Sunday, 5 February 2012
Corps History: Curved Shoulder Title
I have been approached by Sqn Ldr Rana T.S. Chhina, who is the Secretary, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research at the USI. He is trying to put together a catalogue of metal shoulder titles worn by the Indian Army from 1885 till date. He has sent me a photo of a curved shoulder title of Signals which is attached. He wants to know if this title was ever worn by Indian Signals and if so, when was it replaced by the straight shoulder title that is still worn. His specific query is given below:
I would also be most grateful if you could kindly let me have the shoulder title reference. What were the patterns of metal shoulder titles worn? When was the current straight Signals title introduced? I recently acquired a curved Signals title. Which period would be this be from? I have also seen titles reading “Wireless” and a cloth slip on shoulder title reading “Wireless SEAC” (obviously from WW-2 – South East Asia Command .
I have sent him a gist of the changes that have occurred in our dress from 1911 to 1947, which have been covered in the History of the Corps of Signals Volume II. I am reproducing the information below:
From 1911 to 1916, signallers wore the same uniform as the Sappers and Miners. In 1916, the distinctive Signal Service colours, blue and white, were permitted in the ‘pullah’ in 1916 and in the ‘jhalar’ of the headdress in 1920. Indian ranks started wearing brass shoulder titles ‘SIGNALS’ in 1922. In 1923, all ranks of the Corps began to dress as mounted men, wearing breeches and short-putties, in addition to trousers and shorts. In 1927 the colours of Royal Signals – light blue green and dark blue - were adopted for ‘jhalars’, replacing the blue and white. In 1928 it was ruled that the blue and white Signals arm bands would be worn only on active service. In 1935 the Madrassis were permitted to wear felt hats, instead of the heavy pagri which often came off while riding a horse. The length of the Punjabi Mussulman’s ‘safa’ was reduced, with a small kullah being worn. Sikhs and Dogra wore a small pug under their turbans. With mechanisation, breeches and spurs gradually disappeared. During World War II, all personnel, except for Sikhs, started wearing the blue beret and the jungle hat.
Can any veteran signaller shed some light on this? Was the curved shoulder title ever worn by Indian Signals?
Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd)
Corps of Signals- Planning and Centenary Celebrations at Jabalpur and other Stations