56 Div (City of London Signals) OCA
The Regiment originated in 1861 as the Tower Hamlets (East London Engineer Corps Volunteers).
In the army reorganization of 1908, the Volunteer unit became 1st London Divisional Engineers, Territorial Force with two field companies and one telegraph company. In 1911 the latter was redesignated 1st London Divisional Signal Company. After the outbreak of the First World War the 1st London Division was broken up to provide artillery and infantry contingents for other formations. The Divisional Signal Company, less its brigade sections, was then allotted to the 29th Division, with which it served in Galllipoli and later on the Western Front. A second line company was raised for the 58th (2/1st London) Division, but when the 56th (1/1st London) Division was reformed in France in 1916, the company was transferred to it. At the end of the war all these units were disbanded.
In 1920 the original signal company was reformed and in 1921 became 56th (1st London) Divisional Signals TA. The HQ was at Atkins Road, Balham – and was to remain so for the next forty years. In 1935 when the 56th Division merged with the 47th (2nd London) Division, the unit title changed to London Divisional Signals (City of London Signals) TA. Also in 1935 and as a spur to recruiting the unit raised a Despatch Rider Display Team. Most of the motor cycles were owned personally by team members as this was a condition of enlistment. The team was soon earning plaudits for its displays and in 1937 it replaced the Royal Signals Display Team at the Royal Tournament – a unique honour for a TA unit. Also in 1937, the unit title changed again, this time to 1st (London) Motor Divisional Signals TA. In 1939, with the expansion of the TA, it raised a duplicate unit, the 2nd (London) Motor Divisional Signals TA.
Later in 1939 the original unit raised the London Area Signal Company, which in 1940 was expanded into London District Signals. In 1940 1st (London) Motor Division Signals was renamed 56th (London) Divisional Signals. In 1943 it accompanied its division to the Mediterranean and until the end of the war was continually engaged in Italy.
16 May 1946
A general meeting was held at 88 Eccleston Square, London, chaired by Brig A C C Willway at which the idea of an OCA was discussed. The OCA would be formed for the purposes of re-unions and social functions to be held at Signal House, Atkins Road, Clapham Park and present serving or ex-member of 56 Div Signals would be eligible for membership.
25 September 1946
Inaugural meeting at Signal House at which it was decided that the OCA be called “City of London Signals OCA”.
14 October 1983
56 Division OCA Branch and City of London Signals OCA combined and the inaugural meeting of the “56 Division and City of London Signals OCA” held.
3 December 1986
Name changed to “56 Division (City of London Signals) OCA Branch” when the OCA became affiliated to the Royal Signals Association.
The OCA has maintained its links with the Regiment throughout all the reorganisations, the more important change being the formation of 31st (Greater London) Signal Regiment (V) in 1967 when its link was maintained with 83 (London) Signal Squadron based at Southfields, SW19. Since the demise of 31 Regiment in 2009, these links have been maintained with 831 Troop (see history). The 56 Div (London Signals) Memorial Rolls of Honour, which were hung in the RMR Barracks at Southfields, were moved to a permanent home in the Twyford Room of the Wandsworth Town Hall Civic Centre on 24 October 2014 where they were unveiled by Lord Ashcroft and rededicated by the Rev Jeanes, in the presence of the Mayor, Cllr Stuart Thom.
Costs £7.00 per annum and is open to all ex 56 Divisional Signals personnel and successor units and any other serving or ex-Royal Signals soldier.
President – Maj (Ret’d) Jim Allan
Chairman/Treasurer – Maj (Ret’d) John Robson
Hon Secretary – Mr Steve Bland
Membership Secretary – John “Tommy” Thomas
Contact: Secretary, 222 Wickham Road, Croydon, CR0 8BJ – Tel: 020 8656 9740 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The OCA holds an annual dinner in November each year, usually at the Union Jack Club. Members also join in with the Clapham Branch of the Royal British Legion in a service at St John’s Church, Clapham Common, every Remembrance Sunday (the Church with which 332 Signal Squadron was associated when the unit was based in Atkins Road from 1959 to 1967.
Details of future events can be obtained from the Secretary.
We welcome ideas for any input that members would like to see on this page.
Get in touch
Contacting The Association
Secretary, 222 Wickham Road, Croydon, CR0 8BJ – Tel: 020 8656 9740 – or use the form below