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 2.
Formation of Troop in Australia, training in Egypt and work on Gallipoli at Anzac and Helles.
December 7th 1914:
Disembarked at Alexandria and entrained for Cairo where we, arrived at 1600, then after men and horses had been rested and here we commenced training again and competitive tests held in all branches of the unit.
Occasionally we established communication with the Signal Coy who were at Mena and who used to set up a Helio Station on the Pyramids while ours was established on one of the many houses in Maadi.
Moved by road from Maadi to, Heliopolis where Brigade training was carried out, in the manner of skeleton schemes around Zeitoun and El Marg and then afterwards in sham fights against the N. Z. Bde in the same area.
On April 1st, the 2 Wireless Sections with pack horses and minus their riders, 6 Signallers under Sgt. Masters and the C.O. were ordered to proceed to Alexandria for embarkation and they left Heliopolis at 0700 next morning and entrained at Cairo.
The remainder of the Sig. Troop was then commanded by Lt. J. Bell, who was previously Automobile Officer on 1st Bde H.Q.
May 7th 1915:
Bde ordered to proceed to Alexandria to embark for Gallipoli where we arrived on 12th May. We then found that the 2 wireless sections under Capt. Downing were at Helles operating with the navy and R.F.C, while the 6 sigs. under Sgt. Masters were doing duty as Signallers on transports. On arrival at Anzac the Bde. moved up to Monash Gully and established H.Q. opposite Steels Post.
The Signal Troop took over the existing system of communications and commenced relaying lines and duplicating others where they became cut by shell fire.
Two sappers were detached for duty with the 21st Kiwat Indian Mountain Battery which used to fire on to Razor Back. These two Sappers worked the Telephone Station by themselves for 6 days working 2 hours on and 2 off and on the 18th May we were joined by a Signaller from the 3rd Regt. On the same day while out repairing lines 1 Sap, was wounded and was taken into the Indian Hospital in Shrapnel Gully and he would not go away but rejoined us after 4 days. The work fell very heavy on us through lines being cut etc and from the afternoon of the to that of the 22nd we had practically no sleep.
An armistice was declared for 3 hours on the 22nd and we took the opportunity to make all lines aerial wherever possible and to remove others from exposed positions.
The Troop at H.Q. were extremely busy having 28 buzzer lines and 4 magnetos these had to be looked after by 2 sappers per shift.
The 4 magneto lines were connected to H.Q. positions and were direct lines, 1 to Steels post, 1 to Quinn’s, and 2 to Courtney's Post. All lines were inspected daily by linemen and the instruments by the Troop Mechanic and through this precaution it was seldom that anything went wrong other than the lines being cut by Artillery fire or by some enterprising Billjim for use on his bivouac.
The bivouac area was in a saucer formation just off the main sap and very well protected by high banks, however one shell exploded in the Cook house and wounded 4 men, 1 seriously. Another man was wounded in the head whilst drawing water in Shrapnel Gully and 1 other by a shell which fell close to the Signal Office.
1st Australian Light Horse Brigade
Citation: 1st Australian Signal Troop, Page 2