Wireless Telegraph Communications in the Canadian Corps
GENERAL REPORT ON WIRELESS TELEGRAPH COMMUNICATION IN THE CANADIAN CORPS FROM FEBRUARY 1915 TO DECEMBER 1918
Written by: Captain W. Arthur Steel, Corps Wireless Officer for Chief Signal Officer Canadian Corps, 16 April 1919.
- (1) November 1915 to July 1918, the period of development and progress during trench warfare.
- (2) The operations at Amiens 1918, the first period of open warfare.
- (3) The operations at Arras, 1918.
- (4) Queant to Bonn, 1918.
- 1 Part 1
- 1.1 (a) SPARK WIRELESS AND INTERCEPTION OF ENEMY WIRELESS TRAFFIC.
- 1.2 (b) IT AND POLICING WORK – POWER BUZZERS AND AMPLIFIERS.
- 1.3 (c) C.W. WIRELESS.
- 2 Part 2
- 2.1 WIRELESS COMMUNICATION, CANADIAN CORPS, AMIENS AUGUST 8th to August 22, 1918
- 2.1.1 1. DISPOSITION
- 2.1.2 2. OPERATION (a) SPARK.
- 2.1.3 2. OPERATION (b) C.W. SETS WITH C.C.F.A.
- 2.1.4 2. OPERATION (c) C.W. SETS WITH INDEPENDENT FORCE.
- 2.1.5 2. OPERATION (d) C.W. SETS ON LIAISON.
- 2.1.6 2. OPERATION (e) INTERCEPTION STATION.
- 2.1.7 3. SUMMARY AND SUGGESTIONS.
- 2.1.8 Message Summary - Wireless. Aug 8th - Aug 19th, 1918
- 2.2 REPORTS ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING AMIENS OFFENSIVE, Aug. 8th - Aug. 22nd, 1918. (Canadian Divisional Signal Companies)
- 2.1 WIRELESS COMMUNICATION, CANADIAN CORPS, AMIENS AUGUST 8th to August 22, 1918
- 3 Part 3
- 3.1 (1) EXISTING W/T COMMUNICATION.
- 3.2 (2) PREPARATIONS FOR THE ATTACK.
- 3.3 (3) OPERATION DURING FIRST ATTACK, AUG. 26TH - SEPT. 1ST.
- 3.4 (4) PREPARATION.
- 3.5 (5) OPERATION DURING SECOND PHASE, BEGINNING SEPT. 2nd.
- 3.6 A. APPLICATION OF PREVIOUS SUGGESTIONS.
- 3.7 B. FURTHER SUGGESTIONS ARISING FROM ARRAS OPERATIONS.
- 3.8 REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG 26TH - SEPT. 10TH, 1918. 1ST CANADIAN DIVISION.
- 3.9 REPORT OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG. 26TH - SEPT. 10TH, 1918. 2ND CANADIAN DIVISION.
- 3.10 REPORT OF C.W. WIRELESS COMMUNICATION, 2ND CDN. DIV. ARTY. Period - August 31st. to Sept. 6th, 1918.
- 3.11 REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG. 26TH-SEPT.10TH,1918. 3RD CANADIAN DIVISON.
- 3.12 REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG. 26TH - SEPT. 10TH, 1918. 4TH Canadian Division.
- 3.13 TRAFFIC HANDLED BY WIRELESS - AUGUST 26TH TO SEPTEMBER 10TH 1918
- 4 Part 4
- 5 Appendices
- 5.1 Appendix A - Fullerphone/Amplifier Investigation Results.
- 5.2 Appendix B - Apparatus on Forward Station, Passchendaele Operations.
- 5.3 Appendix C - R.A. C.W. Communications.
- 5.4 Appendix D - Instructions to Section Personnel.
- 5.5 Appendix E - Wireless Communication during move forward.
- 5.6 Appendix F - Traffic Summary - Mons to Bonn.
- 5.7 Appendix G - Wireless Equipment and Personnel Recommendations.
- 6 Notes
The first subdivision is not written in sufficient detail to show all the attempts made to utilise Wireless, but an attempt has been made to show the gradual development from a mere toy to an efficient and useful system of communication. I. This section has been again divided into three parts as follows :-
- (a) Spark Wireless and Interception of Enemy Wireless Traffic.
- (b) IT and Policing work. Power Buzzers and Amplifiers.
- (c) C.W. Wireless.
(a) SPARK WIRELESS AND INTERCEPTION OF ENEMY WIRELESS TRAFFIC.
The first instance of the use of Wireless by any Canadian Unit in France, was during May, June and July, 1915, when Sappers Carter and Max of the Headquarters Section, 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company built and operated a press set at Divisional Headquarters. Newspapers were a great luxury in France at this time, so the Wireless Press soon became very popular. Press was taken from Poldhu and Eiffel Tower, also propaganda from Austrian, Russian and German stations.
During 1914 and for 10 months of 1918 all Wireless in France had been controlled and operated by the Army Wireless Companies but on November 5th 1915, a start was made towards the organization of Corps Sections, when schools were started at all Army headquarters. Twenty three men from the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions were sent to Cassel to the first course held in the Second Army. Later on, these men formed the nucleus of the Canadian Corps W/T Section. A proportion of senior N.C.O’s had been sent on this course and of these, Staff Sergeant Manson was selected to take charge of the work and was sent to England for his commission. In January 1916, 18 men returned to the Corps in charge of Sergeant Sharpe and the following stations were erected in the Ploegsteert area.
- (1) A Corps Reception and Control Station at Corps Headquarters Bailleul, consisting of a Wilson Transmitter and Mk III Short Wave receiver.
- (2) A Sterling Transmitter and Mk II Receiver and Westhoff Farm, Report Centre for the 1st Canadian Division.
- (3) A similar set to (2) at 2nd Division Headquarters, Westoutre.
Towards the end of January, the first two B.F. sets were introduced in the Corps and placed one at 3rd Brigade headquarters, Red Lodge, Hill 63, and the other at 4th Brigade Headquarters, La Clyte.
The Control set for the Amry was a Marconi Lorry erected at Renninghelst.
During the first few months, the big difficulty experienced was the supply and recharging of batteries. Only two accumulators were supplied per station, one to be on charge and one on the set. The 1st Division had their charging done at the M.T. Company at Bailleul and the 2nd Division at the Second Army, Cassel. These distances were great and transport so limited that stations were often out of business due to a shortage of accumulators.
Work of 1st Canadian Division Station.
There was no real work done by any of the stations during the early months, exchanging of signals and messages re stations and supplies were all that passed. This station was located in an Armstrong Hut on the cross-roads, North East of Westhoff Farm and a few days after it opened up, the enemy dropped some H.V. shells very close to the station. This gave rise at once, to the idea that the Hun was locating Headquarters by Wireless and the set was moved to an open field near Neuve Eglise and operated for several hours to see if the enemy would follow it up. The experiment was not successful. Another adventure in the history of this station was when the operators were ordered to take their rifles and a B.F. set and go out searching for a spy set supposed to be operating in the area. This also failed.
Work of the 2nd Canadian Division Station.
The first real Wireless work in the Corps was handled by this station in March during the re-taking of International Trench. The set was moved up to Battle headquarters, Sherpenberg Hill and erected in General Turner’s room. Considerable business was handled to the 4th Brigade during the night.
On March 27th, the Corps moved to the Salient and about the same time, the personnel of the 3rd Canadian Division, who had been sent to the Second Army school for a course, returned and were sent with the division into the line. During the first week of April, Lieut. Broadbelt took charge of the Section, Lieut. Mansan having been injured in a motorcycle accident. At this period, the Wireless came under the control of the Corps for the first time.
The following stations were established and operated on this front, the sets being attached to Divisions and Brigades as shown :-
- (1) A Wilson Transmitter and Mk III receiver at Renninghelst replacing the Army Central lorry.
- (2) A BAR Receiver and Sterling Transmitter at Dug-Outs behind Belgium Chateau, report centre for CIC.
- (3) Wilson and Mk II receiver at Wall Garden, Dickebush. This set was not attached to anyone in particular.
- (4) A B.F. set at the Bund, Zillebeke Lake, for 9th Cdn. Inf. Bde.
- (5) B.F. set at Bedford House for 1st Cdn. Inf. Bde.
- (6) B.F. set at Speil Bank, Battalion Headquarters.
- (7) B.F. set at Sanctuary Wood for the sacrifice guns of the 7th. Battery.
- (8) B.F. set at Voerneselle for 6th Brigade.
Units had not yet become accustomed to the use of Wireless and as a result practically nothing was ever seat that way except practice messages or requests for rations and accumulators. Also since the personnel available was very limited only two men were sent to forward stations and the sets were manned for the 10 minutes in the hour only, except for Corps and CYCR who kept continuous service. This left the operators considerable spare time and as a result press sets of all types and descriptions began to make their appearance. The supply of suitable material was very limited and considerable ingenuity was displayed in the design and construction; everything being used from magnet wire G.P. twin and hairpin wire. A short description of two especially successful sets is given below:-
On at CYCR, constructed by Pte Carleton, was wound on a frame constructed from barrel heads and laths, with a secondary wound on a cheese drum. For adjustments coils of fine hairpin wire wound on S.R.D. jars were connected in primary and secondary and shifted about on the table to give different degrees of coupling and to alter the wavelength. Signals received were remarkably good and tuning very sharp.
