Report on Conversations Picked Up by Wireless Intelligence - 2nd Canadian Division - 6 August 1917

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The following is the text of an original report.[1]


The reports of the Wireless Intelligence show that even now, after repeated warnings, not enough precautions are being exercised by persons in using the telephone, to prevent the enemy from gaining valuable information through his Listening Apparatus. That he makes extensive use of Listening Sets is shown by the large number captured on every part of the front on which we have made on advance, and his using them extensively shows that he must obtain information through them, for a much smaller number would be sufficient to "police" his own lines. Their efficiency is proved by tests made with those captured.

The method used by the enemy is to lay out a "loop" of wire as near our lines as possible and this "loop" picks up by induction or through leakage the currents in our wires: the nearer his "loop" is to our wires, the better results he will obtain. It follows that when we are occupying territory captured from him he has a great opportunity to use prearranged "loops", pipe lines, old buried cables, etc., within our lines, and consequently, the necessity of additional precautions on our part.

The Fullerphone is the only apparatus in use by us at present which cannot be overheard by either induction or earth leakage. SPEAKING over the Fullerphone is overheard exactly the same as over an ordinary telephone.

Below are given a few examples of conversations picked up by our "police" sets. These show that the worst offenders are Battery Signallers and Signal linemen. The sets pick up daily a practically continuous stream of personal conversations between Battery Signallers at Battery Headquarters and O.P's.

Station called - 121, 10:50 a.m., 30th July.
"Hello! who is that ? 121 ?
"No, it's 121's O.P.
"Hello! this is 121" "How do you hear me?"
"Good" Is this Mac" "When are you going on leave, thought me might click together again".
"Yes, that's right, well, if we don't we won't be far apart - only 24 hours".
"Yes, that's right, cheers".

The above is typical of the innumerable unnecessary personal conversations carried on.

Conversation 2:45 p.m., 30th July.
"Hello! "Yes" "Well we got down there and found that the 2nd Division and 1st Division Artillery were holding it, getting ready for the big push I suppose".
"Yes, Oh! all right".

An example of utter carelessness.

Station called - MC, 5:50 p.m., 30th July
"Will you get an officer on the 'phone, please."
"This is O.P. speaking. The Colonel gave no instructions to follow up any wire or machine gun emplacements I could see. I could call up any Battery. I've located a machine gun strong point at H.31.d.55.28. I can register on it. I don't know how many rounds I'll see on it."
"How many have you got".
"We have 350 rounds, but we can't fire all that on a machine gun emplacement".
"How many will do, about 100?" "How many did you use on the wire?"
"About 150".

Conversation 8:30 p.m. 27/7/17, D.Station "A" Section.

Speaking from O.P.
"Heinie is trying to put the wind up us; dropped a 6 inch about 50 yards in front of us". "We have got to shoot 400 rounds tonight, yet. On the average they're supposed to fire 700 rounds a day - that's the battery, you know."


6TH August 1917.


4th. Canadian I. Bde. (6)
5th. Canadian I. Bde. (6)
6th. Canadian I. Bde. (6)
2nd, C.D.A. (30)
63rd H.A.G. (20)
C.R.E. (4)
Signals. (1)
D.M.G.O. (6)


The above report of the O.C., 2nd Canadian Divisional Signal Company is forwarded for information.

A large amount of unnecessary conversations still takes place. Please take the necessary action to have this stopped forthwith.

(signed) Macintyre
Major G.S.
for Lieut. Colonel G.S.
2nd. Canadian Division.


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