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1st Wireless Regiment
13th (Radio) Signal Regiment
13th Cyber and Electromagnetic Signal Regiment
Insigne du Royal Corps of Signals (R SIGNALS).svg
Active 1934—1995
(Reforming), 2020
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch

Flag of the British Army.svg British Army

Role Cyber and Electromagnetic Signals Intelligence
Size Regiment
Part of 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade
Nickname(s) 13 Signal Regiment
Engagements World War II
Cold War
The 13th Signal Regiment or officially 13th Cyber and Electromagnetic Signal Regiment (13 Signal Regiment), is a specialist signals unit of the Royal Corps of Signals within the British Army. Originally being formed in 1934, the regiment had a long history of service before being disbanded in 1994 following the initial Options for Change reforms.

The regiment will be reformed after the Army 2020 refines and will be part of the 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade. This reformation comes as a result of the increased duties of the regiment's sister regiment, 14th Cyber and Electromegnetic Signal Regiment.

HistoryEdit

Early HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

In World War I, the Wireless Observation groups of the Corps of Royal Engineers proved to be very successful. During this time, with the major expansion of modern warfare including the use of support artillery and tanks, a corps of signals seemed to be more and more necessary. From this expansion the Royal Corps of Signals were due to form in 1917 but was delayed until 1920. These groups were tasked with using the most up-to-date communications and phones to support troops on the front-line. These groups helped with the communications between the HQ facilities, the men on the front line, and supporting units.[1][2]

Inter-warEdit

The 4th Wireless Signal Company (War Office Signals) where formed in 1934 at Aldershot to provide signal intelligence activities under the direct command of the War Office.[1] After forming, the squadron had the following structure;[2][3]

In 1938 the company was re-titled as No. 2 Company, General Headquarters Signals. After this name change, the company expanded their responsibility to provide secure communications for General Headquarters, The War Office, and the General Staff.[1][2] The company was completely based in Aldershot by 1939.[1][4]

World War IIEdit

Battle of FranceEdit

In September 1939. the company went to France part of GHQ British Expeditionary Force.[1] After this re-organisation, the group had the following roles and structure;[2]

In May 1940 the company started to retreat following the almost total destruction of the BEF. The company retreated to Dunkirk and was evacuated, after this the company was renamed as 1st Special Wireless Group on 18 July 1940.[1][2]

Home ServiceEdit

After being renamed to become 1 Special Wireless Group, they helped to train and form many of the new special wireless signal sections which would support the allied armies until the end of the war. Each of these new sections were provided to each Army HQ to provide wireless signals intelligence. This role was later expanded to help with both armies and corps. Following their re-organisation, the group was sent to the Middle East being under the control of the 2nd Special Wireless Group.[1][2] Just before moving to the Middle East, the group was composed of a group headquarters and two wireless companies.[5]

Normandy and EndEdit

As part of the run-up to the Invasion of Normandy, the group was put under control of the 21st Army Group.[1][2] During this time each section provided communications for each of the armies and corps, their structure was as follows;[1][2]

Following the end of the war, the group was based in Minden and re-named as the 1st Special Wireless Regiment. In August 1946 the regiment moved to Peterborough Barracks then in 1950 in Nelson Barracks in Münster.[1][2][6]

Cold WarEdit

In 1951 101 Wireless Troop effectively became an independent troop for special purpose signals intelligence along on the West-East German Border. Their first major operation was when this troop moved to Hildesheim with the task of building/finding a signals intelligence post close to the border. After the search, the troop found Langeleben and in 1951 the troop was temporally stationed here. By 1952, the troop permanently moved in.[2]

In 1953, it was decided to move the entire regiment west of the Rhine. This came after the analysis of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany were found to be larger than previously expected. By 1955, a brand new set of barracks were constructed in Birgelen named Mercury Barracks. This new set of barracks were based near the German-Dutch Border and specially built for the regiment and their tasks.[2][6]