The set a Eillebeke lake, built by Pre Adams, was wound of G.P. twin on a rum jar case, 4’ long, with the corners rounded off to prevent sharp kinks in the wire. The secondary was composed of two layers of hairpin wire wound on a whole cheese case. The Inductance switch was built up form parts of electric lamp sockets salvaged in Ypres and the condenser of two accumulator plates suspended over one another and adjusted by means of a string running over a pulley. The detector was Periken cyrstals stuck in a match box filled with wax. But it worked. Later on the crase shifted to pancake coils made up from wire salvaged from a research laboratory in Ypres. Every operator carried a press set in his pocket then.
About the middle of May, shoots were carried out by Wireless for a 9.2” Battery near CYCN, with good success. A telephone line was run out from the Eillebeke station to the F.O.O. at China Wall and another line from the guns to CYCR. The distance was about 6000 yards and B.F. sets used at either end. Four successful sheets were carried out, the last one resulting in a miracle,- for the W/T operator. After the second shot, the F.O.O. signalled “drop 10” but “fortunately or unfortunately” the operator in using the code made it “10 right”. The mistake was discovered too late, needless to say, the W/T personnel were greatly relieved when the F.O.O. signalled “An O.K. CI”.
Use of Wireless During June Fighting 1916.
On the second of June, although the attack began about 7.00 a.m. and practically all lines were down, no work was given to the Bund Station until 3.00 p.m. when a message of 250 words was handed in and sent. From then on, numerous messages to Corps and Division were handled. Although all stations tried to raise the set at the Sacrifice Guns, it was never heard. At 2.00 a.m. the next day, Sapper Hood arrived at the Bund stations, wounded and reported that the shrapnel barrage kept cutting the aerials, finally both operators went on the guns until the last minute. Sapper Chambers, the second operator, was killed getting out. Although enemy patrols came within 80 yards of the Bund station it was not evacuated.
For the retaking of the ground, a week or so later, a special set was erected at 1st Canadian Inf. Bde. Headquarters at Railway Dugouts as an auxiliary to the Bund station. Little work resulted however.
The first charging set for the Section was secured about this time. A lighting set at Transport Farm, which had been abandoned by the Brigade, being taken over. Previous to this, all charging had been handled by Army and the 1st Division M.T. company at Hoograaf.
During the last week of June, an attempt was made by the 3rd Division M.G. Company to use Wireless for communication forward ot their O.P’s. Four BAR receiving sets were installed in their O.P’s and the transmission was from the Bund Station using a special code. The system was tested out thoroughly and worked, but the Army stopped its use on account of the special code employed.
Three new pieces of apparatus appeared about this time, the first being a form of Valve Detector for the Mk III tuner. It utilised a French Valve and was coupled to the receiver by means of two small pancake coils. It was tried out at the Corps station and was found to be very sensitive. The second was the present short – circuiting device for B.F. sets and the third a two valve French Amplifier.
A Ballet set for charging accumulators was received from Army about July 15th and was installed at Renninghelst, the set at Transport Farm having gone out of commission. The reserve stock of accumulators for the Corps, 7 all told, were held there.
Wireless in the Somme Fighting.
On August 2nd, the W/T Section of the 2nd Anzac Corps relieved the Canadian Corps Section and the next day the Section of 23 men and all equipment was shipped off in a 3-ton lorry for the Somme. On August the 3rd the Corps Central Stations relieved the Pack Set of the Reserve Army at Tara Hill and took over the Control work. Three days later the entire section moved to Tara Hill and the following dispositions of stations was made; divisional working being dropped for the time being :-
- (1) Control Set at Tara Hill.
- (2) B.F. Set at Gibraltar in Posieres.
- (3) B.F. Set in dug-outs across main Albert Road from (2). This set was moved later to X 15 central, the Brigade Headquarters and again to the Sugar Refinery for the taking of Courcelette.
- (4) B.F. set at N test point near Ovilliers. This set never operated from this location.
The Charging for all stations was handled by the Corps lighting lorry at Contay, batteries being delivered by ration lorry to Tara Hill station.
On August 10th, a 70’ mast was received from Army and erected at Usna Hill, the D.S. being moved to this point about the same time. There was very little message work still, although lines were bad, so the station copied all English, French and German Press, interpreters being attached to translate the French and German.
For the attack on Moquet Farm, the Gibraltar set was moved to Battalion Headquarters near some 18 pounder guns in X 2 b sheet 57 D S.E. When the barrage opened, the first shot carried the one mast about 50 yards down the field. It was repaired later and handled several S.O.S. calls during the day.
On September 15th, when the Canadians captured the Sugar refinery, the second Posieres set was moved to Battalion Headquarters just left of the Refinery. This was a useful station and handled about a dozen important messages to Brigade and Division. In the afternoon, when the attack was continued against Courcelette the station moved up with Battalion headquarters and remained there until the 23rd. Considerable traffic was handled from the new location. It was impossible to maintain telephone communication from Battalion Headquarters to the front line and an attempt was made to cover the gap by Wireless. A trench 30 yards long and tapering from 10’ at one end to 5 ft at the other, was dug 200 yards behind the front line and a B.F. set was erected there. The idea of the trench was to allow the aerials to be repaired without exposing the men. Nothing was ever received from the station as the 3rd Division,- one ZG to Neuville St Vaast to a Battalion Headquarters and the other ZQ to their Report Centre on the Mont St. Elroy – Arras road. ZB station was destroyed on January 18th by a direct hit from a Minnenwerfer, Spr. Laurie who was on the station being dug out the following morning.
Wireless During the Vimy Fighting.
For the operations on April 9th, the following dispositions of Wireless sets was made:-
- The Corps D.S. and advanced dump was moved to Aurits Corner on the night of April 8th and erected at the Adv. 2nd Divn. HQ.
- For the 1st Division a Trench set was erected at Maison Blanche at Advanced Division Headquarters.
- and two other B.F. sets, one at Ben Tata Tunnel for 3rd Bde. And the other at Labyrinth for 2nd Bde.
On the Second Divn front, two trench sets were erected one at Machine Gun Fort and another at Zivy Cave working back to the Corps D.S. at Au Ritz Cave.
The Third Division moved their set form the R.C. near Mont St. Eloy to Brigade headquarters in Territorial Trench just east of the Arras – Souches road. A second B.F. set was placed at machine Gun Fort but did little work. An attempt was made to establish a D.S. for 3rd Division at Fort George but it was not successful.
The station at Right Battalion Headquarters near Tottenham Tunnel was left for the 4th Division and in addition a set was erected near Sonches on the left front. This latter station was not operated.
There was little attention paid to Wireless and few attempts were made to utilise it, chiefly because units were not acquainted with its uses and limitations, and also because there was no proper organization or establishments provided. During the first few days all stations moved several times following up the Brigades and Divisions but little work was handled, except by the second Division stations. About two weeks after the original attack, the advances station located with battalion headquarters at the Beehive handled an S.O.S. call in clear in calling for artillery support against a Hun counter-attack. Assistance was secured six minutes after the message had been sent. From that time on, there was a small amount of business for this station.
After the first attack, lateral communication between divisions became extremely difficult and the divisional sets did some inter-divisional traffic.
About May 15th, Lieut Mansan left the section for England where he went on some special work for the navy, Lieut Jones taking his place as Corps W/T Officer. Lieut. Skinner, who was acting as W/T Officer for the 3rd and 4th Divisions was wounded about this time.
The next important step in connection with Wireless in the Corps was the sub-division of the Corps Section and the formation of the Divisional sub-sections. This occurred during the first week of July 1917 and from this date on, real progress was made in Wireless in the Corps. Each Division was given an N.C.O. and 9 operators and for equipment 2 B.F. sets, 3 power buzzers and 2 amplifiers, also accumulators at the rate of 2 per station. All charging was handled by the charging lorry at Corps and delivered as required to the Divisions. The system of communication was to have the B.F. sets out with the Brigades and all messages handled through the Corps D.S., which was located at Hill 181 near the Arras - Scuchek Road. This station was in telegraphic and telephonic communication with Corps.
With the establishment of the Divisional Sections, the Divisional Signal Companies began to take an interest in Wireless and Power Buzzer work. Men were detailed to Brigades to operate the sets and as far as possible, to move with the Brigades. This ave the Brigade Sections an extra interest in the work.
At this time, the writer was Signal Officer with the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade, and the use made of Wireless in that Brigade is given as an example of what was happening in most of the Brigades in the Corps. The operators were taken in as a part of the section for clothing and rations and accommodation secured for the set and personal whenever the Brigade moved. The station was always in telephonic communication with the signal office and was usually provided with a Fullerphone whenever it was too far away for an orderly to handle the messages. A number of docket and SG messages were handled daily and steps were taken to interest the staff in the work and in the use of the Field Cipher Code. During periods of rest the personnel were used as instructors in Power – Amplifier work with the battalion signal sections. Especially good men from these courses being given an opportunity to get some experience on the W/T set when the Brigade went into the line again. In this way good W/T operators were secured in the Division.
The third Division very successfully employed one of their B.F. sets at Divisional Headquarters – working direct to the other set located at one of the brigades in the line. This division was the first to appoint a Divisional Wireless Officer.
