On This Day…

On the 29th September 1923 Britain’s mandate from the League of Nations to govern Palestine began.

The mandate to govern was followed by 16 years of almost continuous conflict.

Royal Signals in Palestine

For most of the 1920s the Royal Signals presence comprised the Palestine Signal Section and No 2 Wireless Company, the latter conducting wireless intercept operations in the region. As trouble escalated through the late 1920s, the British Army presence increased, rising to two divisions of two brigades by the late-1930s. The Royal Signals contribution comprised Palestine Command Signals, the divisional signals and the brigade signal sections.

During the period of violence in the 1930s, Royal Signals soldiers earned two Medals of the Order of the British Empire and two MMs for bravery during attacks by Arab gangs. The vital capability provided by these men and their wireless sets is illustrated by an extract from the citation for Sig Thomas Barr, who by getting his radio into action under very heavy fire ‘saved his patrol from very heavy losses’.

Britain’s international obligations in Palestine continued until 1948. After WW2, as the pressure to create a Jewish homeland grew, the situation became increasingly dangerous. Both the Palestinians and the Jews could claim with justification that the British had promised the land to them and as vast numbers of unauthorised Jewish immigrants headed to Palestine the situation became more and more violent.

As well as providing normal military communications, the Corps provided communications for those engaged in stopping ships trying to land illegal immigrants. The Corps also disrupted civilian communications at critical times by occupying civil telephone exchanges and interfering with the circuits. From the declaration of the state of emergency on 27 September 1945 until the withdrawal of British troops in June 1948, the Corps lost 24 soldiers to terrorist action and a further 27 to other causes such as accidents and disease. Many more were wounded.

Roger So Far

The Corps Centenary book ‘Roger So Far” celebrates many of the Corps’ achievements during its first 100 years.

This hardback, illustrated coffee table book is packed full of stories about people, units and events in the context of campaigns, technologies and equipment. RRP £30 with discounts for Regular, Reserve and Retired Corps members.

Buy now from the Royal Signals Museum Shop