A rose by any other name would be just as sweet. A Corps by any other name would be Royal. We use names to shape behaviour, like Greenland and Iceland and patronymic names signify lineage. We use names to signify a connection, and for the Canadian Corps of Signallers, that connection is to the British Royal Family.
On 21 June 1921 the Canadian Corps of Signals received it’s Royal designation and became officially dedicated as the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and it has been named so for an astounding 102 years!
Naming our Signals Corps begins during the Boer War on the 24th of October, 1903. In the beginning, we were officially organized as a Non-Permanent Active Militia on 24 October 1903 under then Captain Bruce Carruthers. Based on his experiences in the Boer War, the Canadian Signalling Corps (Militia) was the first organized Signal Service in the entire Commonwealth.
During WWI, Canada became less of a commonwealth colony and proved itself an independent nation, earning this prestige after such hellish traumas like the Somme and the Canadian Corps of Signaller’s own seminal action during Vimy Ridge. Several years after Armistice, on 15 June 1921, King George V, the Canadian monarch, bestowed title The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.
The Impact on the Corps:
Receiving Royal from King George V patronage to become “Royal Canadian Corps of Signals” carried great significance for the unit. It symbolized recognition and honor, highlighting the corps’ exceptional service and dedication. The name change affirmed the corps’ place among the elite military units of the Canadian Armed Forces and strengthened its identity as a specialized branch responsible for communication and information management.
Receiving Royal patronage left a lasting legacy that continues to resonate within the RCCS today. The name change solidified the corps’ identity, ensuring its place in the annals of Canadian military history. It became a badge of honor for past, present, and future members, instilling a sense of tradition, heritage, and responsibility.
The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals proudly carries the Royal legacy forward, constantly adapting to advancements in communication technologies and evolving operational requirements. The name serves as a constant reminder of the corps’ commitment to excellence and its significant role in facilitating successful military operations.
The RCCS continues to uphold the name with pride, ensuring effective communication remains at the heart of their mission.
Her Royal Highness Princess Anne visited Moncton, New Brunswick in May 2023 to celebrate the 8th Canadian Hussars’ 175th anniversary. Princess Anne has served as the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief since 1972. Her Royal Highness is Colonel-in-Chief of seven Canadian military regiments and patron of numerous Canadian charities and organizations. Among them, our very own Communications and Electronics Branch.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, appointed, HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Communications and Electronics (C&E) Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces on June 11, 1977 during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and has held the position for the subsequent 46 years!
With a half-century of service and dedication, HRH Princess Anne has had historical significance, and enduring impact through her association with this vital military branch.
HRH Princess Anne is the second of two Colonel-in-Chiefs of the Communications and Electronics Branch.
Our first Colonel-in-Chief was Her Royal Highness, Mary, The Princess Royal, CI, GCVO, GBE, RRC, TD, CD, DCL, LLD, served as the first Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals from her appointment on 29 May 1940 until her death on 15 March 1965.
Noticeably, for twelve years between March 1965 and June 1977 the C&E Branch did not have an official Colonel-in-Chief, until, June 11, 1977 when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II appointed HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal as our Colonel-in-Chief where she has served ever since.
As Colonel in Chief, Princess Anne assumed a symbolic leadership role, representing the C&E Branch and its personnel. Her presence and involvement in events, Royal Tours like her 2013 visit to Kingston, Ontario to mark the 110th anniversary of military communications, and establishment of awards like the Colonel-in-Chief Branch Commendation demonstrated her commitment to the Branch’s mission.
Princess Anne’s appointment had a lasting impact on the C&E Branch and the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole. Her association with the Branch brought increased visibility and prestige, raising awareness about the critical role of communication and electronic operations.
Endorsement of C&E Branch historical projects like the Semaphore to Satellite: A story of Canadian Military Communications from 1903-2013 available online at the Mercury Shop. The Princess Anne Suite at the Vimy Officer’s Mess and on Princess Royal are named in her honour.
NDHQ/DHIST is collecting personal reminisces on the Canadian Army’s long stay in Cyprus.