During the Passchendaele fighting, there was little chance for Spark Wireless. The Corps D.S. was located on the Canal Bank just north of the Menin Gate. This station was wrecked by a direct hit just before the first attack but was re-erected using an 80’ mast. It was too far back to be of real use and an advanced D.S. was sent to CYAR at Kansas Cross. The rear station was used chiefly for C.W., both sets using the same masts for their aerials. In fact the Spark operators, Sappers Davidson, Beilsel and Patmore did more of the receiving for the C.W. set, as they had all been training on Woolwich sets and were fast operators.
It was impossible for the Brigade B.F. sets to work, as dug-out and pill-box accommodation was too limited and it was impossible to keep up aerials in the forward areas.
A Corps Directing Station was erected at first near Levi Cottages, just north of Lonnebeke Village. This set was destroyed by a direct hit and it was very evident that the enemy was ranging the station by means of a compass set. Whenever the station began sending the enemy started to shell. He was evidently under the impression that it was a large headquarters. None of the personnel were injured, but the station was not re-erected.
On return to the Vimy front in December much the same arrangements were made as existed just previous to the trip to Ypres. During the next two months, all Divisions appointed Wireless Officers from the Signal Companies. The writer taking over this work for the 4th Canadian Division. During February 1918 additional Wilson Sets were secured and each Division took over its own control and message work.
The equipment of each Division now consisted of a Wilson and Mk III Tuner for Divisional Headquarters and 3 B.F. sets one to each Brigade. With Wireless Officers at each Division it was easy to work up interest in Wireless Communication and classes for Officers were held in Field Cipher and Codes.
All messages were in code, except Docket messages or unimportant messages of four or five words which were sent in clear. This was on account of the danger of giving away the cipher used. A large amount of traffic was handled during the first four months of 1918, there being quite a rivalry between the divisions as to who should have the greatest daily average. About this time orders came out from Corps that all units to which Wireless stations were attached should arrange to send at least 6 messages per day. These messages were to be coded by the staff. The messages were sent, but in most cases the coding was done by the operators on the set.
All the divisions and most of the Brigades operated special Press sets, the news being typed off and distributed to the various offices and messes. The Corps station copied and translated all press, French, German, Italian, etc. This was typed and distributed throughout the Corps by the early morning D.R. run. The Press was especially welcome during the March, April and May fighting.
About the 1st of March all Divisions were equipped with a 3 K.W. Lister P.E.L. set for charging and lighting and from that time on handled all their own work. The new establishments for Corps and Divisional W/T Sections – in both personnel and equipment – came out during this period and the strength was increased to 18 operators. Loop Sets and the new combined Power Buzzed Amplifiers were introduced early in 1918 but only in sufficient numbers to be used for demonstrations and for instructional purposes.
Authority was granted about the first of February for the formation of Brigade Power Buzzer and Loop Set Pools. These were composed of 6 men from each Battalion pooled under the Brigade Signal Officer. Classes were begun at once by the Divisions for the training of these men.
The Corps was withdrawn from the line on the 9th of May, and during the period of rest, extensive training was carried on, special attention being paid to schemes and the employment of Wireless in Open Warfare. Also combined Power Buzzer and Amplifier sets and Loop Sets were secured in sufficient quantities to equip all Divisions and the Corps practically to establishment.
On the 15th of June, the writer took over the work of Corps Wireless Officer, when Lieut. Jones went to the C.C.H.A. At this time preparations were made for the establishment of a Corps Wireless School to be run in connection with the Canadian Corps Signal School at Aubin St Vaast. Lieut N.W. Dawson was secured from the 1st Division to take charge of the work. He had been W/T Officer for CYA for some time previous and acted as W/T Officer for C.C.H.A. at Amiens and for part of the Arras fighting before proceeding to the school.
Instructors were provided from the Corps and Divisional Sections and two courses were run concurrently, on in C.W., and the other in Power Buzzzer Amplifier and Loop Set work. Two complete courses were handled in each subject before the Armistice.
Wireless Interception in the Corps.
The first attempt made in the Corps to intercept and decode enemy Wireless messages was about the middle of August 1917, when the station consisting of a Mk III Tuner and 3 valve Amplifier was erected in the Bois de Riaumont. It was tried with the idea of discovering whether the Hun short range, Company to Battalion, set could be picked up. It proved to be a very successful experiment. There was little jamming, even from aeroplanes, and an average of 120 messages per day were taken. These were sent twice a day to the Brigade in Lievia to be forwarded by D.R. Any special important messages, such as messages in clear, were forwarded to Corps at once by Fuller Phones. One very important message in clear was handled by this station.
About the 1st of September, a powerful station was erected at Berthonval Farm to send out time signals to all artillery and Infantry sets in the Corps, but on September 18th both these stations were moved to Bouvigay hill near C.C.H.A. headquarters. An 80’ and a 70’ mast were erected and a Wilson set installed for time signals. Time was sent out at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. using the French system. On return from Ypres in December, this station was again operated. A large squirrel cage and 8 directional aerials were erected for special work. Two large press aerials were used and all press for the Corps taken by this station.
Both telegraph and telephone communication was secured to Corps and all messages sent there direct as taken. At first the traffic only amounted to 50 messages daily but came up to about 80 during the March offensive.
During the Allied retreat in march and April practically all the W/T stations of the Thrid and Fourth Armies were sending in clear. As much as possible of this traffic was intercepted and forwarded direct ot the Corps Staff by Wireless. For a month of this time all Canadian Corps sets were silent except for emergency working, tuning signals being sent by the Corps D.S. once daily.
The following special instance of the use of this station is give. On March 15th a priority message was copied and sent at once to Army. When deciphered it gave complete information about a Hun attack on Hill 70. This information was in the hands of the Staff, half an hour before zero hour. The attack came off but was not a success.
Part of the success of this station was due to the fact that a German multiple tuner, which had been taken at Farbus Wood during the Vimy fighting, was used for interception. The tuning was very sharp and close and by its use stations could be heard that the Army could not pick up.
Every morning complete information, about the calls and wavelengths of the enemy sets on our front, was received from Intelligence at Army.
(b) IT AND POLICING WORK – POWER BUZZERS AND AMPLIFIERS.
It is not yet known just when the German Army began to do interception work on our telephone lines, but it must have been very early in the war, almost as soon as it settled down to more or less definite Trench Warfare. It is known that this method of using the Valve Amplifier was known to the German Army before the war, and in all probability both instruments and trained personnel were available before August 1915.
It is certain that when the 1st Canadian Division came to France in February 1915, the Hun had these stations in use and much of the leakage of information attributed to spies in our midst, was due to their use. The enemy was always aware of all our reliefs and he even knew the numbers of the battalions in the line and in some cases the names of the Battalion and Company Commanders. Just when or how the allies discovered that he was obtaining this information from our telephone systems, it is impossible to say, but in the fall of 1915, the French began experimenting with Amplifiers, with the object of intercepting enemy telephone messages. The British took up the work almost at once and the first station on the British Front was installed at Neuvill St Vaast in April 1916. Why these stations were called IT stations it is hard to say, but they have been known by this name ever since the first set was put into operation.
The personnel of this station consisted of German interpreters, telegraph operators and linemen, picked from various English units in France. When the Canadian Corps took over this front in October 1916, this station was attached to the Corps and the question at once rose of manning it with Canadian personnel, if suitable men could be found. A canvas was made and the first Canadian IT men were sent ot the W/T School, Compagne le Nesdin, on October the 20th 1916.
After a course on Amplifiers and Intelligence work, these men returned and the fist Canadian IT post was established about the 1st of January 1917 at the Neuville St Vaast station, now called No 6 Post. The apparatus in use consisted of a French 6 valve Amplifier of the type commonly known as the “Grand Piano”. Although clumsy and bulky, this instrument gave better results than much of the more modern types of English and French Amplifiers. Both earths and loops were used on this station; the best results were obtained from a loop running through a nine gallery practically under the enemy front line. This station always gave good results and on several occasions information concerning intended raids was picked up in time to make artillery and Machine Gun preparation.
In February, this station was moved to Vimy Ridge, near the Pimple. Loops were put out but no earths and the results from this station were never very satisfactory. About the same time, a station, manned by English personnel, was installed in Colonne and gave excellent results, a great deal of German conversation being obtained every day. During February also, a third station was installed in Tottenham Tunnel on the Ridge.
It was about this time that the policing of our own telephone lines began. The Blue Bull tunnel station which was not getting much German, did the most of this work. It was very difficult to persuade our own people, especially officers, that there was any need for caution when using the telephone. It was only by taking pages and pages of our own telephone conversation and passing it through he Staff, that any improvement could be effected. Very drastic regulations were drawn up and special checks were made to prevent talking over the telephone, especially ahead of Brigade Headquarters. By a concentrated effort, telephone discipline in the Canadian Corps was greatly improved before April 9th, as was proved by reports from German IT Posts captured during the Vimy fighting.
The first IT Post to be established after the taking of the Ridge, was in Vimy village, about the third week of April. This stations did little real interception but was valuable for the policing work which it was able to do. It was also used as a receiving station for forward Power Buzzers. During the first four months of 1917 about 12 or 15 additional Canadian personnel were trained at the GHQ School and added to the section which now totalled about twenty IT operators and Interpreters.
