Draft:22 Signal Regiment (United Kingdom)

22 Signal Regiment
22 Signal Regiment Shield Badge
Active1st April 2007 - Present
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchBritish Army
TypeMilitary Communications
SizeRegiment
Part of1st (United Kingdom) Signal Brigade

Force Troops Command

Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
Garrison/HQBeacon Barracks, Stafford
Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant Colonel C M Dixon

22 Signal Regiment is a Regular unit within the Royal Corps of Signals, a branch of the British Army. It delivers information and communications systems to the permanent and deployable headquarters of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). This enables the Corps Commander to exercise command over the Corps both at home and when deployed. The regiment is based in Beacon Barracks, Stafford and comprises a Regimental Headquarters and five sub-units.

  • Regimental Headquarters (RHQ)
    • Support Squadron
    • 217 Signal Squadron
    • 222 Signal Squadron
    • 248 Gurkha Signal Squadron
    • 252 Signal Squadron

Regimental History[1]

Early Years[2]

The formation of 22 Signal Regiment can trace its roots back to the 11th Air Formation Signals which was founded in 1943 to support the invasion of Europe. it supported 83 Group RAF throughout the campaign in North-West Europe 1944 - 1945. After the war, 11th Air Formation Signals continued to provide communications within airfields throughout Europe, having absorbed all the other Air Formation Signals left in Germany, and re-designated itself as a Regiment in 1949. At its peak in 1948, the regiment was made up of three squadrons; 1 Squadron at Buckeburg, 2 Squadron at Uteren and 3 Squadron near Koln. During this period the regiment was heavily involved in the Berlin Airlift (which started in June 1948), after the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control, resulting in the allies using aircraft to transport all personnel and materiel. As the Cold War progressed levels of signal support to the RAF increased and additional Air Formation Signals Regiments were formed in Germany. 11 Air Formation Signal Regiment lost 3 Squadron, having been detached to form the basis of the new 12th Air Formation Signal Regiment at Lubbecke. Of the remaining two squadrons, 1 Squadron focused on switchboards and cabling, with 2 Squadron supervising the Wing Troops that were co-located with RAF airfields. In September 1959 the remaining Air Formation Signals Regiments reformed to produce 21 and 22 Signal Regiment (Air Formation). The first Commanding Officer of 22 Signal Regiment was Lt Col K A Nash, who had five days left of his tenure before handing over to Lt Col J Knowles. These initial years were characterised by overstretch and manpower shortages.

Re-role

In 1962, a further re-organisation of the Royal Corps of Signals saw the regiment transfer from the Air Formation role to the Command Support role, providing links between headquarters 1st (British) Corps and its subordinate divisional headquarters in conjunction with 7th Signal Regiment. In this new role 22nd Signal Regiment delivered the Rear headquarters and was based in Lippstadt from 1959. It was initially formed of three squadrons: Headquarters (HQ) Squadron, delivering a Technical Maintenance (TM) Troop, a Light Aid Detachment (LAD) and Motor Transport (MT) Dept; 1 Squadron delivering trunk cable links between the Rear and Main HQ's, as well as having some radio relay capacity when required; and 2 Squadron, delivering High Frequency (HF) radio backups for the trunk links. Following the introduction of Bruin, a trunk communications system, in 1967/8 and the modernisation and increased flexibility it brought to delivering Corps communications, further restructuring of the Regiment was necessary. An additional two squadrons were added, taking the total to four. HQ Squadron remained largely unchanged. 1 Squadron now delivered power supplies, radio relay systems and local telephone cable facilities. 2 Squadron began delivering HF radio relay systems and a non-Bruin equipped COMMCEN. 3 Squadron used Bruin to maintain links with flanking formations, who's equipment could not link to ours directly.

Throughout its time in Lippstadt the regiment enjoyed a close relationship with the local townspeople, earning the freedom of the town on the 27th October 1973.  It also developed links to the 7 Fernmeldebataillon, Bundesheer, and 63 Battalion des Troupes de Transmissions (BE). During this period the regiment provided personnel and equipment in support of the 1982 Falklands campaign, and having received the Ptarmigan trunk communications system in 1986, it provided the bulk of the trunk equipment required for the 1991 Gulf War (note that the Regiment did not deploy itself on either campaign).  Throughout this period the regiment continued its strong tradition of sport and adventurous training. It enjoyed considerable success in football and in 1986 it was the first signals unit to win the Army Ski Championships, receiving the Princess Marina Trophy[3]. The Regiment was disbanded on 19 September 1992 as part of Options for Change, the restructuring of the British Army following the end of the Cold War.

Reformation

On the 14th June 2006, the Minister for State for the Armed Forces announced that the 22nd Signal Regiment would reform and be based at the former RAF site in Stafford. At the time the site was being administered by a twelve strong implementation team against an ambitious timeline. Nicknamed 'The Dirty Dozen', they oversaw building work from October 2006, eventually stepping up to form the core of the new Regimental headquarters. In February 2007 the first two sub-units arrived. 222 Signal Squadron had been re-subordinated from 3 (UK) Division Signal Regiment in Bulford, with 248 Gurkha Signal Squadron arriving from 21 Signal Regiment in Colerne. They joined the growing Support Squadron and the newly formed 217 Signal Squadron.  The Regiment officially 'stood up' on 1 April 2007, achieving full operational capability in December 2007. The first 18 months for the regiment were exceptionally busy, seeing it deploy personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008/09, completing several major exercises, and undertaking public duties in London.  As they had with Lippstadt 40 years previously, the Regiment formed a close relationship with the town of Stafford[4] and was granted the Freedom of the Borough on the 19th April 2008[5]. The Regiment oversaw the final deployment of the Ptarmigan trunk communications system whilst supporting 11 Light Brigade pre-deployment training in 2009. This saw the closure of the network after 25 years' service. Concurrently, the Regiment was leading on the implementation of its replacement, Falcon.

