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London Cable Signal Company


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#1 aussienoel

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 10:21 AM

Can anyone point me towards a good description of the activities of a Cable Signal Company, both prewar in the Territorial Force and in the early part of the war?

Any help greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Noel

#2 Smithmaps

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 09:38 PM

QUOTE (aussienoel @ Jul 6 2007, 11:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can anyone point me towards a good description of the activities of a Cable Signal Company, both prewar in the Territorial Force and in the early part of the war?

Any help greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Noel


My web site may give you some information,
http://www.fairmile.....uk/signals.htm
a full explaination can be found in
"The Signal Service France" by R.E. Priestley, though a copy is difficult to find.

Mind you if you finish reading it, you are a better man than me!

Sir R.E. Priestley was an interesting chap, as pre war he was with Shackleton:
http://www.fairmile....k/Priestley.htm
Kind regards
Guy

#3 Hoplophile

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 03:42 AM

The London Cable Signal Company (previously known as the London Cable Telegraph Company) was one of the fifteen "army troops" signals units of the pre-war Territorial Force. These units served to connect the divisions and mounted brigades of the Territorial Force to the higher command structure that, in the event of war, was to coordinate the territorial defense of Great Britain.

As of 1912, the unit had an establishment of 6 officers and 172 men. It was co-located (at 12 Palmer Street, SW) with two other units, the London Wireless Signal Company (4 officers and 70 men) and the London Air Line Signal Company (6 officers and 209 men).

(The other twelve signals units were also grouped by threes. The three Scottish signals companies were stationed in Glasgow, the three Northern companies in Leeds, the three Southern companies in Birmingham and the three Western companies in Liverpool.)

Unfortunately, I've not been able to find out what happened to this units after mobilisation. I presume that they were mobilised according to plan, but don't know if they formed second-line counterparts in the manner of most other Territorial Force units. Similarly, as I have not found any war diaries for units of this class in the catalog at the National Archives, I have a strong suspicion that these units never went overseas as formed bodies.

#4 aussienoel

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 05:35 AM

Many thanks for this information. I'm beginning to get the picture.

My man was, indeed, an electrical engineer, and he went on to found a company that at one stage was fairly large (and I believe still exists).

Given the state of the national telephone system in England at the time, would the signals companies of the TF maintained its own, independednt communication system, or relied on the exisitng national system as it was at the time?

I picked up the following post from Grham Stewart back in 2005:
"At the moment all I can tell you is that the London Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers (Volunteers) were formed on the 18th August 1897 and their original H.Q. was in Victoria Street and the Corps itself consisted of four companies. These companies were made up of men who were in one way or another connnected to the electrical industry, which was in its infancy. So new was electrical engineering that recruitment for the Corps was extended as far away as the Midlands.

In 1900 it moved its H.Q. 46 Regency Street, Westminster, where it would grow to a six-company organisation by 1914. On the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908 it became known as the London Division Electrical Engineers, Royal Engineers (T.F.). As such they were allowed to wear a special 3 tiered metal shoulder title T/RE/LONDON.

Their wartime role was the manning and repair of searchlights on coastal defences and as such they would have covered a wide area. I'll attach some pictures of the types of lights they manned in another post. It was from the London Electrical Engineers and Tyne Electrical Engineers that nearly all Anti-Aircraft Companies, Royal Engineers & Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Sections, Royal Engineers were formed, many of which served in France & Flanders
."

This again would seem to fit my man, because the only medal he received was the Territorial Efficiency Medal in 1914, and there's no MIC for him, meaning he'd quit altogether before WW1 or, much more likely, remained in England.

Graham, if you're still there, would you be propared to send me one or two of your "searchlight" photographs?

Many thanks,

Noel

#5 Hoplophile

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 02:39 PM

QUOTE (aussienoel @ Jul 7 2007, 05:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Given the state of the national telephone system in England at the time, would the signals companies of the TF maintained its own, independent communication system, or relied on the exisitng national system as it was at the time?


Like their counterparts in the pre-war Expeditionary Force, the basic formations of the Territorial Force, whether infantry divisions or mounted brigades, were independent of the sort of army corps that played such a big role in the tactics, logistics and administration of the French and German armies. Nonetheless, in cases where two or more divisions were given a mission that required close cooperation between (or among) them, they were formed into a uniquely British formation known as the 'army (group of two or more divisions)'. As the 'army' had no responsibilities related to logistics or administration, the units of 'army troops' assigned directly to its headquarters were, for the most part, signals units that helped the general officer commanding the 'army' to keep in touch with the divisions and mounted brigades assigned to him.

Each grouping of three Territorial Force signals companies seems to have been intended to provide for the communications needs of one of the five Territorial Force 'armies' that were to be formed in the event of war. Thus, for example, the three companies stationed in Liverpool would provide a cable company, an air line company and a wireless company to the Western Army.

As far as I can tell, these armies were designed to have a somewhat regional character, with initial zones of responsibility that corresponded (at least roughly) with the five 'commands' of the Regular Forces. (The sixth 'command' of the Regular Forces was in Ireland). In the event of a small landing in its zone, the 'army' in place would take charge of operations, making use of its own resources, as well as divisions and/or mounted brigades provided by other 'armies'. If, however, the small landing became a large one, and, as a result, a war of grand manoeuvres began on the island of Great Britain, then some of the 'armies' might become as mobile as the 'armies' of the Expeditionary Force.

Because of the last-named scenario, and the possibility that a hostile army might destroy key parts of the civilian telephone and telegraph system, the signals infrastructure of armies had to be both independent of the civilian system and reasonably mobile. Thus, while I am sure that the forces mobilised for home defence made extensive use of civilian communications systems (after all, you can never get enough bandwitdth ...), and there were points of connection between the Territorial Force system and the civilian system, there was much more to the 'army troops' signals companies than posting men in telephone exchanges and telegraph offices.

#6 Smithmaps

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 08:18 PM

Sorry I neglected to add the link

http://www.fairmile.....uk/signals.htm

Old age!
Guy