The next set installed was at Farbus Wood, where German conversation was again picked up. This station did some very useful work, and several letters of congratulations were received from Intelligence in connection with the work of this set.
During May and June, the amount of enemy conversation heard by these sets greatly decreased, as Germans appeared to be cutting down on telephone communication in the forward areas and replacing it by a very elaborate Power Buzzer system. From this time on, the interception was chiefly of Power Buzzer messages in clear and code.
In May 1917, the old “Grand Piano” type of amplifier was abandoned in favor of a new 8 valve French, and the C Mk I and C Mk II Woolwich Amplifiers. These later types were almost as sensitive as the old French model, but were very much lighter and more portable.
During the first week of July, a new station was erected in Lievin, near Brigade headquarters, as a check on the traffic over our own lines. Telephone discipline was becoming slack again and about this time further regulations were put into force and any telephone exchange was required to register all conversations passing through the exchange. These registers were sent in to the Staff weekly.
Some time before the operations at Hill 70, a fourth Post was established in Cite St Pierre. This station was particularly successful, as they were in a salient in the enemy line and had succeeded in tapping an old enemy buried cable which ran diagonally across the salient.
Just before the attack on Hill 70, the Lievin station was moved up to Hill 70 and located near a battalion headquarters. A large number of German Power Buzzer messages were picked up by this station but as they were all in code, their importance can not be definitely know. Policing work was also carried out here.
During August, the second draft from the GHQ School was received, consisting of seven interpreter operators. This greatly strengthened the section and it was then possible to make more frequent reliefs on the four Posts in the Corps area.
Early in September, the St Pierre station was moved to Klen di Louwette on the Lens – Arras road. This was one of the best stations ever established in the Corps. The earths were place in the bed of the Souches river and in the canal, an in addition an old German water main was utilized. 12 to 15 pages of German was obtained every day. This was of great use to the I Branch who were busy at that time, deciphering the new German code.
No IT work was attempted during the time the Corps was on the Ypres front in October and November, 1917, the men being employed on other duties.
On the November, when the Corps returned to the Lens sector two stations were established, #5 Post in Cite du Moulin and #6 Post in Avion Road near Beaver Trench. The first station was very successful, especially in Power Buzzer interception but the second was too far from the line and finally became more or less a Police Set.
An interesting proof of the use of IT sets by the Germans came to light on this station and is given briefly below; it also shows the difficulty encountered in educating both officers and men in the proper use of the telephone, even after three years of Active Service.
Some 5.9’s were dropping near a heavy Trench Mortar Battery and the operator on the IT set, overheard the F.O.O. call up the Bombardier in charge and ask whether damage was being done. The Bombardier replied “No, they are falling about 150 towards to our left, Sir”. Although the Hun had been pounding away for over an hour, it only took him fifteen minutes to switch and put the Mortar out of action, incidentally killing the Bombardier and all but one of the crew. This statement is vouched for, as the battery was not more than 200 yards from the IT Post.
During February 1918, another interesting fact was brought to light through the work of #5 Post. It was discovered that under certain circumstances, Fullerphone messages could be picked up by Amplifier sets. This fact was very fully investigated at the time and resulted in strict precautionary measures being taken. An accounting of this investigation and the steps taken to avoid further trouble will be found in Appendix A of this report.
During March, the third big draft of It men was received; they were all Canadian personnel training at the GHQ School.
In April a third Post was established just north o fLoos and the old station at Kleu dit Leavette was also reopened. Little German was intercepted during this period as the enemy seemed to have become very cautious.
During April a special listening set was established for Police work in the areas around Brigade and Divisional Headquarters. This was intended as a check on our own lines and it only remained for a few days in any one location. It was very successful. The Corps was out of the line from May 9th to July 15th during which period only training was carried on. On taking over the Arras Front in July, two stations were established, one near Garrelle, and the other just north of Tilloy Crossroads on the Arras – Cambrai road. Little work was done by these stations as the Corps was only in the line for two weeks.
This ended the IT work in the Corps as no attempts were made subsequent to August 8th, to establish Posts ; all the personnel being employed on P.O.W Cage work and on C.W. and Spark Wireless Stations.
Power Buzzer-Amplifier Work.
The first Power Buzzer work done in the Corps was the establishment of an experimental Post in July 1916, near Valley Cottages, in the Salient. A Power Buzzer was installed at Maple Copse working back to a model II French 3 valve amplifier, better known as a “Grand Piano”. The distance was not over 800 yards but good results were obtained. A week later, the first Power buzzer and Valve Course was started at Second Army and was attended by four W/T men from the Corps.
The next appearance was on the Somme about a month later. The Amplifier was installed at D Point in the Cemetery at Posieres and the Power Buzzer sent to Battalion Headquarters new Moquet Farm. The only use made of the Amplifier, was just previous to the attack, the line went dis on one side from Brigade to D point and the amplifier was hitched in enabling the Brigadier to give some last special orders to the Battalion Commander.
The first Power Buzzer Course in the First Army began at Cheques on December 27th 1916 and again four W/T men were sent. This course only lasted four days. Following this course some instructional work was carried out among the Battalion signallers’ demonstrations were given and the sets were moved around among the various Brigades.
During the Vimy attack, some good work was done in front of machine Gun Fort for the 3rd Division. A Power Buzzer had been taken over by the Company signallers and worked back to Battalion Headquarters, a distance of about 600 yards, but it was a bad gap, from a lineman’s point of view. 19 messages were handled during the first day, lines being scarcely ever in.
On the right of this again, a set at Goodman Tunnel did considerable work with a Company headquarters about 800 yards in front. Sapper Corbett of the W/T Section was in charge of the forward set and had the interesting experience of walking into Spandan Hof Tunnel and finding four Germans still at breakfast. In the mud and darkness, he had gotten ahead of the infantry. Being suddenly confronted with the business end of a Colt automatic, the Huns decided that discretion was the better part of valour.
The 11th Brigade had some success in front of Tottenham Tunnel during the first two days. All these sets continue dot work for nearly a week, with fair results, moving forward as the line advanced.
During the summer months, considerable work was done by the Brigade and battalion sections and results were good on the whole. The chief difficulties encountered were :-
- (1) The weight of the instruments and accumulators which had to be carried into the line.
- (2) The excessive jamming form D 3 circuits and telephone circuits in the immediate vicinity.
- (3) The difficulty of maintaining earth leads in the forward areas.
When it is considered that the Company signallers had to carry all the Company signalling equipment in addition to the Power Buzzer and Amplifier apparatus, it is not to be wondered that coils of earth lead and heavy accumulators often disappeared between Brigade Headquarters and the front line. For successful working a forward base of 150 to 200 yards was required. This required considerable maintenance and the usual result was that during heavy shelling, when the telephone lines were cut, the earth leads were cut also. The only way to avoid this would be to bury in the earths, but it was difficult to get working parties for this purpose and signal sections were never able to do it themselves. There were never enough Fullerphones for Battalion and Brigade requirements and as a result messages in Code were continually being sent by D 3 phone. Neither the buried cable or the overland lines were perfect and as a result jamming was very bad on the Amplifiers at the receiving end.
The new type Combined Power Buzzer – Amplifier was an improvement on the separate instruments being lighter and easier to handle, but accumulators were still a difficulty. The note from these sets was high pitched and easy to read. The Amplifier, the new C Mk III type, was very sensitive, in fact too sensitive as it made an excellent IT set and also most of the sets installed were badly jammed by the wireless transmission from Eiffel Tower.
It is not considered that Power Buzzer work was worth the time devoted to it. Before it can be successful, Special Power Buzzer Sections will have to be established, as has been done in the German Army. Also lighter instruments and accumulators will have to be constructed. It is considered that more success would have been achieved if this time and energy had been spent in the development of the Loop Set, especially in Trench warfare.
(c) C.W. WIRELESS.
While experimental work had been carried on at GHQ for some months previous, the first attempt to put C.W. wireless on a really practical basis was in January 1917, when a course was started at Campaigne for Wireless Staff-Sergeants only. This course lasted three weeks and was followed almost at only by a course for operators. There were ten Canadian on this course which lasted three weeks, but at the termination of the course proper, half the Canadians were given ten days on experimental work at GHQ.
On March 1st 1917, a C.W. Course was started by the first Army at Choeques and between forty and fifty Canadian Artillery personnel attended the course. Six of the Canadian Operators from the first GHQ course were selected as instructors,- one for each of the six Woolwich sets in use. The course lasted three weeks and was highly successful. About 15 really good men were turned out but unfortunately were allowed to return to their units and were never on W/T work in the Corps. The Stanley set was first introduced at this course but it was not a success then and was condemned by Captain Stanley himself, who sent it back to GHQ for further experimental work. Following this immediately, was a second course at Choeques, at which twenty Canadians attended, but it was run by N.C.O’s from the First Army Section and from GHQ.
