At present I am trying to convince a Museum to make some copies of WW1 Ground Signalling panels for use with the public during the 2014-18 anniversary. For this I am trying to do some as accurate as possible drawings of the devices. The problem of course is that there is limited material available, so they will probably not be 'exact' copies but will show approximately what they were like and how they operated.
The first is the 'Shutter Panel Signalling', I have not found any photos or drawings of the British one used. I have a drawing and photos of a larger French device and the same for the small Shutter panel used by the British which fitted to the end of a rifle. From these and descriptions of the British Panel (introduced in 1916, 6ft X 2ft 6in with 6-8 flaps, White with black or Green background. I have done a drawing of a panel of that size with 6 Flaps, each 2ft X 11ins fully open making a white area for signalling of 5ft 6ins X 2ft on a dark background of 6ft X 2ft 6ins.
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The second is the Popham T Panel, this replaced the Shutter Panel during 1918. This was discussed on the Forum some years ago. There appears (so far) only two photos of this device, that shows the same panel being used by American Troops, as yet there appear to be no photos of the British using them. However, the available photos do not appear to match, totally, the drawings (not to scale) of the panel that appear in the operating instructions of the period. Working on the information available I have come up with a panel 10ft X 12ft 6ins. The white 'T' is 7 ft horizontal by 8 ft vertical, the cloth being 1 ft wide. The 'numbered' arms that form the actual code when uncovered are smaller (1 to 5) at 1ft X 2ft 6ins, while the lower horizontal arms (6 to 9) are 1ft X 3ft. A difference in size can be seen on both the photos and drawings. The flaps that cover them would have to be slightly bigger to cover the white areas and be secured by buttons both in the open and closed position.
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We should remember that many of these panels would have been 'locally' produced and there may have been some variation in detail. However, if anyone has any more information on the 'overall size' of these panels (There are some documents detailling the peg attachments and size of stencilled numbers on the T Panel)I would be most interested to hear from you. Any other comments are also welcome.
The Popham 'T' Panel was replaced with another 'T' panel during the inter-war period, for that I have the measurements as they are in an AP, but the Popham and Shutter Panel details have not yet turned up, despite the documents I have gone through in TNA.