My service in Royal Signals, 1939 to 1946.

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Nevil, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Nevil yes you can edit your post, delete the old links and then put in the new ones. Or, you can just put them in a new post; whichever is easiest for you.
     
  2. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    My apologies, folk!

    All my pictures have been deleted. And this is my fault because I assumed that once I had downloaded them to the forum they were there until the cows came home.......so I deleted my pictures from Photobucket thinking they had served their purpose.......hence the mess on the forum.

    I will download everything again and not make the same mistake again. However, I may need some help from Owen eventually in cleaning up the existing entries that show the deletions. I guess I could do this by editing?

    Sorry!

    Nevil.

    Somehow missed this MASSIVE thread first time round. Look forward to seeing the pictures whenever you get sorted, Nevil.
     
  3. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

     
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    You're not the first one to do this Nevil. I tried to 'tidy up' my ImageShack account at one time and it had a similar effect. It made me realise that the reference to a 'missing link' might actually mean me !:unsure:
     
  5. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    To the best of my belief I have now re-posted all the deleted photos. I may have missed the odd one, and I cannot guarantee they are all in the same order as previously....however, I doubt that will worry anyone!

    At least I now know not to delete my files from Photobucket!

    Nevil.
     
  6. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    Nevil
    I've removed your email details because of potential spam.

    By clicking on your username anyone can use the drop down menu to opt for email contact, since you have left that option enabled. They won't see your address unless you reply directly to them via email. I'll forward Andy your email address in a PM.

    Thanks, Diane. Actually all the pictures have now been reposted so I won't need Andy's kind offer.

    Nevil.
     
  7. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    You're not the first one to do this Nevil. I tried to 'tidy up' my ImageShack account at one time and it had a similar effect. It made me realise that the reference to a 'missing link' might actually mean me !:

    I know the feeling too well, Rich!

    I have been away over Easter but the subject of pictures has been somewhat on my mind. The necessity of reassembling them in somewhat the same order as before seemed daunting. \However, it took me less time than I thought and I posted the last one about an hour ago.

    Nevil.
     
  8. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Nevil, I have just caught up with your thread. Thank you for sharing your collection and your recollections with us. Absolutely wonderful.
    (and may I offer a thank you for your service, and a belated welcome from NZ)
    Wendy
     
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Nice to see the pics back up.
    Looking at those pre-war ones, makes wonder what happened to those lads over the next 10 years.
     
  11. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    Nevil thank you so much for the account. It's thankfully clear given your actions later that the trip and the introduction to HJ was thankfully more than a bit counterproductive. Did you receive any acknowledgement from the authorities at the time when you sent your photos. I find that kind of public appeal fascinating. I wonder just how many could have actually been in the same position as yourself or my old boss, to contribute, given that travel experience wasn't as widespread as it is now. Every photo must have counted.


    Please do tell us anything you can remember of Bletchley.


    Diane

    There was no acknowledgement, Diane. In fact they made it clear at the outset that no such would be issued.

    Regarding Bletchley Park:

    I am not sure I will be much help to you but I will try.

    At Bletchley Park there was a Signals Office (in a hut) as was normal for any communications centre. So from there the Despatch Riders had set routes that went round what they called outstations, of which there were many and widely dispersed, mainly in and around the South but also some quite far north ( I can recall one in Derbyshire for example). taking and returning with despatches.

    Another route was from the park to various London addresses, including the Cabinet War Room, the War Office, and the Admiralty. but there were many others, in and around London and in fact widely spread around the south of the country generally, most names and addresses of which I no longer recall. I recall one busy route was from a number of outstations to Higher Barnet in North London but I am no longer clear as to the purpose or the connection with BP. Another outstation was at a place called I think Beaumont House near Leicester.

    There were also numerous occasions when a DR would be sent directly from the park to a specific address with a despatch, especially to the principal London addresses but these would be in the minority when I was there in 1941 as most mail went via the set routes.

    The volume of mail was very high, and the routes very frequent, much more than one was used to in an Army or Corps Signals unit.

    There had been an air raid on BP some months before I got there but there was little obvious damage. I don't know why it was not an obvious target as it must have looked like a military HQ of some sort from the air, with its many huts on the grounds and around.

