Royal Signals 1942 to 1946 - Fred Brackstone

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by Peter Brackstone, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. Peter Brackstone

    Peter Brackstone New Member

    Fred Brackstone was from Hull and was my father who served in the Royal Signals between 1942 and 1946 - first overseas in Egypt July 1942. His Army Number was 2377839. He was first called up to Catterick.
    He was in Egypt in various locations and at some point was in Mersa Matruh and also Derna, Libya. He later went into Italy including being involved in the Monte Casino campaign.

    I am trying to find war diaries so that I can track his journey through those years but am having difficulty pinning down exactly which group he was with. On his service information it mentions "8 A.F. Sigs" and "6 A.F. Sigs" are referenced for the periods in North Africa. "6 A.F. Sigs" is also referenced when he was returned to Italy in 1945 & 1946. Later discharged in October 1946 in Strensall, York.
    There is little reference to exactly where he was in Italy but at some point was in Milan.

    Can anyone help with advising how I can access war diaries or other records that will help me fill in the details of his journey through North Africa and Italy. I do have some photographs I can share that my show relatives of anyone reading this posting that also had fathers or relatives that served with him.

    Thanks for any help anyone can give me in this special quest I have set myself.


    Peter Brackstone
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    That looks to me like Air Formation Signals (AFS).

    8 AFS

    8th Air Formation Signals was formed as 1 Company 'F' AFS, at Ramleh (Palestine) on 14 Jul 42 and tasked to provide landline and dispatch rider communications for 205 Group RAF. 205 Group was the 'Bomber Command' of the Middle East with airfields from St Jean (north of Haifa) to the Canal Zone and into Cyrenaica. It was re-designated 8 AFS in Aug 42. It was practice for Wellington bombers based in the Canal Zone to fly to Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Cyrenaica where they refuelled before flying to their final destinations. 8 AFS therefore had an unusually large parish.

    In Mar 44, 8 AFS moved to Italy and continued to provide communications for the RAF in Italy and Austria until it disbanded at some time after Dec 46.

    'W' Air Formation Signals left Liverpool on 15 Apr 42 and sailed via Freetown, Durban and Bombay to Basra where it landed on 18 Jun 42.

    6 AFS

    3 WSS (214 Gp, Shaibah), 13 WSS (215 Gp, Mosul) and 29 WSS (Abadan) were already in the area as 1 Company 6 AFS and these came under command of HQ 'W' AFS which was then renamed UHQ 6 AFS and moved to Habbaniyah. After these changes, 29 WSS was commanded by 2Lt GG Hill and formed part of 3 Company.

    On 13 Jun 43, the bulk of 6 AFS moved to Middle East Forces leaving 3 Coy (with 19 & 29 WSS) to assume all 6 AFS residual responsibilities in Iraq and Persia. The unit was re-designated AFS PAIFORCE with HQ in Baghdad. 29 WSS covered Central and Northern Iraq and Northern Persia whilst 19 WSS covered Southern Iraq and the Persian Gulf. By 10 Dec 43, RAF Baghdad had closed down, 19 WSS had moved to Habbaniya and 29 WSS had rejoined 6 AFS in Italy.

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  4. Lindberg146

    Lindberg146 Member

    Good day Forum

    It is courious I am also attempting to discover the movements of 10th Air formation Signals (1943) who were I understand also active in North Africa and Tunisia and understood landed in Italy ( I think at Salerno but may have been Calabria with the 8th Army ) I have been unsuccessful in locating any information in respect of this unit, it appears from what I find that the designation 10 AFS was utilised only for a short period??

    I understand members of this unit were active in Berlin post capitulation, however the designation 10 AFS may have already been revised or superseded.

    Does anyone have suggestion in respect of locating any data regarding this unit??

    I have previously had limited access to - The Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the Corps (1920-2001) and Its Antecedents...By Cliff Lord, Chris Lord, Graham Watson
    Which Identifies Tunisia 1942-1943 and lists AFS 1,2 & 7,
    For Italy 1944-1945 lists 1,2,4,6,7,8,9,10 AFS
    (in overview page 260)
    and also at page 265 lists an AFS regiment to be typically made up of
    2 line troops
    2 Construction troops
    2 Terminal equipment troops
    3 Telegraph operating troops
    2 Dispatch rider troops
    1 Technical maintenance troops
    5 Wing troops
    16 total However, Messers Lord C do not specify any NCO or higher ranks.

    This is curious and suggests that 10th AFS may not have landed in Italy 1943 or perhaps under some other designation??

    Kind Regards

  5. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    10 AFS was formed in Northern Ireland in Feb 43 and moved to Algiers in Aug 43 following Op TORCH where it assumed responsibility for all RAF communication requirements in North West Africa. (From Oran to Tunis). The bulk of the unit returned to the UK in early 45 whilst the Officers, some ORs, transport and equipment moved to India, arriving at Bombay on 7 May 45. 10 AFS was disbanded on 1 Jun 45, the assets being used to form 7th (Indian) Air Formation Signals. The unit reformed in Trieste in Oct 54 moving to Germany (Butzweilerhof, near Cologne) via the UK to support 'Units directly administered by HQ 2 Tac Air Force on non-flying stations'. It continued to support HQ 2 TAF when it reduced to Squadron level in Mar 58 and was absorbed into 21 Sig Regt (as 1 Coy) in Nov 61.


  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    My father was 11 Air Fmn. Signals in NW Europe and is still with us so I've been able to interrogate him quite closely about exactly what they were doing :) They were spread out at all the locations of the RAF / RCAF squadrons with which they liaised. I've looked at the war diaries but they don't record locations of individual sections at all, I recall quite a lot of diagrams showing teleprinter links. Fortunately Dad recalls which ALGs he was based on with 39 Recce Wing and their movements are easier to plot but without a starting point, it will be difficult based on the sort of records that seem to have been maintained.
  7. Lindberg146

    Lindberg146 Member

    Minden 1759
    Thank you Frank for your information in respect of 10 AFS (curiously the individual am attempting to track is also a Frank.)
    I presume of your Swiss origins having French battalions perhaps it is to be assumed they would originate in French speaking Swiss, I live in Rhone Alps across Leman opposite Montreaux.... again curious.

  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Yes, my family provided some infantry battalions of Swiss soldiers to anybody who could pay. It would appear that we were not too fussy about their allegiance as long as they paid!


  9. Lindberg146

    Lindberg146 Member

    Dear Frank

    Please be assured I would expect nothing more or less from the Swiss else may serious matters or conflict proceed..
    When crossing the Rubicon "The die is cast"......but you know this already.

    P.S( am new to forum and have filled in the personal questionnaire form) ....but how is this to be attached to my (avatar)
    it is not my intention to be silent in respect of profile...

    More regarding the avtar how do I get the starboard Griffon in to the avtar image .....(why did I change from MS to Mac?...desolate )

    Nous vous remercions de votre contribution


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