At the start, there was no C.W. Section in the Canadian Corps, but the Canadian personnel who were in the First Army Section were attached to the Corps for duty with the Artillery, as it had been decided that C.W. sets were to be used exclusively for field and heavy artillery. The first four stations were put out about April 1st 1917, two to the thirteenth H.A.G and two to the 64th H.A.G. For the 13th H.A.G., the rear station in charge of Sapper Neaps was erected at Maroeuil and the forward set at O.P. LN 21 just in front of and a little north of Neuvill St Vaast. The rear station for the 64th h.A.G. was at Loue in charge of Sapper Beisel, with the forward set near Zivy Cave. Spr. Davidson was in charge of this station. Captain Bolithe of the First Army Wireless Section was in charge of these stations which were the only sets in use on the British front at that time. It was an experiment only. No one from GHQ forward, with the exception of the operators themselves, had any confidence in the practical utility of the sets.
On the start there was a certain amount of delay, due to accumulator trouble, but within two days all four stations were in good communication on 1000 metres wavelength. The distances front to rear were about 3000 yards and no amplifiers were used, but R 9 signals were obtained at all times. High Tension batteries were used for transmission. Thirty feet aerials were used at the rear stations but only five foot on the forward sets. In fact the aerials were so low, that no jamming whatever was experienced even from aeroplanes overhead.
Considerable work was handled on April 9th, chiefly from F.O.O’s who had gone over with the Infantry. The messages were brought in by runner to the O.P’s and sent back by c.W. Wireless. During the day, both forward sets were moved, the Zivy Cave station to Tilleuls and other to Farbus Wood. This was the first demonstration ever made of C.W. and the artillery were very well pleased with the results.
Towards the end of April, the Canadian personnel were withdrawn form the stations and the First Army carried out some experimental work form the Ridge to Neuville St Vaast. The first Meterodyne Wavemeter was introduced here, spark meters having been used up to this time. This meter was known as the AAR type.
About the 1st of June 1917, Lieut. Fraser of the Canadian Corps Signal Comanpy, took over the C.W. and it became part of the Canadian Corps Signal Company. Also the excellent results secured during the Vimy fighting resulted in another school being organized at Cancourt, the first course beginning on July 15th.
Shortly after Mr. Fraser took charge of the C.W. two stations were erected for the 1st Canadian Heavy Brigade. The rear set at Cabaret Rouge and the forward in an O.P. just east of Red and near Clueas trenches. There was practically no line communication this far forward and during the June fighting around the Electric Power Station and the Triangle, some very valuable work was done; numerous S.O.S. messages and messages re laterations in and observations of barrage fire were forwarded.
About the first of July these two stations were moved, the rear set going to the artillery exchange at Bully – Grenay and the forward on to King’s O.P. on Vimy Ridge. From these positions the first registration by Wireless was carried out in the Corps. This work was in preparation for Hill 70. It was the only way in which that particular Brigade could be registered, as the area covered could not be observed from any other point. It required three days to register the whole Brigade, but results were highly satisfactory. All messages were sent by W/T to the exchange and from there to the Batteries by telephone.
Just before the attack on Hill 70, the C.W. layout was again changed and two additional sets erected. On the left sector one station in Loos village worked back to Bully – Grenay, and on the right there was a station at St Pierre in touch with Aix-Noulette. For the show itself, it was intended that the Loos set should move up to the top of the Ridge and the St Pierre station to Lens Hospice. The left Loos station moved forward with the F.O.O. and erected on the top of Hill 70 at what later became known as Ascot O.P. The other set was never erected as the party were scattered by the shelling and were never able to reassemble.
Little work was done from the Ascot station until about twelve hours after zero when the Hun began his counter-attack. The shell fire was very heavy and it was impossible to keep up lines back to the buried cable in Loos. The artillery had 15 linemen working continuously on this stretch but were hardly ever through. This meant that the F.O.O. was dependant on the wireless and during the first night, five S.O.S. calls were handled in rapid succession and for about twelve days after the attack, some S.O.S. calls were put through every day. A Carden Mk II set cavalry pattern, was tried out here but was not a success and practically all the work was done on a Woolwich Mk I set. Tonie trains were first introduced in the Corps at this time but were not employed for the attack as the personnel had not had sufficient training in their use.
The next occasion on which C.W. Wireless came to the fore, was during the Battle of Passchendaele in October and November 1917. This was the first attempt to put C.W. to a suprime test and it’s success was due entirely to the skill and devotion of the men manning the sets, who under the worst possible conditions and heavy shell fire maintained an aerial which was being show down on an average twenty times a day. Great credit is also due to the men manning the rear station as the jamming there was worse even than the forward station.
The time selected for the attempt was the attack on Passchendaele village itself on November 6th, 1917. The system was planned to provide communication for the F.O.Os of the C.C.H.A. and every precaution was taken to insure success. The personnel were carefully selected and specially trained and all equipment was thoroughly overhauled and dried. In addition plans covering every detail were drawn up and thoroughly explained to the personnel themselves. Four stations were erected all together as explained below – (1) The rear set was at C.C.H.A. headquarters, Vlameringhe Chateau. (2) A combined spark and C.W. station at Division Headquarters, the Ramparts, Ypres. (3) An intermediate or stepping up station on Gallipoli Heights. (4) The forward set going over after the infantry and to be erected in Passchendaele village near the Cross roads.
It was intended that all traffic from and to the forward station should go through Gallipoli for re-transmission, as the station was only 5000 yards from Passchendaele. This however did not work out and all traffic was handled through the station at Ypres.
The party went by car to Capricorn keep early in the morning of November 6th and from there waded through four and a half miles of mud and almost continuous shell-fire. Appendix B gives the list of equipment taken in by the men and when it is remembered that the party only numbered 12 men, some idea can be formed of the superhuman effort demanded.
The party arrived at the spot selected at 9.10 a.m. but could not location the F.O.O., so erected in a Pill Box about 800 yards north. Three aerials were erected all with separate lead-ins so that at least one aerial would always be in commission.
The Wilson set and Mk III Tuner were tried first but no results were obtained as the percussion of the exploding shells made it impossible to keep the crystal adjusted. It was finally discarded in favor of the Woolwich C.W. set and at 9.5 a.m. the station began calling. No reply was received until 2 p.m. when the Divisional Station was heard to answer, but from that time on, the stations were practically never out of touch. Signals were remarkably strong although the distance was slightly over nine miles. The traffic was heavy as it was the only communication which the artillery possessed in this forward area. The messages were chiefly for the Artillery with reference to barrage fire, enemy concentration, registrations, etc. messages were also handled for the infantry such as, calls for extra Machine Guns, Doctors, Stretcher bearers etc., and as an instance of the speed and reliability of the communication, the following instance is relate. “An N.C.O. from the battalion in the line came running into Company Headquarters, which was also the Wireless station, saying that our own barrage was dropping short in our front line. The operator without waiting for orders called C.C.H.A. giving them the time and map location and within five minutes the barrage was lifted.”
Jamming from enemy Spark Stations was very bad but the signals were so strong that it proved to be only a slight drawback.
On the morning of November 8th, the station was shifted to a cellar in Passchendaele Village near the dug-out occupied by the F.O.O.
Reliefs and supplies were sent up to the forward station every 48 hours. The party consisted of a relief of four men and a four man carrying party. On every trip it was necessary to take in rations, water, batteries, aerial wire, valves and a C.W. set, as the rough handling necessitate frequent charging of the sets, no fewer than seven sets being used during the twelve days the station was in operation. Appendix B, gives a list of all the material carried in as well as the names of the men composing the first relief.
On November 7th, Colonel McNaughton, C.B.S.O, for the Corps carried out a test between Wireless and Pigeons. The W/T message was received at C.C.H.A. within 5 minutes of the time it was handed in, in fact, before the pigeon had left the roof of the Pill Box. This use of the C.W. Wireless had quite a favourable effect on the general feeling throughout the Army, about the practicality of C.W. All the messages sent were picked up not only by our own set at Vlamertinghe Chateau, but also at Second Army Headquarters Cassel and at the First Army Wireless School at Tilqued. This last was a distance of over 35 miles. When the Corps returned to the Lens Sector, on November 28th, the C.W. sets were again turned over to the Heavy Artillery group but nothing special was attempted. On January 15th 1918, the four sets of the Corps were loaned to the 10th field Survey group for flash spotting work. One set was placed at Sun quarry O.P. one on Lorette Ridge and the home station at Group headquarters, Aix Noulette. The results were highly satisfactory and the work was continue for about a month. It was at this time, that the first C Mk III C.W. set was tried out in the Corps. It was place at the Sun Quarry station and was very successful.
About the end of February, when the system was adopted of placing a H.A. Group headquarters with each Infantry Headquarters, the sets were recalled to Corps and used bewteen groups and Brigades to duplicate the existing wire communication. Two C Mk III sets with Tonic Trains were tried in this work and proved to be a big improvement over M.T. Batteries, once the men learned the adjustment of the vibrator. This work was carried on until the Corps was relieved, about May 9th. Appendix C gives the proposed C.W. Establishment as laid down by GHQ at this time.
During December and January two Woolwich sets were sent out for a week at a time to the various field Artilleries for the purpose of demonstrating the use of Wireless for observation and registration. This was the first use of Wireless by the Field Artillery. At the same time, Mr. Smedley who had received his commission during the Passchendaele operation, opened a school at Camlain l’Abbe for personnel drawn from five field Artilleries, as then intended to equip them with C.W. sets as fast as instruments became available. The Course lasted about two months and gave quite satisfactory results.
As numerous reports kept coming in, through prisoners and other sources, that the enemy was using C.W. Wireless as a means of communication, a special Woolwich set was installed, early in January 1918 at the Interception station at Bouvigny. This was kept going for some months, but no definite results were ever obtained.
