Library, research and archive services
The Museum is an excellent place to find out about the general history of The Royal Corps of Signals and its antecedents – The Royal Engineers. We have a comprehensive Archive and Library specifically about The Royal Signals and the history of Army signalling.
In addition to individual research and archive requests, we can assist with academic research, press and media requirements – including those for TV, documentaries and other specialist needs.
Formed in 1967 the archival collection contains wide-ranging material that pre-dates the formation of ‘C’ Telegraph Troop, Royal Engineers in 1870, through to present day. Please note, The Museum does not ordinarily keep records of service of soldiers and officers. It is therefore unlikely that we can assist in research concerning the personal records of individuals. However, where material relating to service has been donated by an individual, this forms part of the archive and is available for research purposes.
In support of the research and archive service there is an extensive Museum library which contains approximately 2,000 volumes.
These include books that cover:
- The main aspects of military history since the Napoleonic War;
- specialised works on the history of military communications;
- scientific and technical aspects of communicating;
- detailed information about specific equipment;
- published autobiographies of members of The Corps;
- published histories of individual Royal Signals units;
- magazines produced by Royal Signals units, Commonwealth Signals units, and by military societies and civilian groups with an interest in military communications.
In addition to the documentary collection, The Museum has a large number of photographs – many are in digital format. The photographic collection contains:
- historic photographs portraying all aspects of the life of The Corps and its antecedents from the Crimean War to modern day;
- photographs from units which show them at work and at play;
- major items of signalling equipment used by the British Army since early days;
- a collection of historic training films and videos of the Corps;
- a collection of personal oral history recordings.
This material is available to the public, subject to normal Public Record restrictions. Fees and Costs apply.
Accessing the archives
This is a charged for service and access to the archives is strictly by appointment.
The service is open from Tuesday – Thursday, 10am to 4pm
all year except for Bank Holidays and the two weeks encompassing Christmas and the New Year (but a prior appointment is essential).
All research enquiries MUST be submitted in writing (email is fine). Please include full contact details including telephone number and e-mail where relevant.
It is regretted that the Museum cannot accept research enquiries by telephone.
A small charge of £7.50 is made for use of the archive, this fee includes access to the Museum but does not include other archive services, which are charged separately. Please note that you will be directed elsewhere for research concerning the Personal Records of individual Officers and Soldiers. The Greenwood Room in The Museum is set aside for archive reading.
For full details of the research service, including contact and payment details please click here to download a copy of General_Enquiries_Research.pdf
Contacting the museum
Regrettably, as a Museum with limited resources, we cannot answer telephone enquiries pertaining to the archive, library or research facilities. Initial contact should be in writing or by e-mail. Please include all your contact details and as much information about your query as possible. Once you have made contact the person assigned to answer your query may well get in touch via telephone or e-mail to provide you with the most efficient service possible.
We operate a written research service for which there is an expected minimum donation of £10. You should enclose a cheque with your enquiry, made payable to The Royal Signals Museum. Due to the work involved, this donation is required in advance, regardless of result and, if applicable please sign and return The Gift Aid form with your enquiry – (download here: Gift Aid form). Should you wish to avail yourself of this service please submit your enquiry by post to: The Head of Research, Royal Signals Museum Blandford Camp Blandford Forum Dorset DT11 8RH firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful sites for research
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Enquiries Section, 2 Marlow Road Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 7DX. Keep records relating to those who died in active service in the two World Wars. www.cwgc.org
Veterans Agency (formerly the War Pensions Agency). Tel 01253 333737 www.veteransagency.mod.uk
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ. Tel 0207 416 5320 www.iwm.org.uk
National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HT. Tel 0207 730 0717 www.nam.ac.uk
Service records of deceased persons