During this time, the regiment was expanded and now controlled three special wireless squadrons, two cipher and special operations troops, along with a specialist platoon from the Intelligence Corps. In 1957, 101 Wireless Troop was expanded to form 2 Squadron.[2]

In 1959, the 1957 Defence White Paper took effect, and the regiment was renamed as 13th (Radio) Signal Regiment. Eventually, in 1967 following the 1966 Defence White Paper, the regiment's squadrons gained new squadron titles with 2 Squadron being renamed as 225 Signal Squadron. Soon after this re-organisation, the regiment formed a specialist detachment in Berlin, this became known as Royal Signals Detachment, RAF Gatow. After being formed, the detachment was expanded into two new troops, F and G Troops. A detachment was then attached to 26 Signals Unit RAF. In 1970, this detachment was expanded two 2 Squadron.[2]

In 1974, Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, announced he would be increasing the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany massively and reform the armed forces. As a result of this, a new troop as part of 1 Squadron was formed in Gross Busborn in the Dannenberg Salient and tasked with reporting on movements and operations of the soviet forces across the border. In 1984, the regiment was granted the Freedom of Dannenburg.[2]

Finally, in 1992 the Options for Change were announced and the armed forces (namely the army) was extremely reduced in size and structure. In 1994 the regiment was deemed "in-active" and disbanded the next year.[2] The structure of the regiment before disbandment was as follows;

  • Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron
  • No.1 Signal Squadron
  • No.2 Signal Squadron
  • No.3 Signal Squadron

Modern DayEdit

In 2019 the regiment is to be reformed as a result of the Army 2020 Refine.[7][8] Upon formation, the regiment's name will be 13th Cyber and Electromagnetic Signal Regiment.[7] After this change, the regiment will be tied with 14 Signal Regiment and be under the specially formed 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade. After fully forming up, the regiment will be co-located with 299 Special Communications Signal Squadron in Beachley Barracks.[7][8]

Operations and BattlesEdit

Commanding OfficersEdit

Commanding officers of the regiment during World War II included;[9]

No.4 Wireless Company

  • 1934—1936 Major E F Farnall
  • 1936—1938 Captain H D Mountford

No.2 Company, GHQ Signals

No.1 Special Wireless Group

No.1 Special Wireless Regiment

No.1 Wireless Regiment

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 “History of the Royal Signals.” Royal Signals Museum, https://www.royalsignalsmuseum.co.uk/corps-history/
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Lord and Watson, Page 49
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Monthly Army List. (1937). [ebook] London, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: The General Staff, War Office, p.355. Available at: https://deriv.nls.uk/dcn23/1055/2061/105520616.23.pdf [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].
  4. Lord and Watson Page 241
  5. Lord and Watson Page 254
  6. 6.0 6.1 “British Army Units from 1945 On.” British Army Units from 1945 on - 13 Regiment, http://british-army-units1945on.co.uk/royal-signals/regiments---major-units-2/13-regiment-2.html.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Army 2020 Refine changes since 2017" (in en). https://www.dropbox.com/s/t2dixk6lq6502ni/20190718-FOI06365_Zacchi_Response_Letter-ArmySec%20%283%29.pdf?dl=0. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 An Update from the Master of Signals. (2019). [ebook] pp.8 and 14. Available at: https://royalsignals.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/20170921-Master-of-Signals-Presentation.pdf [Accessed 31 Aug. 2019].
  9. Major General Nalder, R F H The Royal Corps of Signals A History of its Antecedents and Development (Circa 1800-1955) London, Royal Signals Institution (1958). p. 642 ISBN 978-0950121826

SourcesEdit

  • Lord, Cliff, and Graham Watson. The Royal Corps of Signals Unit Histories of the Corps (1920-2001) and Its Antecedents. Helion and Company, 2003. ISBN 1874622922
  • "Royal Signals". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  • Watson, Graham E. and Rinaldi, Richard A. The British Army in Germany (BAOR and After): An Organisational History 1947-2004 Tiger Lily Publications LLC 2005. ISBN 0-9720296-9-9

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