On This Day…

On the 3rd June 1929 & 1930 NCOs honoured for pioneering radio work


On this day in 1929 Warrant Officer Class II (Quartermaster Serjeant) (Foreman of Signals) Cecil Stephen Roberts was awarded an MBE and exactly a year later on 3 June 1930 Company Quartermaster Serjeant (Foreman of Signals) Charles William Goodridge was awarded a British Empire Medal. Both were for the manufacture of radios and antennae, and the development of shortwave (HF) radio transmission techniques pioneered by China Command Signals.

Responding to need

The work was born of necessity because of the shortage of useful equipment, the long distances between the Chinese detachments at Tientsin (now Tianjin), Shanghai and Hong Kong and the unusual ‘skip’ effects experienced in winter. The capability that they developed came into its own during the early years of the Chinese Civil War when military (and, indeed, press) traffic greatly increased. Foreman of Signals Roberts wrote extensively in The Wire of the work undertaken.

Twice decorated

Interestingly, both men had been decorated previously—Goodridge had earned a Military Medal in the First World War and Roberts was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for Valuable Services while with the North Russian Expeditionary Force in 1919.


Foreman of Signals

Foreman of Signals have existed since the formation of the Royal Corps of Signals in 1920 and may have existed previously in the Royal Engineers Signal Service as an appropriate replacement within the Signal Service for the Royal Engineers’ appointment of Foreman of Works. Until 1962 The Foreman of Signals was the only supervisory tradesman in the Corps holding the rank of Staff Sergeant on first appointment. In a regular working unit the Foreman of Signals is the unit communications engineering specialist and ensures that all unit capabilities are fully serviceable and held at the correct readiness for operations. The Foreman ensures that future plans are within the capabilities of the equipment available and gives engineering advice to the commander.