On This Day…

On the 5th July 1954 The BBC broadcasts its first television news bulletin

Early television news rarely had war correspondents. Rather, they would simply collect footage provided by other sources and the news anchor would then add narration. This footage was often staged as cameras were large and bulky until the introduction of small, portable motion picture cameras during World War Two.


First war correspondent

William Howard Russell who covered the Crimean War for The Times, is acknowledged as the first modern war correspondent. News reports from this era took numerous weeks from being written to being published.

Cooperation from the Army was virtually non existent and the British commander Lord Raglan advised his officers not to speak to Russell. Although telegraph facilities had by this time been established between Crimea and London they were not made available to Russell. Russells’s reports were hugely significant; for the first time the public could read about the reality of warfare. Shocked and outraged, the public’s backlash from his reports led the Government to re-evaluate the treatment of troops.


Kitchener bans reporters from the Front

By the First World War reporting was characterised by rigid censorship. Lord Kitchener hated reporters, and they were banned from the Front at the start of the war. But a few reporters operated secretly near the Front, sending back their reports until they were arrested and returned to the UK with the threat that would be shot if they returned. The Government eventually relented and allowed some accredited reporters in April 1915, and this continued until the end of the war and this allowed the Government to control what the public was told.


WW2 accredited reporters permitted access to Royal Signals kit

In World War Two the BBC created a ‘War Reporting Unit’. It would not be possible for the BBC’s war correspondents to have with them their own transmitters for sending reports back to London – at least, not at first, but new portable ‘midget’ recorders were being developed by BBC engineers which would allow them to make their own recordings in the field. Accredited war correspondents were permitted limited access to Royal Signals wireless, telephone and telegraph circuits overseas when operational priorities permitted.

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