MLU FORUM  

Go Back   MLU FORUM > GENERAL WW2 TOPICS > The Wireless Forum

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-09-16, 00:30
Bruce Parker Bruce Parker is offline
GM Fox I
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,539
Default Wireless of the Week - week 29

This week is about as wireless as it gets. Flags have been used for millennia for signals and, with the development of patterns and Morse code to indicate letters and numbers, flag signalling evolved to a point where entire messages could be transmitted. Originally used with mechanical arms between fixed stations in the late 1700’s, and rendered obsolete with electric telegraphs by the mid 19th century, the army continued its use because as long as there was a signaler to send and another to receive, it was an economical and practical line of sight communications system requiring no specialized equipment or batteries. Its range was only limited by the strength of the receiver’s telescope, however its limitations were that it could be intercepted by an observant enemy and standing in a conspicuous place waving flags about on a battlefield could often prove fatal.

Army signalling flags were so prevalent in the early 20th century that when the Canadian Signal Corps was formed they were emblazoned on the uniform collar insignia. Regulation flag sizes were 3 ft. square with a 5 ft. 6 in. pole, or 2 ft. square with a 3 ft. 6 in. pole. Both sizes came in white with a horizontal blue stripe or dark blue (later with a white stripe) and used to provide contrast depending on whether you were signalling against a light or dark background.

There were two methods of signalling. First, semaphore signalling required two flags. There were eight 8 positions around the signaler’s body and each letter had a unique position. Numbers used the same positions and whether a flag position was a letter or a number was determined by a unique alpha or numeric sign before the subsequent letters or numbers were sent. The second method of flag signalling required only one flag. The signaler was ‘ready’ with the flag held over his left shoulder. A morse ‘dot’ was sent by waving the flag 45 degrees over his right shoulder for the length of a dot and then returned to his left. A ‘dash’ was accomplished by waving the flag horizontally to the signaler’s right for the longer length of a dash and again returned to the ready. This method had a potentially longer range than traditional semaphore letters as the single flag and only two positions was more easily distinguished at a distance, however it took significantly longer to ‘wave’ out a message.

As in all morse signalling, combinations of letters understood by both the sender and receiver were used to replace long phrases that were regularly used in messages. For instance “CQ” is an abbreviation for “All Stations” and “NN” is “Nothing more coming” at the end of a message.

The signal flags shown here are Canadian produced most likely during the First World War. The signalling pam dates from 1915 before the army produced all of its own. As a civilian product, its first and last pages have advertising for things a soldier might need...shaving cream, boot polish and saddle soap.
Attached Thumbnails
1.jpg   2.jpg   3.jpg   4.jpg   5.jpg  


Last edited by Bruce Parker; 02-09-16 at 02:45.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-09-16, 02:36
Ed Storey Ed Storey is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 1,311
Default Signals Manuals

Here are some early Army titles that predate 1915.

Signalling Instructions, 1896
Signal Regulations, 1904 - Semaphore Signalling
Signalling Training Manual, 1907
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-09-16, 17:30
Chris Suslowicz Chris Suslowicz is offline
Junior Password Gnome
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: England
Posts: 791
Default

Yes, the "Imperial Army Series" of manuals must have been a nice little earner for somebody. I haven't actually compared them with the 'official' manuals, but they are extremely similar in content (probably just enough differences to avoid official notice).

There are some very early official manuals about, I've got Signalling Regulations 1904 and its Indian Army counterpart, plus various copies of the Signalling Training 1907, 1909, 1911 and 1914. There's also a thinner book "Signalling Training Part II" which appears to be a cut-down version for the Territorial and volunteer forces in the UK.

They'll get scanned at some point, but are rather fiddly to do because of the small size (and hence the need for high resolution scanning) requiring them to be done by hand.

The late/post WW1 manual set (1917 - 1920) were all "Signal Training Part (number)" and I'm trying to complete my set. Some are quite common (Part I), others very much the reverse (Part IV - Instruments) and I've never seen Part III or Part V for sale anywhere. (I was outbid on the Instruments one, some years ago.)

The name changed again around 1923 to "Signal Training Volume (number)", sometimes divided into 'parts', and with Volume III as a series of pamphlets because a single volume would be permanently out of date as more equipment came into use. The Volume III pamphlets appear to have ceased being numbered after the WS18 pair, and then they switched to "Working Instructions" and reference cards shortly afterwards.

Chris.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-09-16, 02:32
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
Fan of Lord Nuffield
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Posts: 4,827
Default adverts

The adverts in those publications

I had a 1912 book describing various weapons, an advert inside the front cover for a light machine gun read

"Ideal for putting down native rebellions"
__________________
1940 cab 11 C8
1940 Morris-Commercial PU
1941 Morris-Commercial CS8
1940 Chev. 15cwt GS Van ( Aust.)
1942-45 Jeep salad
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-09-16, 04:15
Bruce Parker Bruce Parker is offline
GM Fox I
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,539
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kelly View Post
The adverts in those publications

I had a 1912 book describing various weapons, an advert inside the front cover for a light machine gun read

"Ideal for putting down native rebellions"
Terrific!! You post a scan of that and I'll post the one for saddle soap.

Along with adds, the 'private purchase' manuals from the First World War period usually include a section at the start titled 'experiences from the front'.

This is a topic we should explore further.

Last edited by Bruce Parker; 03-09-16 at 23:19.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wireless of the Week - week 13 Bruce Parker The Wireless Forum 8 01-05-18 22:33
Wireless of the Week - week 19 Bruce Parker The Wireless Forum 6 15-08-16 10:48
Wireless of the Week - week 14 Bruce Parker The Wireless Forum 1 20-05-16 01:48
Wireless of the Week - week 12 Bruce Parker The Wireless Forum 0 06-05-16 00:53
Wireless of the Week - week 8 Bruce Parker The Wireless Forum 5 09-04-16 23:24


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 10:25.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © Maple Leaf Up, 2003-2016