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Old 25-08-08, 04:53 PM
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RCN RCN is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: So. ON, CANADA
Posts: 2,057
Default Signalman branch

The Signal branch has been around since the days of sail. Originally ship to ship communication was carried out by voice, & at a distance, by coloured flags. I am sure every reader has seen RPPC's of HMS Victory with a full spread of signal flags flying at her yards, usually with Nelson's famous signal hoisted at Trafalgar.

Later flag communication was transmitted by semaphore - that is, sailors spelling out letters & numbers with hand held signal flags. Obviously this was used more for closer communication between ships. Semaphore could also be tramsmitted by large signal arms placed high in the ship, greater distances could be covered by this method. Signals could also be transmitted from ship to ship & ship to shore via signal light & this practice was very common up to & during WWI.

Signalmen were responsible for all forms of flag & light communication on board ships, & later morse code could also be transmitted by flag if necessary.

The distinctive crossed semaphore flags rate badge did not appear until 1890, & this logo has remained the same up to modern times.

Illustrated below are the Signal rate badges from 1890 up to post WWII period.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sigs WWII.jpg (56.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Sigs WWII POs.jpg (47.9 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Sigs WWII CPOs.jpg (67.3 KB, 7 views)

Last edited by RCN; 16-12-08 at 04:34 PM.
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