps remains the lead agency and nodal centre for information and cyber security both within the Defence Services and at the National level.

The offrs at all levels are aware of the strategic, operational and tactical dimensions to enable a pragmatic application of technology in support of combat ops. Training centres are developing directives and processes that can prepare all ranks to acquire a high level of multiple skills needed in the diverse terrain, technological and op environment of our army in gen and Signals in particular. The training centres are designed to facilitate the pursuit of a continuous trg philosophy at unit level through on-the-job trg and by harnessing e-learning, thereby reducing the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots".

The momentous strides made by the Corps in the last few decades have truly been stupendous and without parallel. It has transited to a network enabled force, propelled by the intellect, sustained hard work and the inherent urge to excel which have been so vividly displayed by all officers and men. The domain of enhancing communication in the Tactical Battle Area and the facilitation of synergy of C4I2 elements are going to be the major thrust areas for the future. The Corps is forward looking, with finely honed procedures and exacting standards for execution of tasks. The Corps has always had an abiding and strong ethical foundation. With character comes reputation, and the esteem that the Corps enjoys today stems from the value system and ethos which need to be continually preserved and nurtured. The Corps has also evolved drills and procedures that ensure the provision of reliable and responsive communications to the Army under harsh terrain and tough battle field conditions and is living up to the motto of the Corps - "TEEVRA CHAUKAS" or "Swift and Secure".
India Defence Channel

Forgotten Freedom Fighters

Signalmen of 1 STC Jabalpur Rebel against British Rule in India
The navy rebellion in Bombay in 1946, after which the army saw a mutiny in Jabalpur

On the quiet morning of February 26, 1946, some 120 men of the 'J' company of the Signals Training Centre (STC), Jabalpur, defied their British superiors and broke free from their barracks. Part of a radio signalling unit, they were angry at the abuse heaped on them by their British counterparts.

They were also upset at the incarceration of two Indian National Army (INA) officers at Red Fort in Delhi.
The Jabalpur mutiny had the British worried about what they took for granted—the British Indian army's loyalty.

The ranks of the mutineers swelled to 1,700 men, armed with nothing more than Congress and Muslim League flags. Shouting slogans, the patriotic mutineers protested peacefully for some days till a bayonet charge by the Somerset Light Infantry brought the mutiny to a halt.

Eighty men behind the mutiny were court-martialled and dismissed without pay and pension. Forty-one others were sent to prison. But the incident was quickly hushed up. The British officers stationed in Jabalpur were replaced by Indian officers and most of the records destroyed. And so, a chapter in India's struggle for freedom was virtually buried. The recognition due to the soldiers for standing up to British might was denied them.

In sharp contrast, the naval ratings who mutinied just days ahead of the Jabalpur mutiny were recognised as freedom fighters. The mutiny was officially recognised as part of the freedom struggle by the government of India. The men were allowed to serve in the navy of independent India and retire with full pensionary benefits, pay and allowances. What's more, they were awarded special freedom fighter's pensions. All that the mutineers of Jabalpur received for their efforts was a bayonet charge, rigorous imprisonment and dismissal without benefits.

The Jabalpur mutiny, though lost to public historians, left a deep impact on the British. The then commander-in-chief of the British Indian army, Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck, sent several secret cables back to London, discussing a quick transfer of power from British hands to the Indians.
M.A. Kochuvareed, a survivor of the mutiny, says a Nehru speech impelled signalsmen to defy the British.

Seeing the Jabalpur and the navy mutiny of Bombay together, the British were worrying about the probability of a larger insurrection. Therefore, when the men of the 'J' company stood in defiance, they made history—this was the first and only major instance of Indian army regulars challenging the British.

The effect was telling. The naval mutiny—and another in the air force, a few days earlier—could be contained. But the shock was from the Jabalpur mutiny, for the British Indian army and its loyalty was considered the backbone of British rule in India.

Maj Gen V.K. Singh and his book
The account of the Jabalpur mutiny has now been recorded in The Contribution of the Indian Armed Forces to the Freedom Movement, a recent book by Maj Gen V.K. Singh (retd), chairman of the signals corps's history cell.

Singh chanced upon the few remaining records of the Jabalpur mutiny while working on the official history of the Corps of Signals. He has already published the second volume of the corps's history and is busy collating material for the third and final volume. "I saw what Gen Sir Claude Auchinleck wrote to the army commanders, worried that the loyalty of the Indian troops couldn't be taken for granted anymore. This had a profound impact on the British and probably quickened the departure of the British from India," Singh told Outlook.

It was in 2002, when Singh reopened dusty files of the Corps of Signals, that he lighted upon this forgotten chapter of the mutiny. "It seems that the men were agitated at the result of the INA trials, in which two officers were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. The fact that Indian troops were treated as inferior to the British and paid less also added to their anger," says Singh.