    I have difficulty describing the atmosphere there. Of course we knew it was a cipher training centre but with so many civilians working there we realised that something else was involved. We assumed that there was interception of enemy signals (many outstations had antenna groups either at the site or nearby although I do not recall any actually at BP) and that accounted for the top secret classification that had been impressed on us when we got there. However, I can say that I had no idea of the work with Enigma, Ultra, etc., and I only learned of that many years after the war when I was in England on vacation, sometime in the 1980s, and read details of the actual work at BP that had just then been made public.

    Sorry it is a bit sketchy but I was there only about three months and it was a long time ago!

    Nevil.
     
  12. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    Nevil, I have just caught up with your thread. Thank you for sharing your collection and your recollections with us. Absolutely wonderful.
    (and may I offer a thank you for your service, and a belated welcome from NZ)
    Wendy

    Thanks, Wendy. I was a little nervous about posting the pictures etc in this forum because mine was a much less traumatic war than so many. So it was pleasantly gratifying to have them received well.

    My late wife and I considered emigrating to NZ some years after WW2 but you were not receiving anyone at that time (full up perhaps?) so we finished up in Canada, which turned out well!

    Nevil.
     
  13. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    Nice to see the pics back up.
    Looking at those pre-war ones, makes wonder what happened to those lads over the next 10 years.

    Good question, Owen. One has to remember that no boy or girl in Germany in 1936 would have dared to refuse service in the Hitler Youth or the BDM because of the inevitable consequences for themselves and their parents. So one got a good mix of the fervent pro-Hitler fanatics and those who had to be there and had to show enthusiasm, whatever they might think privately.....and every grade in between. For example, in these pictures:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In the top photo, Hans on the extreme left wanted to become a teacher and asked many times about opportunities to travel and teach in the UK. He seemed a very nice guy.

    In the bottom photo, second from the right is a guy we nicknamed 'Bully' and I cannot recall his real name. He was dead set on joining the SS preferably in an Armoured Division and I can easily imagine him in that position because he drove the other HY pretty mercilously.

    I currently have a good friend here in Canada who was a 16 year old in the Hitler Youth in 1945. He was co-opted into the defence of Berlin at the time the Soviet forces were at the gates of the city. He has told me many times that all they wanted at that stage was to be taken prisoner by the British or Americans. He finished up as a POW in Russia, was eventually set free several years later, and made to walk many hundreds of miles back to Germany.

    Nevil.
     
  14. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

     
  15. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    Somehow missed this MASSIVE thread first time round. Look forward to seeing the pictures whenever you get sorted, Nevil.

    Thanks! Now I have reposted, hope you find the pictures of interest.

    I notice you show what I take to be a Vulcan bomber. I used to live in Heald Green,, Cheshire, and I vividly recall the first time a Vulcan came over the house from its nearby airfield, at what seemed rooftop height. The noise and vibration were huge and my neighbour's two cats left home at high speed and were never seen again by them!

    Nevil.
     
  16. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Thanks, Wendy. I was a little nervous about posting the pictures etc in this forum because mine was a much less traumatic war than so many. So it was pleasantly gratifying to have them received well.

    My late wife and I considered emigrating to NZ some years after WW2 but you were not receiving anyone at that time (full up perhaps?) so we finished up in Canada, which turned out well!

    Nevil.

    Nevil war is traumatic for everyone, and everyone who serves their country to make this world a better place deserves more than a mere thank you or medal. Your pictures and memories are wonderful and we thank you for taking the time to share and post them.

    You would be more than welcome over here now, but I think Tim, Tom and Randy might have something to say if we tried to take you out of Canada! :)

    Wendy
     
  17. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    In October of 1941, after serving in War Office Signals and at Bletchley Park, I was posted as L/Sergeant of #7 DR Section to 2 Corps Signals, the C.O. of which was Col. Loggie Yule, a career regular officer. He was known as a martinet but I always found him to be fair and straightforward and he seemed to have an appreciation for the work of DRs, which was not always the case in some units. I had not been there very long before I was promoted to WS/Sergeant.

    As with 4 Corps, 2 Corps had a mobile command group that was equipped to enable the Corps Commander and his staff to administer and control the divisions while on the move themselves. As my subsequent experience in Europe was largely confined to the American area of operations, I never did find out if this principle was actually used by British Corps commanders in combat situations.

