Topic: AIF - 1B - 1 Sig Trp
1st Australian Signal Troop, AIF
Below is a transcription from a manuscript submitted by by Major R. Smith called 1st Australian Signal Troop. This is Page 1.
Formation of Troop in Australia, training in Egypt and work on Gallipoli at Anzac and Helles.
On August the 19th 1914, all the members of the 10th and 21st Signal Troops and 26th. Coy who had volunteered the requisite medical examination were ordered to report at Street Barracks, South Melbourne where they were attested and sworn in. Then the men were drafted into the 1st Signal Troop, that is men who under the Compulsory Training Act had previously served in the 3 units mentioned above.
The C.O. Capt. E. W. Downing ( late 21st Sig. Troop ) took command and the N.C.0's were chosen from the above units, and the 2 Wireless Sections which had been used for training at the annual camps.
The Troop moved by train to Broadmeadows where 14 O.R.'s from the Signal Engineers Sydney, joined us, and camp was made and the personnel drafted to the various sections which comprised the Troop i.e. Signallers, Telephone Sections, wireless Sections, Motor Cyclists and Cyclists, 4 drivers and 1 shoeing smith. Fortunately the whole personnel of the Troop were men who had been trained previously in the Compulsory Trainees and the usual Squad Drill and :routine to which a raw recruit must be subject, was not necessary and skeleton schemes were organised and carried out in the vicinity of Donnybrook, Sydney Rd., Deep Creek and Euroka. All of which helped to bring the Troop up to its high standard of efficiency and stood all members in good stead in the months which followed.
It was not until we had been in camp for, 2 weeks that we were issued with our horses and then all members put through a riding test and those who were a little uncomfortable taken in hand and taught horse management. The wireless sections were worked hard and were brought to a very high standard of efficiency creating a record for erecting station in 3 minutes which has not yet been beaten.
Our period of training in Broadmeadows lasted 2 month; and we embarked at Victoria Docks 20/10/17 [20/10/14, ed.], sailed to Egypt the Karroo the voyage taking 7 weeks owing to the waiting at various ports for coaling provisions etc. (Ports) Albury, [Albany, ed.] Colombo, Aden, Suez and Alexandria.
During the voyage it was impossible to carry out training to a very great extent owing to the number of horses we had to look after.
The whole morning was taken up in the cleaning of the horse deck and the afternoons in exercising the horses which was done by walking each animal around the horse deck for 20 minutes and it proved worth while for we only lost one horse for the whole voyage and that from pneumonia.
1st Australian Light Horse Brigade
Citation: 1st Australian Signal Troop, Page 1