In terms of British Army regimental histories, the period from 1968 to 1976 was very short, but to those that served in 14th Signal Regiment at that time it was both a fascinating and fulfilling time
Initially, four individual mobile long range HF troops and a single specialised operator troop were formed at Robinswood Barracks, Gloucester, joined later by two mobile satellite stations before the amalgamation into a single regimental entity. The’ new’ 14th Signal Regiment was then moved to Norton Barracks, Worcester where it remained until 1976 when it (less the Satellite Troops which went to the RAF) became subsumed into 30th Signal Regiment, Blandford.
The role of the unit was to provide ‘Force Rear Link’ secure communications from any theatre in the world back to the UK. At this dawn of ‘the digital age’ mobile long range multi-channel communications could, realistically, only be supplied by using HF Radio or Satellite Links. Whilst HF Radio had been used by the military for many years and was very well developed, the mobile satellite systems were ‘leading edge and very much ‘state of the art’ at that time.
In order to meet this requirement of world-wide capability, many over-seas exercises and operations were fulfilled by units from The Regiment. Although the majority were for only a few weeks at a time some were for continuous long periods. Manpower from each of the troops often became interchanged which gave a varied work load to the large number of young technicians, operators and electrician/drivers in the troops.
Exercises and operations were allocated to the individual troops which performed almost autonomously when away from Worcester. With manpower numbers always at the absolute minimum, everyone had to work when setting up and tearing down these ‘mobile’ installations. Heavy responsibilities fell on very junior crew members who grew into their roles quickly. Time between these feverish activities was more relaxed, but none the less rewarding.
Between exercises, time at Norton Barracks was spent repairing and refurbishing equipment, attending specialised courses, playing sport and familiarisation with the surrounding area. With the security of the camp being supplied by The Royal Pioneer Corps, regimental camp duties were at a minimum, which pleased both single and married members, allowing quality time with family and friends to be planned between exercises.
In many respects this unit was an Army Recruiting Sgts. PR dream! It offered a highly individual technical role, encouraged sport, it was in a semi-rural location, but with easy access to city nightlife; transport connections to the rest of the UK were excellent and above all it offered plenty of overseas travel.
What more could a young man want?
Freedom of Blandford parade with Keith (Bones)Kenworthy-Jones arrowed in.
This picture taken from The Wire
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14 Signal Regiment
A Potted History
1939 Detachments operating the Army Wireless Chain.
1941 War Office Signals formed
1943 Becomes No 1 and No2 War Office Signals Regiments
1945 No 2 Regiment disbanded – unit now War Office Signal Regiment
1952 No 2 Regiment reformed
1956 No 1 Regiment reduced to a Squadron – No 2 Regiment becomes UK COMCAN Signal Regiment.
1959 14 Signal Regiment formed from UK COMCAN Signal Regiment and UK Commonwealth Communications Army Network.
Regiment comprised of 4 Squadrons and one troop as follows:-
1 Squadron Tape Relay Centre in Gloucester
2 Squadron Main Transmitter Site in Droitwich
3 Squadron Main Receiver site in Bampton and secondary site in Oakhanger.
4 Squadron secondary Transmitter Site in Pirbright
Installation Troop (Overseas)
Note – there is no HQ Sqn. as the regiment was run from Whitehall.
1960 2 x Troops WRAC formed to replace male Troops also civilisation of roles started.
1961 RHQ Squadron formed in Gloucester and HQ COMCAN separated and held in Whitehall.
1962 4 Sqn Pirbright disbanded and 4 Squadron becomes WRAC based in Gloucester – Regiment involved in the Berlin Crisis.
1963 TARE (Tape Automatic Routing Equipment) introduced into Gloucester.
1965 645 Signal Troop formed (D13/R234)
1966 Regiment granted freedom of Gloucester.
Mobile Links supported by Regiment (Force Rear Link)
647 Signal Troop formed for Satellite Comms initially for trials from Singapore.
1968-69 Moved to Norton Barracks
Regiment Absorbed ALL Force Rear Link Troops
1969 E21 arrived.
RAF took over fixed Communication Sites.
1972 14 Signal Regiment did Queens Guard (first Signal unit to do this)
1975 Regiment consisted of 3 Squadrons and 2 Troops as follows:-
1 Squadron - A Troop (D13) and E Troop (E21)
2 Squadron – S and T Troop both TSC 500
P Troop – old AWCIT under command of FPD but based in Norton – moved to Blandford in 1975.
602 Signal Troop, which moved to Hereford in 1976.
1976 Regiment disbanded and essentially becomes 1 Squadron 30SR – TSC 500's handed over to the RAF in Oakhanger