19th Signal Regiment
This website is dedicated to all members of 19 Signal Regiment who served in the Far East from as early as 1944 until it was disbanded in 1971
Of interest to our viewers
Wondering what happened to your former colleagues and friends?
Please visit the RSA members page on Facebook or the “Lost Contact” page on this website to find out how to trace buddies and mates. Not on Facebook? The RSA can help.
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Your input to the website is more than welcome. We are keen to hear from anyone who has served with the Regiment or alternatively from family, friends or colleagues of those who have served. We are particularly interested in receiving pictures, anecdotes and any information regarding service, troop formation, individual jobs etc.
19 Signal Regiment
Although the term Air Formation Signals (AFS) was not coined until March 1938 and was discontinued in late 1968 the concept of Army Signal units providing ground communications for Air Force formations started in October 1917 and continued well into the 21st century.
19th Air Formation Signals (19 AFS) started to form in North Yorkshire on October 17th, 1943. Unlike Nos 11 – 18 AFS which were forming at the same time to support Operation Overlord, 19 AFS was destined to go to the Far East to re-inforce the seven Indian AFS units already serving there
After moving temporarily to Hill Hall Camp, near Epping, in Essex the unit departed for India in October 1944 and started operations in the Comilla, Imphal and Chittagong area in early 1945. In mid-May the unit had moved to Rangoon and in July 1946 the bulk of the unit moved to Elim Camp, a temporary camp near RAF Changi, in Singapore. 1 Company remained behind for a while in Rangoon. Thereafter detachments from the unit were to be found on every RAF airfield within the Far East from Japan to Celebes and from Ceylon to Hong Kong.
Elim camp was far from satisfactory and, at the end of 1948 the unit moved into RAF Changi proper where it remained until November 15th, 1971 when the unit formally disbanded.
Until 1946 most Royal Signals units were organised on infantry lines – Battalion strength units, commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, were divided into Companies commanded by Majors and further divided into Sections of various strengths commanded by any rank from Sergeant to Captain as appropriate. In 1946 all Royal Signals units adopted cavalry nomenclature, Battalions became Regiments, Companies became Squadrons and Sections became Troops. On November 8th, 1946, 19 Air Formation Signals was re-named 19th Air Formation Signal Regiment to reflect this change.
The building blocks of Air Formation, and other units with similar roles, was the Section (Sect) – later the Troop (Tp). Some sections could approach 100 strong. In 19 Air Formation Signals (19 AFS) the types of section were:
Dispatch Rider Sections
(DR Sect) who carried messages and small packages by motorcycle or small vehicles (notably Jeeps)
(Line Sect) who laid short distance, lightweight, field cables to connect, for example, telephone instruments to switchboards within an airfield or other establishment.
(Constr. Sect) equipped to lay cable routes between airfields and other establishments.
UG Cable Sections
(UG Sect) specialised in laying underground, multi-core cables, usually lead covered, within and between establishments.
Line Maintenance Sections
(LM Sect) maintained, tested and repaired the lines laid by the Construction Sections.
Terminal Equipment Sections
(TE Sect) installed and maintained telephones, telephone switchboards and exchanges, teleprinter and other telegraph terminal equipments.
Telegraph Operating Sections
(Tele Op Sect) operated telegraph terminal equipments and sent and received telegraph messages. and sent and received telegraph messages.
Technical Maintenance Sections
(TM Sect) maintained all technical equipments used in the unit except vehicles.
Wing Signal Sections
(WSS, later WST). Completely self sufficient unit with a mix of tradesmen in small numbers capable of carrying out all of the tasks above.
There is no mention of either telephone exchange operating sections (because the RAF provided switchboard operators) or of radio sections as Air Formation Signal units rarely had a radio commitment, all radio equipments being installed and operated by RAF tradesmen. This changed from August 1968 when, under a world-wide inter-service rationalisation agreement, Royal Signals took over from the RAF responsibility for operation of the ground-ground multi-channel radio networks in all overseas commands. As a result of this the 120 airmen of No 2 Signal Unit, RAF, which provided these facilities, were gradually replaced by Royal Signals tradesmen and, when half of these posts had been transferred, the unit became Microwave Troop (M/Wave Tp) of 1 Squadron,19th Signal Regiment.
About The Association
The Association is designed so that all ex members of the Regiment, plus their friends and relatives have full membership.
For membership details please contact the Association membership secretary
Mr F D Isaacs
Flat 1 Eden Court
37 West Cliff Road
Dorset. BH4 8AZ
Tel 01202 766056
Reunions take place annually, normally in September. Next year (2017) our reunion will once again be held at the Warwick Hilton on the second weekend in September. For further details go to our reunion page.
Get in touch
We see many references to the Regiment on Facebook and photos. It would be appreciated if we could use your stories and photos on the 19 Signal Regiment webpage. If you have anything to add to the information we hold here, questions to ask, or observations please do get in touch. Dennis Isaacs is the Association membership secretary and can be contacted by telephoning 01202 766056 or complete the contact form below:John Hill is the webmaster and can be contacted on 01480 896444