During the period of rest, from May 15th to July 15th, exhaustive training of C.W. personnel was carried out, special attention being paid to long range schemes. Additional C Mk III sets were issued to the Corps during this period and all men were trained in their use. Before the Corps took over the Arras front from the 17th Corps in July, the available C.W. personnel from the Field Artilleries were divided up, an N.C.O. and 9 men, with one Mk III and 2 Woolwich sets being sent out to each of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th C.D.A’s. This was the start of the C.W. with the Divisions and the results may be followed by reference to Parts 2, 3 and 4 of this report.
WIRELESS COMMUNICATION, CANADIAN CORPS, AMIENS AUGUST 8th to August 22, 1918
When the offensive began on August 8th, 1918, the disposition of Wireless Sets in the Canadian Corps Area was as follows:
The Divisions reading from left to right were 2nd, 1st, and 3rd in the line and the 4th in reserve to the 3rd, on the right flank. Each Division had one Wilson Directing Station and three Brigade Stations erected, and in addition, each Divisional Artillery had one Mark III C.W. Set at Div. H.Q., and one Woolwich Set at each of its Brigades.
The Corps Directing Station was erected in the White Chateau, ST. FUSCHIEN, with a forward station at Corps Report Centre just ahead of GENTELLES. This station could not be erected until after dark on the evening of the 7th.
For liaison purposes, C.W. Mk. III Sets manned by Corps operators were placed, one at the Right Div, H.Q., and one at the Corps D.S., St. Fuschien. Four operators were also sent to the French Corps on the right and to the flanking French Division. Two operators were loaned from Army to assist in this liaison work.
Four C.W. Mk. III Sets and operators in charge of Lieut. DAWSON and Corpl. CHURCHILL were sent with the C.C.H.A., and placed at the disposal of the Field Survey Section for O.P. and Flash Spotting work.
The Canadian Independent Force of Machine Guns and Armoured Cars was provided with two C.W. Mark III Sets. One was erected at Corps Report Centre near GENTELLES, and the other mounted in a special car, went with the Force itself. In order to minimise jamming, a special long wave-length of 1450 metres was allotted to these stations. On account of enemy observation, the rear set could not be erected until after dark on August 7th.
The charging lorry was at ST. FUSCHIEN, as were also the shop and stores. Batteries were delivered by car to all stations of the Corps and Heavy Artillery. All forward stations, on going out, carried accumulators for 48 hours.
2. OPERATION (a) SPARK.
In order to prevent the relief being disclosed, the various Corps and Division Stations were erected, but did not operate until midnight August 7th/8th, when the Corps D.S. opened up and worked all four Division Stations and the station at CRO.
The D.S. proved to be very favorably located, as it was able to handle all the Divisions and Brigades for over 36 hours, although the Division Stations moved considerably ahead during that time. Traffic for Report Centre was handled by the station located there; all other business being taken by the D.S. and forwarded by phone to DURY.
At 10.30 p.m. on August 9th, the CRO station took over the D.S. work as ST. FUSCIEN was losing the Divisions. On August 10th, the rear station was moved forward to the Sand Pits in DEMUIN and put into operation at 5.00 p.m. on that date. At this station, one 70 foot and one 30 foot mast were used. This gave sufficient range to handle all Divisions without a further move forward. The GENTELLES Station was closed when Report Centre moved forward to DEMUIN. During the last two hours, GENTELLES had difficulty in working the Divisions on account of he small amount of power, and the fact that only 70 ft. masts were available for this station. Traffic was heaviest on the 11th, when over 150 messages were handled at the Corps H.Q. alone. This was because Divisions were moving so much that lines could not be kept up to them. From the 13th on, traffic decreased as things settled down.
2. OPERATION (b) C.W. SETS WITH C.C.F.A.
These sets were used from forward observation and flash spotting posts to Counter Battery at C.C.H.A. A great deal of valuable information was sent in by these sets, and it has been proved that flash spotting by Wireless is not only possible but that better results can be obtained than by the use of telephone. All three forward stations were obtainable on the one setting of the condenser, and therefore reports came in in exactly correct time relation. In the period, August 8th - August 19th inclusive, over 20,000 words were sent over these sets, including 573 actual messages and many fleeting targets and bits of information picked up by the observers.
The posts were never out of touch with C.C.H.A. except when stations were being moved to new locations. The distances covered averaged 9000 yards from post to C.C.H.A.
2. OPERATION (c) C.W. SETS WITH INDEPENDENT FORCE.
This force moved forward with the attack on August 8th, and a station was first operated from MAISON BLANCHE, near BEAUCOURT. After nine messages had been handled, the set at CRO broke down and the Corps Liaison Set at ST. FUSCIEN took over the work, a second set being installed for liaison purposes. This worked perfectly, although it was a distance of nearly 20 kilometres. The CRO station was repaired and moved forward to the main cross-roads near DEMUIN on August 9th. This station was connected to the 4th Divn exchange at DEMUIN. This station handled all traffic from August 10th on, and although the C.I.F. moved as far forward as DAMERY, no trouble was experienced in working this station. The wavelength was later changed to 1260 metres, as a French station opened up on 1450. During the first three days, over 120 messages were handled. Much valuable information was contained in these messages, as the C.I.F. were well forward and the Wireless was their only means of communication.
2. OPERATION (d) C.W. SETS ON LIAISON.
For purposes of liaison with the French Corps on the right, special C.W. sets were used. One, working to the left French Division, was located at the Right Canadian Division, and the second, working to the French Corps, was placed at ST. FUSCIEN. These stations were all manned by Canadian Corps men and, in addition, 4 operators were sent to the French; 2 to the Division, and 2 to the Corps. These stations were all on 1280 metres. Considerable traffic was handled, but as was to be expected, it was chiefly between Divisions; only situation reports passing between the Corps. On August 10th, while the ST. FUSCIEN Station was being moved up to DEMUIN, the C.I.F. set on the FOYE Road, took over the work. These sets were taken over by the Australian Corps on August 22nd.
2. OPERATION (e) INTERCEPTION STATION.
On August 15th, a station was erected near Corps Report Centre, DEMUIN, for the interception of German Wireless traffic. It had been found that German stations were sending a good deal in clear, and were also using Figure Code, which can easily be deciphered.
This station operated until August 21st, and an average of 30 messages per day were taken. All German priority messages were sent by wire direct to Intelligence "E" Fourth Army; ordinary traffic being sent in by D.R. three times a day. Copies of all messages were taken at once to Intelligence, Canadian Corps.
3. SUMMARY AND SUGGESTIONS.
(i) It is very essential that a more powerful set be provided for the Corps Directing Station, especially in operations of this nature. The rapidity of the advance makes it impossible for the D.S. to keep very far forward on account of the fact that charging lorry and stores must be kept at a sufficiently central point to accommodate all Divisions, as well as Heavy Artillery and any Special Corps Stations. It was possible to control Division Wilson sets most of the time, but the Wilson did not give sufficient power to control Brigade working at all times, and considerable unnecessary jamming resulted. Also, there is sometimes a tendency for Divisions to ignore the orders of the D.S., unless these orders are backed by considerable surplus power.
(ii) A special station should be erected to handle traffic for Corps H.Q., and only under exceptional circumstances should the D.S. accept messages for delivery. The Corps Station should come under the control of the D.S., in the same way as the Divisional Stations. This is vital for successful Division to Brigade working, which is the most important span for Wireless to cover.
(iii) A fourth Trench Set should be supplied each Division, to be used as a Stepping-Up station, thus providing a continuous outlet for Brigades at all times. Under the present arrangement, when a Division Headquarters moves, its Brigades must be handed over to the Corps D.S., preventing it, for the time being, from carrying out its proper function. At one time during the present operations, two Divisions were moving, at the same time, and as a result, the Corps Station was attempting to handle five Brigades for these two Divisions, and in addition, one Brigade of the 3rd Division, which was out of touch with its own D.S.
This set would also serve as a replacement in case one of the Brigade sets was out of action.
(iv) In a few instances it was found that Brigades did not try to carry their trench sets forward in the advance. Special precautions should be taken before the attack to ensure that this does not occur, as the rapidity of the advance, and the amount of traffic over the back areas, makes it impossible to keep up wire communication for the first 48 hours at least.
(v) In such circumstances when traffic is heavy and the operations are prolonged, a large stock of spare trench sets and Wilson meters should be available at the Corps for immediate replacements. At least one trench set per Division in the Corps and 2 or 3 meters should be carried. At present there are no spares available for C.W. Mark III Sets and whenever any serious trouble occurs, it means a complete replacement through Army. The parts most necessary are: Intervalve transmitters, Grid Locks for Transmitters and Receivers, Changeover Switch Handles, Ammeters and Reed Vibrators for H.T. Units.
(vi) Power Buzzer Amplifier Sets were useless, being too heavy and of too short a range.