Please find below the link to the story of how it came to be that two HF Radio Teletype (HF RTT) Detachments, complete with three-man crews, were airlifted from 73 Canadian Signal Squadron in Egypt (UNEF-2) to Cyprus in late July 1974 by RCAF Hercules aircraft from Lahr, Germany when the 1st Commando Group, an infantry battalion sized unit of the Canadian Airborne Regiment serving in UNFICYP, lost its secure telegraph links to Lahr and Ottawa because of actions taken by the Greek-Cypriot coup to ouster President (Archbishop) Makarios.
It was an interesting few days in Nicosia, Ottawa and Cairo; I hope the story is an interesting read as well.
LCol Mac Sauvage, CD, RCCS (Retired)
To read the full story, please follow the link: 73 Sigs Assistance to CAB July 1974
Our traditions and heritage can be traced back to the founding of the Canadian Signalling Corps in 1903. Our members have served in every corner of the globe and here at home in Canada. As highlighted in our recently published history – Semaphore to Satellite – our Branch/Corps have been leaders in technology innovation and the employment of new and advanced technology throughout our history while addressing the critical command and control requirements of our military. This section will represent our heritage with stories of our men and women who so gallantly served our country with dedication and courage.
Here is an example of what we may include in this section. This is the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Italy, our Royal Canadian Corps of Signals was fully integrated into the invasion plans with 1 Div Sigs providing the communication support for MGen G.G. Simmonds and his 1st Canadian Division who were leading the Canadian contingent as part of the British 8th Army. The photo included here shows a RCCS Lieutenant operating a 22 set somewhere in Italy.
On 20 October 1978 HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal made her first visit to the Communications and Electronics Branch after her appointment as our Colonel in Chief. Attached are some of the photos memories of that visit.
Photo credits: Peter Sheremeta
On 10 July, the commemoration of OP HUSKY was held in Belleville by the 1 Inf Bde regiments that landed at Pachino, Sicily 76 years ago – The Royal Canadian Regiment, The Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment and The 48th Highlanders.
A proud contingent attended from the Joint Signal Regiment to honour the Regiment’s history as 1 Canadian Division Signals. Regrettably, Mr. Martin, Signals veteran from the Italian campaign was unable to attend.
The JSR contingent fell-in, quite smartly, with staff from HQ 1 Cdn Div to form a combined ‘Div HQ and Sig Regt’ troop for the ceremony; very fitting given divisional staff and signals were the first casualties of OP HUSKY, when a torpedo struck MV Devis, and provided C2 for MGen Guy Simonds during the campaign.
BZ to LCol Todd Anstey and the 1 Cdn Div HQ staff, and Capt Joe Sager and the JSR signallers!
2018 marks the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice on 27 July 1953. Members of the Royal Canadian Signals had a large presence in Korea during the war with the main units being the 25 Canadian Infantry Brigade Signal Squadron and the 2nd Field Regiment RCHA Signal Troop. The following text is taken from The History of The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals…’Wireless communications in Korea had proven very satisfactory, contrary to earlier fears. Hilly and mountainous though the country was, with distances between units and formations considerably greater than normally encountered, wireless contact had been continuous and signal strengths good. Operators’ knowledge of radio wave propagation and the use of aerials had contributed largely to this success….For normal brigade communications the workhorse radio of the Second World War, the No. 19 set, had been found reliable as ever and a No. 52 set link had kept the brigade in touch with the Canadian base in Hiro, Japan.’
The photo at right shows Royal Canadian Corps of Signals signalmen operating wireless sets in an old Korean house. Left, Normand Beddard and right, Walter Buccos. The radio is a WS No. 19, the telephone on the right is a Telephone set F. To the left of the telephone is a Fullerphone. [Thanks to Joe Costello for his keen eye and Signal knowledge].
Thank you to all our Korean War veterans and specifically our Signal personnel who served so courageously and bravely in this very complex and challenging theatre of war.VVV
Photo Credit: Library and Archives Canada
On 3 November 1945, the Burgomaster of Antwerp presented 1 Army Signals a bronze statuette of ‘Jimmy’, which today occupies a place of honour in the Vimy Officers’ Mess.
Signal Officer working the net – Nov 1944
Cable repair in Holland 1945
Line Crew in Holland 1945