Present Day

In 2012 the Regiment's role changed to delivering Communications and Information Systems to the headquarters of the ARRC (which had moved from Rheindahlen to the UK in 2010). By this point 252 Signal Squadron, who support the ARRC permanent headquarters in Innsworth, had joined the Regiment. It continues in this role today, regularly deploying on multiple overseas exercises, including a huge deployment to Latvia and Lithuania in 2015. In addition to this, in the last ten years the Regiment has deployed soldiers to support exercises and operations across the world, from Europe, the USA, Falkland Islands, Africa, and the Broader Middle East.

Previous Commanding Officers (since 2007)

Rank Name Dates
Lieutenant Colonel N D Fraser April 2007 - August 2009
Lieutenant Colonel S P M Nesmith August 2009 - October 2011
Lieutenant Colonel L C Westerman October 2011 - March 2014
Lieutenant Colonel A R Fawcett March 2014 - August 2016
Lieutenant Colonel E A Byfield August 2016 - December 2018

Personnel & Equipment

The nature of the regiments role means that it is equipped with digital, tactical and satellite communications equipment, enabled by a range of vehicle variants and supporting equipment. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Reacher (Medium and Large variants)
  • SWEDISH CCT-120
  • Bowman
  • Falcon
  • An array of specific to role information systems.
  • MAN Support Vehicles (flatbed, communications and troop carrying variants)
  • Land Rover (general service, communications and ambulance configurations)

This equipment is operated and maintained by personnel from a range of Royal Signals trade groups. This include Communications Systems Operators, Communications Systems Engineers, Communications Logistics Specialists and Royal Signals Electricians. The complex nature of the regiments role ensures there is a sizeable number of Royal Signals Supervisors (Yeoman of Signals, Foreman of Signals (Information Systems) and Foreman of Signals). The regiment's Royal Signals personnel is also also has a sizeable cohort of personnel from other cap badges, such as the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the Royal Logistics Corps, the Adjutant Generals Corps (Staff and Personnel Support Branch), Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Army Chaplain's Department.

Operations

The Regiment has either deployed on, or contributed to (with manpower and/or equipment), the following operations:

Operation Country Year Remarks
WW2 Various Various 1943 - 1945 Northern Europe as 11 (Air Formation) Signals
CORPORATE Falklands 1982 Provision of equipment
GRANBY Iraq 1991 Provision of manpower and equipment (Ptarmigan)
RESOLUTE Bosnia 1995-6
TELIC Iraq 2003 - 2009
HERRICK Afghanistan 2006 - 2014 Regimental deployment with ARRC, personnel to other deployments
SHADER Iraq 2014 onw Personnel only

The dates above are for the duration of each operation, not necessarily the duration of the regiments commitment.

Heraldry & Ceremonial

The Regimental shield badge features a black background with 'XXII' centrally located in large white text. Above are the emblems of the two Freedoms that the regiment enjoys; Stafford (left) and Lippstadt (right). Below is the image of Mercury (known in the Corps as 'Jimmy'), the emblem of the Royal Corps of Signals. The regiment uses a simplified form of this emblem in daily usage, featuring a black rectangle with 'XXII' in bold white text. Following changes to Corps dress policy the Regimental badge is no longer worn on uniform. Personnel instead wear the badge of the 1st (United Kingdom) Signal Brigade (featuring a white spear in a blue diamond) on the left sleeve of their camouflage uniform. The Corps Tactical Recognition Flash (white and blue) is worn on the right sleeve.

Sport & Adventurous Training

The Regiment is passionate about sport, participating in a variety of competitions and tournaments both internal and external to the Armed Forces. There are a number of high level sportsmen and sportswomen within the regiments ranks, competing in sports ranging from alpine skiing and rugby to fishing. Similarly, the regiment is a strong advocate of the value of adventurous training. Since its reformation in 2007 it has conducted a number of high level expeditions all over the globe. Having a Queens Gurkha Signals squadron in the regiment means it has an affinity with the country of Nepal and as such expeditions to the Himalayas features heavily in the calendar.

References

  1. ^ Lord, Cliff,. The Royal Corps of Signals : unit histories of the Corps (1920-2001) and its antecedents. Watson, Graham, writer on military forces,. Solihull, West Midlands, England. ISBN 9781874622925. OCLC 184820114.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "11 AFS - Air Formation Signals". afsa-assu.webeden.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  3. ^ Warner, Philip. (1989). The vital link : the story of the Royal Signals, 1945-1985. Leo Cooper. ISBN 0850528828. OCLC 862289870.
  4. ^ "Servicemen and women march through Stafford to mark decade in the town". Signal 1. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  5. ^ "Resource Details - Staffordshire Past Track". www.search.staffspasttrack.org.uk. Retrieved 2019-04-24.

External Links

Royal Signals Website

1st (UK) Sig Bde Website

Air Formation Signals Association - 11 (AF) Signal Regiment page