He immediately took up the cause of getting the mutiny recognised as a part of the freedom struggle. However, he only ran into the impenetrable Indian bureaucracy. As letters flew between Singh, the directorate of signals, ministry of defence, and the ministry of home affairs (MHA), the bureaucratic machinery continued to hold out. Singh took pains to point out to any official who would care to hear him out that the Jabalpur men had been ignored while recognition had been accorded to the naval ratings who participated in the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, which ironically took place a couple of weeks before the Jabalpur mutiny.

A list of the court-martialled-Click picture for large image

Meanwhile, one of the survivors of the mutiny, Lance Naik Neelakantan Nair, went to the Kerala High Court seeking directions to the MHA. In July 2003, the court directed the MHA and the state government to look into the matter and report back in six months. But nothing came of it. Finally, in a letter dated February 14, 2003 (No 8/2/2003-FF-P), the MHA stated that the issue of granting freedom fighter status to the mutineers had been "considered and it has been decided at the level of the home minister that they cannot be treated as freedom fighters."

The then home minister and currently the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, L.K. Advani, as the letter states, did not find the mutiny and its impact adequate enough to club it with the freedom struggle. After much persuasion from the signals corps, some of the participants, 41 out of over 1,700 mutineers, were granted a meagre pension while the others were dismissed since official records showed that they had been "discharged on administrative grounds". What the MHA forgot to look into was a small but critical detail on the discharge certificates. The men had been discharged, the certificate stated, for taking part in the "Jubalpore STC mutiny".

"It is absurd. All the naval mutineers have been recognised and feted by the government as freedom fighters. They too were discharged on administrative grounds. But the same logic didn't hold true for the men who suffered for decades for participating in the mutiny," says Singh. Ironically, the naval mutineers were also radiomen just like the ones in Jabalpur.

M.A. Kochuvareed, a mutineer

Eighty seven year old M.A. Kochuvareed, who was a havildar during the Jabalpur mutiny and is one of its few survivors, has laboured to seek recognition from the government for nearly 60 years. His memory is fading, but Kochuvareed still remembers those fateful days of the uprising in great detail. "Just two weeks before the mutiny, we had heard Pandit Nehru at a rally in Jabalpur. He told us that even a chotta harkat (minor move) on our part would be enough to bring down the British flag and raise the Indian tricolour. Many were already agitated and we decided to take on the British soon after that. A few days after the mutiny began the British sent in a bayonet charge that killed nearly eight people and injured 30 others," Kochuvareed recounted to Outlook.

Indian officers such as Brig Terence Baretto and Maj Gen K.K. Tiwari, both then war-weary captains in the British Indian army, were rushed to Jabalpur by army headquarters and the command of the unit was handed over to another Indian officer, one Lt Col Mukherjee. "As an adjutant I was in charge of the quarterguard where the men had been incarcerated and we heard from them about how they had been ill-treated by their British counterparts. I learnt a lot from them," remembers Tiwari.

So why did the British hush up the Jabalpur mutiny? They feared trouble if the news of the revolt spread to other army units across British India. A year later, as independent India finally became a reality, the brave men of Jabalpur became a footnote in the forgotten records of the Corps of Signals.
Radioactive Rebels? Signalmen of the Jabalpur mutiny of 1946- wonder why they aren't heroes by Saikat Datta in Outlook

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Dare Devils- World Records

In 01 may 1965, the DR Display Team of Corps of Signals was formally launched at 1 Signal Training Centre, Jabalpur. The first coach and captain of the Motor Cycle Team was Colonel SN Bhatia. The DR display team is stationed at Jabalpur and placed under command of Commandant 1 Signal Training Centre. The conduct of tour is controlled by Staff Duties Directorate, at the Army Headquarters. The Team, composed of 2 Officers, 2 Junior Commissioned Officers and 38 other ranks, is popularly called 'THE DARE DEVILS'. It has given excellent performances at various national events and has won appreciation. This team has performed even at the dizzy heights of Leh.
World Records
The Dare Devils' have to their credit FIVE World Records since 1991. Three of these World Records have been endorsed in Guinness Book of World Records
  • The first World Record was made at Gwalior in 1991 with 40 men on seven motor cycles covering a distance of 400 metres.
  • The second World Record was made at Pune in 1993 with 81 men on nine motor cycles covering a distance of 200 metres.
  • The third World record was made in 1996 with 140 men on eleven motorcycles covering a distance of 100 metres.
  • The fourth World record was made at Jabalpur in 2001 with 201 men on ten motorcycles covering a distance of 100 metres.
  • On 11 Jun 08 "DARE DEVILS" team has created a new Record by moving human pyramid of 251 men on 11 motorcycles covering a distance of 240 meters. The earlier record of 201 men on 10 Motorcycles and moving a distance of 129 meters on 05 Jul 2001 was also held by Corps of Signal DR Display Team.
    Honours and Awards
    It was a matter of pride for all Signallers while achieving a rare feet of being awarded one Shaura Chakra and three Sena Medals (Gallantry) during Independence Day 2007 and one PVSM, one AVSM and three VSM on Republic Day 2008. 12 COAS and 13 VCOAS Commendation Cards have been awarded to pers of Corps of Signals on the occasion of Independence Day 2008.
    Credit: Indian Army Webpage