(vii) Loop Sets were successful where properly used. The tendency was to try them between Brigade and Battalion, but this distance was usually too great. They should be used between Battalion and Companies, or between Battalion and Observation Posts. They were quite successful up to 4000 yards. In this connection, it would appear that, owing to the fact that Loop Sets have not been long in use, and were not required during Trench Warfare, where buried cables were used between Battn. and Companies, that Brigades, in many cases, did not carry out instructions issued some months ago regarding the pooling and training of six signallers per Battalion for Loop Set - Power Buzzer Amplifier working, and as a result, were unprepared to take advantage of this most portable and efficient means of communication. It is very essential that Divisions take immediate steps to train additional men in the use of the Loop Sets. The instruments are very sensitive and a good deal of practice is necessary before the desired results can be obtained. Very satisfactory results were obtained by using two rear sets as a pair, on account of the more powerful transmitters.
(viii) There was a good deal of jamming on account of the large number of stations in the area, but where good operators manned the sets, it was possible to get through a large amount of business, but poor operators were hopelessly lost, clearly demonstrating that men sent up for training as Wireless Operators should be expert Telegraphers capable of reading at least 25 words per minute. Signalmen "A", even with the necessary technical qualifications, are practically useless during operations when traffic is heavy. Spark jamming on C.W. was only noticeable on the short wave-length, and where it was necessary to use amplifiers on the C.W. Sets.
Jamming from H.T. units was not troublesome when the C.W. Stations were separated 2 to 3 hundred yards.
(ix) With the success of the first attack, the enemy communications became disarranged and he used the Wireless very freely, often in clear. Much valuable information is thus available and as an Army cannot possibly take all these messages, it would be advisable for Corps to ????? ????? Interception Stations behind the Trench and ????? ????? that this information will be immediately available where it is most useful, i.e. the Corps Report Centre.
(x) Great difficulty was experienced regarding transportation of the Wireless Sets, especially the C.W. Stations, which were required to move with the Artillery, the only transport being the gun limbers. Care cannot be exercised in transit of these sets unless proper transport is provided.
Until such time as proper transport is provided, it is suggested that Wireless Officers will try and arrange to secure a G.S. limbered wagon, have a false bottom put in using old mattress springs to take up the shock and vibration.
(xi) All Wireless Operators should be selected, trained and provided by the Signal Service and should be on the strength of Corps and Divisional Signal Companies.
(xii) All ciphering and deciphering was done by the Wireless Operators at the various stations. This is contrary to the standing orders on the subject and it is suggested that steps be taken to have Intelligence appoint an Officer for each traffic station. This Officer should supervise the traffic through the station generally and be responsible for any messages sent in clear. In case Officers are not available, N.C.Os. specially trained in field cipher should be substituted. It is impossible for operators to handle heavy traffic and at the same time do all ciphering and deciphering, also it often seems that messages handed in are very awkward to encipher. This would not occur if the Staff were better acquainted with working of Field Cipher.
The above suggestions, if applied, would result in a great increase in the amount of traffic handled and a consequent decrease in the delay on individual messages, and would, in general, increase the efficiency of Wireless as a means of communication.
(si) E. Forde, Lieut. Colonel,
A.D. Signals, Canadian Corps,
Aug. 29th, 1918.
Message Summary - Wireless. Aug 8th - Aug 19th, 1918
REPORTS ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING AMIENS OFFENSIVE, Aug. 8th - Aug. 22nd, 1918. (Canadian Divisional Signal Companies)
1st Canadian Divisional Signal Coy.
A.D. Signals, Canadian Corps.
It would seem from this report, that an order should be enforced whereby the Staff do the coding and decoding.
(si) P. Earnshaw, Major, OE.
Cmdg. 1st Cdn.Div.Signal Coy.
Map Ref, 62D. 62O.
The 1st Canadian Divisional Wilson Station was erected at GENTILLES WOOD (T.10.d.) a few hours before ZERO on the morning of the 8th, and was dismantled at 2. p.m. in order to move forward, but owing to transport difficulties, did not arrive at STOVE WOOD (V.23.b.6.4.) till 7. a.m. on the 9th. Communication was established with Corps, Flanking Divisions and Brigades. Some very important messages from our Brigades were received here, during the night 9/10th. At 3. p.m. on the 10th, the Set was dismantled and moved to BEAUI????, (k.5.a.6.2.), communication being established at ?? p.m. A great deal of work was handled from this station, mostly to Corps. From the 8th to the 12th inclusive, 157 messages were handled at the Division Station. Of these, 95% were "In Clear".
All ciphering and deciphering was done by Wireless Operators. Wireless communication in a Division would be greatly improved if another set was available, which could be sent forward as soon as possible to act as a relay when the distance from the Brigades to Division is too great for satisfactory working, and to act as a Divisional Station while the Wilson Set is being moved. Owing to the distance, the Brigades could not work to Corps while the Division Station was on the move and unless they could get a flanking Division to handle their work, were out of touch. As the roads were invariably blocked, serious delays occurred which would not have happened if another set had been available.
The Artillery C.W. Sets were very successful, being for several days, the only available communication between Division, Artillery H.Q. and the Brigades. From the 9th to the 11th inclusive, they handled 50 messages, 28 being in Cipher and 22 In Clear. The ciphering and deciphering was done by the operators.
Two Power Buzzer-Amplifiers were carried by the 3rd Canadian Inf. Bde. on the 8th, but were not installed at the time; four Power Buzzer-Amplifiers were put in operation on the Divisional front on the 17th for Battalion to Company communication.
2nd Canadian Divisional Signal Coy.
A.D. Signals, Canadian Corps.
Spark Wireless did not prove a very great success as a means of communication in this Division during the recent offensive, owing to the enormous amount of jamming and interference from other stations, and also to lack of proper control on the part of the Corps Directing Station. Communication between Division and Brigades was considered far more important than back from Division because it was easier to maintain lines to the rear than to the Brigades. Hence this Division attempted to work with its Brigade Stations, but this was almost impossible the first day because other Divisions in the Corps persisted in sending all messages to Corps by Wireless, and consequently Trench Sets were absolutely jammed out. The Corps Directing Station was informed of this trouble early in the morning of the first day, but in spite of that fact, the 4th Canadian Division Wilson Set sent messages to Corps for almost four hours steadily. Under these conditions, it was practically impossible to do any satisfactory work. I might also mention the fact that during the time the 4th Cdn. Divn. was working with Corps, the Corps Directing Station did not once ask other Divisions if they had any messages to communicate. This trouble was encountered throughout the operation, and I would suggest that some ruling be laid down as to what work is to be done by Wireless Stations between Divisions and Corps, as it is impossible to do both that and Division to Brigade at the same time.
Power Buzzer-Amplifiers were tried out the first day of the offensive, but the advance was too rapid to make any use of them. Later on the earthed lines prevented their use. No work was done with Loop Sets, as there are no men in this Division trained in the use of these sets.
C.W. Wireless proved fairly satisfactory throughout the operation, though this Division had considerable trouble with the Tonic Train supplied with the Mark III Set. It is thought that the adjustment of the contact was the cause of this trouble. Two 200 volt High Tension Batteries have been supplied as a substitute in case of future trouble with the T.V.T. There was also some trouble with the wave length, and we caused jamming with the C.C.H.A. Sets. This was overcome by changing the wavelength of our sets.
(si) J.H. KERR, Lieut. C.?
for O.C. Signals, 2nd Cdn.Div.
3rd Canadian Divisional Signal Coy.
During the first phase of the recent offensive, little wireless work was performed, owing to the close proximity of Division and Brigades stations. From the 11th onwards, full use was made of the Service, the daily numbers being:
- August 12th - 48
- August 13th - 37
- August 14th - 42
- August 15th - 52
I would suggest Divisional Headquarters be provided with an additional Trench Set for "Stepping Up" purposes. Divisional Headquarters Wilson set is out of touch with Brigades when moving to new locations, and it was found during that time Brigades are endeavouring to work with Division, consequently are unable to dispose of traffic. An additional set could be erected at new Division Headquarters to take over Brigade Stations before Wilson set closes down, thus providing continuous outlet for Brigades at all times.
(si) K.W. Campbell, Capt.
A/O.C. Signals, 3rd Cdn. Divn.
4th Canadian Divisional Signal Coy.
Reference your S.78/7-3 dated 18-8-18.
The greatest difficulty experienced by us was in the transportation of W/T apparatus. Great care must be exercised in transit so that the sets will be available for us immediately the Hqrs. is established.
I think that the extra N.C.Os, as recommended by Lieut. Skinner would be most valuable, and that we could improve the C/W communications a lot if the personnel belongs to Signals.
(si) F.G. Malloch, Major, O.F.,
O.C. Signals, 4th Canadian Division.
The Division Wireless Station handled 200 important messages between August 8th and August 16th.
Most of our work was done with Corps.
Several messages were handled for Brigades but the line communications being good, we were seldom called upon to handle traffic.
Nothing was done with Loop Sets, which was principally due to the following:
- (a) The men were exhausted after marching so far before the attack and were unable to carry these sets.
- (b) The Battalion Headquarters were too far ahead of Brigade to make it possible for Loop Set working.
No results were obtained with these sets.
Good results were obtained with C.W., but owing to our Brigade sets being broken in transit, we were unable to do anything until the 11th August. Since that date, quite a lot of traffic has been handled between Artillery Brigades and Divisional Artillery.
Personnel. Would suggest that the N.C.O. establishment be increased to allow each Brigade Station to have a 2nd Corporal in charge. The man in charge of a Brigade station has often to supervise Loop Sets and Amplifier and Power Buzzer working in his Brigade area. If he has no rank, he cannot control men and get the same results.
