Branch/Corps Trivia


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Dear C&E Association Members,

I have had a few comments about the name of our Newsbrief – The Despatch.  I have been advised a few times that I have misspelled the word despatch and that it in fact should be dispatch.  As most dictionaries will state both spellings are correct though dispatch is now mostly favoured except in the UK and possibly Australia.  Then why am I using the alternative spelling?  The reason is mostly based our Branch/Corps tradition.  I fully acknowledge that using antiquated terminology is not always proper and appropriate in this day and age.  But I viewed revitalizing one of our traditions as an appropriate way of recognizing one aspect of our incredible heritage and legacy.  So with that rationale and using the Standing Orders for the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals as my guide I referred to pages 26-27 that describes SIGNAL TERMINOLOGY.   And I offer the following extract…


3.84  The word ‘Signaller’ denotes a member of a corps other than RC SIGS, of that trade or specialty (e.g. Signaller RCA, Gunner-Signaller).  Conversely, a Signalman denotes only a member of RC Sigs of that rank.

3.85  Generally speaking, ‘Signals’ is used as a noun and ‘Signal’ as an adjective.  The following examples illustrate the application of this principle:

a.Signal (Adjective)

Signal Officer

Signal Centre

Signal Communications

Signal Instruction

Signal Diagram

Signal Regiment

Signal Security

US Signal Corps

b.Signals (Noun)

The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals

The Royal Canadian School of Signals

“Send it to Signals”

“Signals will take care of it”


The Canadian Signals Association

Signals Welfare Incorporated

Signals Despatch Service

3.86  The use of the slang abbreviation ‘sigs’ is not looked upon with favour.

Despatch Rider

3.87  The phrase ‘Despatch Rider’ denotes only a member of RC SIGS of that former trade. A member of any other corps whose trade or specialty consists of the operation of a motorcycle is a motorcyclist. For the sake of uniformity, the spelling despatch (rather than dispatch) is considered correct in the Canadian Army. [Bold and Italics added by author]

Best regards,
Kevin O’Keefe


C&E Association

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6 years ago

Got a link to those standing orders?

6 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy


Thanks for you comment. The Standing Orders I have is an old original copy of the RCCS Standing Orders. I do not have a digital version that I could provide you.