NWT and Y History Project

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Our objective is to research, collect and compile a record, in electronic format, of the Royal Canadian Signal Corps' Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System, which operated from 1923 to 1959, and played a pivotal role in opening up the Canadian northland.

This project started with the idea that we should create a compact disk of the history of the NWT&Y Radio System in time for the 100th anniversary celebrations in 2003. However that deadline proved to be impossible and the project has grown into a far larger task than first imagined. In fact we will probably continue for many more years yet. We have accepted the fact that the collections will never be complete

As of January 1st, 2011 we have compiled a list of 611 people who served on the system. This includes those who were properly members of the NWT&Y Radio System, having been posted to NWT&YRS establishment, and also civilian operators who served alongside the RC Sigs operators, as well as RCCS linesmen, technicians and administrative officers who were posted there on temporary duty from time to time. Of this total we have some information and/or photographs on 254, and on the remaining 357 we have nothing but the names on the nominal roll.

While the Military Communications and Electronics Museum at the Canadian Forces Base in Kingston, Ontario has a goldmine of artifacts, there are nevertheless, large gaps in the information base, especially concerning the personnel who served in those remote stations. It is their personal stories and the activities of their daily lives that will make their history memorable. Canadians deserve to know about the contribution made by their Royal Canadian Corps of Signals toward the opening up of the Canadian northland and to the development of long-range telecommunications technology.

This website is a public solicitation for assistance in filling those information gaps. We will continue to post to these pages all the relevant information that we can dredge from the Museum's archives and whatever comes in from our contributors. Eventually we hope to be able to produce the CD, as was the original intention, and make it available at the Museum's kit shop..

We are hereby raising an appeal to everyone who has information regarding the NWT&Y Radio System and the people who served in it, to contact us at our e-mail address, or by post to the Museum.

If you have archival documents or photographs that you would like to donate to the Museum's collection they will be gratefully accepted. If you would rather not part with them, but would be willing to provide copies, we can make arrangements to do so. And if you have memories that you can share with us please write, e-mail, call or drop in for a visit the next time you are in Kingston..

The research and maintenance of the website is all a labour of love. Ultimately we will have to find a way to underwrite the cost of manufacturing the CDs but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

If you are in the Kingston area and wish to volunteer, your help in going through the museum's archives would be much appreciated. If you are in Ottawa we could use some help in digging through the records at the National Archives and at D-History in DND. If you are in one of the communities in the Northwest Territories or the Yukon where the NWT&Y RS had stations you could be a big help in canvassing the community for photographs or anecdotes. If you are in a community in the north where there is a museum we would appreciate some help in checking out the holdings to see if there is anything there pertaining to our search.

The Museum's postal address is:
Military Communications and Electronics Museum
Box 17000, Station Forces
Kingston ON,
K7K 7B4

You can also reach us by email at: rcsigs@rcsigs.ca