Notes on Communications - 3rd Canadian Division - 9 April to 9 May 1917

Jump to: navigation, search
The following is the text of an original report.[1]


3rd Canadian Divisional Signal Company.

To A.D. Signals,


Report on communications during the recent operations on VIMY RIDGE, covering period from April 9th to May 9th, 1917.

Communication was maintained by Telephone and Telegraph, Wireless, Visual, Pigeons, Power Buzzer and Runners.


Previous to the attack all cable had been buried. Cable was never cut, no difficulty in maintenance was experienced and communication was never interrupted. This system was further extended on the night of April 9th/10th by a bury of 25 pairs from the end of the Goodman Tunnel to entrance of Schwaben Tunnel, a distance of 350 yards, a party of 150 men being supplied for the work. The following day, cable was carried through tunnel, G.P.Twin (25 pairs) being strung. The cable supplied for the bury (a very light armoured twin) and the G.P. Twin supplied for the stringing of the tunnel both proved very unsatisfactory and were abandoned after being two weeks in use.


Field cable was used by the Brigades and Battalions during the advance. Earth return circuits by alternative routes were laid. Lines were maintained without any difficulty, as enemy shelling was very light.


Wireless Stations were established, but as telephone communication remained practically intact, no call was made on this system. Wireless has however, been frequently made use of since the Division has again settled down to trench warfare. A large number of important messages have been handled by wireless and it has been of great assistance.


Visual Stations were also established. In the forward areas, visual was of little use owing to the smoke and dirt. In rear, it was never necessary to use it. At the present time Artillery Groups, Batteries, Observation Posts, Battalions and Companies in the front line are employing visual with excellent results.


Pigeons were taken forward by Battalions, but were not used.


Power Buzzers were installed at Advanced Brigade Report Centres as soon as R.C's were established. The P.B. Station with the Left Brigade worked very satisfactorily. Seven messages were handled by this Station before communication was established by wire. Only one message was handled by P.B. Stations with Right Brigade. Other messages offered were not received owing to interference.

I consider the Power Buzzer a most useful means of communication during the first stages of an attack.


Runners did excellent work. They were used chiefly between Company and Battalion Headquarters.

(Sd) A. LEAVITT, Major,
O.C. 3rd Canadian Divl. Signals

O.C. Signals 1st Canadian Division
O.C. Signals 2nd Canadian Division
O.O. Signals 4th Canadian Division

For your information,

(signed) E. Ford
Actg. A.D.Signals, Canadian Corps.
June 8th 1917.


  1. Library and Archives Canada, RG 9, III, C.5., Volume 4438.