    The very frequent tests and trials of this operational mode were certainly difficult for DRs. Doing regular DR work is hard enough but when interrupted regularly to run convoys, along with a mobile Signals Office, it becomes pretty stressful. Just being able to locate and return to the mobile HQ after completing a run was frequently very difficult and even on occasions impossible. Mind you, I could never quite believe that even in combat a Corps HQ would be moving so fast and so far in the course of a day. Exercises are one thing but practical applications in combat can be a horse of a different colour.

    As I have mentioned previously, on one occasion as I was slowing to pick up a despatch case from the moving command vehicle, I was hit in the back by a vehicle trying to overtake the convoy at high speed. That got me a few weeks in Newmarket Hospital with concussion and multiple cuts and abrasions. However, I was able eventually to return to the unit so that was OK.

    I did have a few DR photos taken at 2 Corps but they were inadvertently destroyed by a family member a few years after the war. The work was very similar to what I have described for 4 Corps so there is not much for me to add here.

    At one point during this period, the army issued an appeal for volunteers to train as glider pilots. My brother and I responded (in spite of some opposition from the C.O!) and attended interviews over several days. We were told at the conclusion that we had been accepted and would be notified of our posting to a training unit. It turned out to be a waste of time as the notice we eventually received was that people from several trades, including Signals, would not be accepted. We were disappointed but in retrospect it was just as well, as if we had been accepted I would probably not be writing this!

    In September 1942, sponsored by Loggie Yule,I was asked to attend a 3-day War Office Selection Board (WOSB) for possible acceptance into officer training. It was a gruelling test, both physical and mental, and I was quite surprised to hear, a few weeks later that I had been accepted, and especially surprised that it was for Signals which I had been told would be reserved for those in the more technical trades rather than my almost exclusive experience with motorcycles!

    In December of `42 I was posted to 150 Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire, for a course that was to last eight months. It was certainly one of the more physically challenging periods of my life!

    Nevil.
     
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

     
  19. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    I recall one busy route was from a number of outstations to Higher Barnet in North London but I am no longer clear as to the purpose or the connection with BP.

    The Radio Security Service (part of MI6) was a group of volunteer radio interceptors, they were established to intercept radio transmissions from spies and the Abwehr. Their HQ address was PO Box 25 Barnet. Perhaps the outstations were the intercept operators. Many of these were former radio hams (radio licensing was closed during the war, but many were recruited for voluntary work) It is possible they worked from their home address.

    The volume of mail was very high, and the routes very frequent, much more than one was used to in an Army or Corps Signals unit.

    It has been said that at the peak, there were 40 DRs per hour arriving at BP. Do you remember the back entrance to BP - there was a brick sentry box inside the iron gates.

    And yes, BP was bombed once, either in 1940 or 41. It is thought it was mistaken for Wolverton railway works to the north. It was a lone bomber, perhaps a little lost.
     
  20. Nevil

    Nevil WW2 Veteran/Royal Signals WW2 Veteran

    The Radio Security Service (part of MI6) was a group of volunteer radio interceptors, they were established to intercept radio transmissions from spies and the Abwehr. Their HQ address was PO Box 25 Barnet. Perhaps the outstations were the intercept operators. Many of these were former radio hams (radio licensing was closed during the war, but many were recruited for voluntary work) It is possible they worked from their home address.

    It has been said that at the peak, there were 40 DRs per hour arriving at BP. Do you remember the back entrance to BP - there was a brick sentry box inside the iron gates.

    And yes, BP was bombed once, either in 1940 or 41. It is thought it was mistaken for Wolverton railway works to the north. It was a lone bomber, perhaps a little lost.


    Very interesting, Geof. I was certainly not aware the Barnet address had any connection with MI6. We did not collect any despatches from private homes but I suppose they could have originated there. The despatches for this route came from a limited number of outstations, all south of London I believe.

    At BP there was a separate entrance used by DRs adjacent to the Signals Office, which was I suppose a rear or side entrance but I don't recall the appearance. I recall being told that the bomb or bombs that were dropped in 1940 landed near this entrance.

    I don't think there would have been anything like 40 DRs an hour arriving when I was there but it was very busy. Although actually posted to 1 HQ Signals (War Office) several of us were temporarily seconded to BP as they were in dire need of experienced DRs until they could build up the strength there. After about three months I went back to the War Office and then almost immediately to 2 Corps Signals.

    Nevil.
     

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