    Corps History Part III covering period from 1947 to 1972
    The onerous task was assigned to Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd) and the book volume was released during the Commemoration Ceremony at the 14th Reunion cum Centenary Celebrations which concluded in 1 STC Jabalapur on 15 Feb 2011. click here

    Trivia from Corps History
    Who was Colonel Commandant, Indian Signal Corps in 1947- Independence Day?
    Gracey, Sir Douglas David, General (1894– 1964) Indian Army.
    When India was partitioned in 1947 Gracey became Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army before succeeding Frank Messervy as Commander-in-Chief Pakistan Army in 1948. Gracey did not send troops to the Kashmir front and refused to obey the order to do so given by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Governor-General of Pakistan. Gracey argued that Jinnah as Governor-General represented the British Crown of which he himself was an appointee. Similar to Gracey, the early heads of Pakistan’s air force and naval force were Englishmen. He retired in 1951.
  • Thursday, 12 May 2011

    Royal Signals hands over to Corps of Signals Indian Army- 15 Aug 1947

    Sunset on The Raj

    The end of colonialism in india. Lord Louis Mountbatten under the command of reigning monarch George VI- 15 Aug 1947
    Royal Signals were based in Quetta and Jubbulpur India 1938-1948

    GHQ Signals Regiment (Army HQ Signal Regiment)
    GHQ Signals Regiment stationed in New Delhi played a vital role in communications during the period 1946-1948. The regiment was responsible for supplying information to both the Indian and British governments of all the upheavals that took place at that time. Information was gathered from all over India, and this passed to the world media via government sources. Names of Signal Officers who were involved with the ceremonies that took place on August 15th 1947 will be found in the Corps History.
    The duties were taken over by Indian Army towards the end of 1947. Bombay signals, southern command signals (known as Bombay Signals) stationed at Colaba in Bombay. Commnding Officer Major Higgins (served as corporal under Capt H Sunderland).
    Signals Training Centre - STC(1) Mhow. Major RH Farlow, April 1947.
    Signals Squadron Deolali, 14070401 Sgmn Cutler L, British Brigade Group, Signals Squadron Deolali, India - Command, 28th February 1948 returned.
    Waziristan Signals HQ Dera Ismail Khan, 14695948ws sgt Banbde signal sec, Razmak signal sec, 1945 to Aug 1947.
    Communications Security School Attached to the Signals Training Centre
    MHOW, India. Major Prince CJ Capt Denton. Lt Williams EJ Instructors included: Sgt Symons JR, CSM Stansford DJ, Sgt Rattenbury S, Sgt Knighton JK, Cpl Perkins ML.
    This team were responsible for training members of The Communications Security personnel from units throughout the British Army in India Under the badge of the Royal Signals.
    The cipher was high grade to Top Secret standard and was vital for the army units all over India, especially during the years 1945-48. Thanks to John Beal for this entry.
    2nd Indian Airborne Divisional Signal Regiment I was a member of the South Staffordshire Regiment, but was attached to 2nd Indian Airborne Division Signal Regiment after being converted to Ciphers in 1946. The Regiment was, at that time, stationed in Clifton which was part of Karachi, and the until was under the command of Lt.Col David Horsfield. Later that year the unit relocated to Malir, some 10 miles from Karachi, and occupied what was previously an American Army camp. Lt Col Horsfield was recalled to Europe and the unit was then commanded by Major, and later by Lt Col DG Jones.
    Towards the spring of 1947 the unit relocated yet again to Quetta, and it was here that it saw the Independence of both India and Pakistan in the August of that year. 2nd Indian Airborne Divisional Signal Regiment was designated an 'Indian Army Unit' and moved very quickly from Quetta (Pakistan) into India. The British Army content, which then comprised approx 40 other ranks and 5 officers detached themselves from the 'Indian' unit, and under my command moved to the transit camp in Karachi from where we were repatriated to the UK in November/ December 1947 on the troopship 'Empire Trooper'. Thanks to Norman Logan for this entry.
    Ceylon Signal's Squadron, Colombo, Ceylon. Echelon Barracks, Colombo. Major J Badcock, Major PAM Tighe.
    Courtesy: Sunset of The Raj