At present these men are attached to the Divl. Artillery to operate C.W. Stations. Most of these men have been away from their unit for several months, consequently their chance of promotion is nil. It is suggested that all C.W. personnel be taken on strength of the Divl. Wireless Section where they will get their promotion according to merit.
On one or two occasions in the recent operation, we had considerable difficulty in keeping W/T communication with Corps. This was due to Corps Station being too far behind Divisions. Would suggest that Corps establish a Directing Station well forward in the centre of the Corps area. The duty of this station would be to act as an Intermediate Station when communication between Corps and Divisions is difficult. If a high-powered set could be procured for this purpose, it would be most useful.
Loop Sets, Amplifiers, Power Buzzers.
When the advance is so rapid as in our recent operations, it is extremely difficult to get these sets into operation. They are very useful for establishing temporary communication when the final objective has been gained.
(si) C. Skinner, Lieut.
for O.C. Signals, 4th Canadian Divn.
OPERATIONS AT ARRAS
AUGUST 26th to SEP 10TH, 1918
Map Ref Sheet 51B
(1) EXISTING W/T COMMUNICATION.
When the Canadian Corps took over the ARRAS front from the XVII Corps on August 23rd, the wireless communication existing within the Corps area was as follows:
The Divisions in the Corps, reading from left to right, were 51st English, 3rd Canadian, and 2nd Canadian. The 51st Division with Headquarters at MAROEUIL, had three Brigade stations all north of the Scarpe River. The 3rd Canadian Division with one Brigade in the line, had their Wireless Directing Station located at Report Centre near Gerrard Exchange in G.29 Central. The Trench set was erected at H.25.b.5.2 an old Battalion Headquarters. The 2nd Division at WARLES had two Brigade stations working.
(b) Sets with C.C.H.A. and Field Artilleries.
As the XVII Corps had no C.W. sets with Divisional Artilleries, the sets belonging to the 2nd and 3rd C.D.A's were erected but did not operate until after zero hour.
The 17th C.H.A. had four C.W. sets working. One at C.H.A. Headquarters, MAROEUIL, and three others with Left, Centre and Right Groups respectively. These were taken over with personnel, as our H.A. sets had not yet arrived from the South.
(2) PREPARATIONS FOR THE ATTACK.
A forward D.S. was erected at ST. SAUVEUR Corner, G.29 Central, where a dump of wireless stores and an advanced accumulator charging plant were also erected.
The Corps D.S. proper consisted of a Leyland Lorry set with 60 ft. masts loaned by the First Army, and erected at L.8.b.6.9., near ETRUN. As this set was of high power and had a Telefunken neto, it was not used until zero hour, when it opened up and exchanged signals with the Advanced D.S., and with the three Divisional Wilson stations. When our own C.W. sets arrived on Aug. 25th they were placed at observation posts South of the Scarpe River, but to prevent these positions being given away to the enemy no aerials were erected until after dark. These sets were again working with the Canadian Field Survey Section whose Headquarters were in ST. NICHOLAS.
It was not known whether the Canadian Independent Force would be in action but as a precaution the rear set was erected at G.29.d.5.5., and connected by phone to the 3rd Div. Report Centre.
(3) OPERATION DURING FIRST ATTACK, AUG. 26TH - SEPT. 1ST.
The lorry set proved highly satisfactory as a directing station and was able to control all traffic from ETRUN even after the Brigades had moved considerably forward. On account of its power and note Brigade stations were able to read it through considerable Wilson and Trench set jamming. Traffic was not heavy during the first two days as Brigades and Divisions were still on the buried cable system.
On August 26th the Leyland set and charging lorry were moved to the Citadel at ARRAS and erected there with one mast on either bank and the set itself at the bottom of the moat. This arrangement gave surprisingly good results and Brigade stations came in much stronger here than at the Advanced D.S., although the latter station was almost a mile nearer the front.
In accordance with the suggestions made in the report on the AMIENS operations, a special Wilson Mk. III set was erected at the Citadel, Arras as a Corps Message Station. This station came under the control of the Corps D.S. in the same way as the Divisional Wilson sets. The arrangement was very satisfactory as it left the D.S. entirely free to direct the work in the Corps Area. Traffic from Divisions to Corps was restricted as far as possible in order to allow the Brigades a free field. However, as the advance progressed, business increased and was heaviest on the 31st when 118 messages were handled by Corps.
On August 29th the Advanced D.S. was moved to the forward slope of Telegraph Hill in preparation for a possible further advance.
The C.W. Wireless of The C.C.H.A. was divided into two sections. One section of four sets manned by R.G.A. personnel was used to provide communication from C.C.H.A. Headquarters to the groups. This did not prove very successful as the operators were not sufficiently trained and men could not be spared from the Corps Section to supervise the work. Those sets were withdrawn on Sept. 4th.
The other section of four sets, manned by C.C.H.A. operators was very useful. As in the AMIENS operations these sets were loaned by the C.D.S.O. to the Canadian Field Survey Section for Flash Spotting and Observation work.
Lieut. Dawson and Cpl. Churchill were again in charge of the work. The posts were moved frequently in order to keep well up with the Infantry. The only difficulty experienced was due to "Atmospherics" which were very bad at times. The area around their Headquarters station at ST. NICHOLAS seemed to be particularly subject to this trouble. Later they moved Headquarters to a point on the high ground N.W. of WANCOURT and the trouble from Atmospherics practically disappeared.
SECOND OPERATION, SEPTEMBER 2ND - SEPTEMBER 8TH. ====
In order to provide for the possibility of a break through in the attack on the DEROCOURT-QURANT line, the Advanced D.S. was moved forward on September 1st to H.28.c.5.8, just south of WANCOURT. At this time the disposition of Divisional stations was as follows:
On the Canadian Corps front from left to right were the 4th English Division at FOSSE FARM, 4th Canadian Division in dugouts in W.15.b. and the 1st Canadian Division in the sunken road in W.81.c. The 1st English Division was in support to the 4th Canadian Division with Headquarters in MONORY. Divisional Wilson stations were erected at the points indicated above. As every Division had its Brigades either in the line or in close support, all the Trench sets were in operation. This caused a good deal of jamming as traffic was increasing and in addition the XXII, Canadian and XVII Corps were all crowded in on a comparatively narrow front.
The Canadian Independent Force now being in operation, their rear C.W. station was located at N.27.b.3.7., and connected to the 1st Canadian Division exchange.
(5) OPERATION DURING SECOND PHASE, BEGINNING SEPT. 2nd.
On account of its favorable location the lorry set at ARRAS was able to handle all traffic throughout the day but by evening the Brigades were getting so far forward that it was necessary to hand over to the Advanced Station. Early on the morning of the 3rd the charging lorry, Leyland and stores were moved forward to the sunken road in ?????, and a Headquarters established there. The Wilson station which closed down and dismantled as soon as the lorry was in operation, was moved to the Crows Nest, U.18.a.5.2., on Sept. 6th. Advanced dump and charging plant for the Field Survey C.W. sets were also located on the DURY-HENDECOURT road near this point.
The Corps message station was brought up from ARRAS to Corps Report Centre during the afternoon of Sept 5th and placed near the Signal office on the sunken road.
The daily traffic was heavier from September 2nd on, averaging about 80 per day.
The stations of the Canadian Field Survey Section working under orders of the C.D.S.O. were busy during the entire period, as it was impossible to keep lines to any of the observation posts until the line had settled down along the Canal. All these posts worked close up to the attacking Infantry and as Interpreters were attached to each post for the interrogation of prisoners, much valuable information was sent in over the Wireless such as identifications, prisoners statements re dispositions, targets, etc. "B" post working towards high ground east of DURY found themselves at one stage in advance of the Infantry and came under heavy machine gun fire. They were forced to retire to the reverse slope of the hill where they erected their station.
In addition to the traffic shown on the attached sheet many fleeting targets and flash spotting bearings were reported. On Sept. 7th the Survey Section moved Headquarters to the cross roads in P.51.c. This greatly improved signals and decreased the difficulty of transporting accumulators as everything would then be handled by the advanced charging plant. On Sept. 8th a fourth post was equipped with Wireless making five sets all told on this work.
The Independent Force went into operation on Sept. 2nd. Their first Headquarters was established at the cross roads in P.25. Good communication was secured as soon as the set was erected. On Sept. 4th the C.I.F. again established Headquarters along the CAMBRAY road at Y.6.c. Although this distance was over 16,000 yards good (R,9) signals were obtained both ways. The C.I.F. did not remain in action as long as they did in the AMIENS operations.
A C.W. directing station was established near Advanced Canadian Corps Headquarters on Sept. 11th. This station was used to check wavelengths in the Corps and to control traffic. It was also employed for keeping a check on all messages sent in clear.
A. APPLICATION OF PREVIOUS SUGGESTIONS.
(a) The use of a powerful set for the Corps D.S. was more than justified. The large number of sets in operation made it difficult for trench stations to distinguish their own Wilson sets. The Wilson set at the Advanced D.S. had great difficulty in handling the traffic even for the short periods during which the accumulator banks on the lorry set were being recharged, or the lorry was being moved from one location to another. An extra Wilson set was erected in the lorry and used whenever possible for work with Divisions in order to avoid jamming the flanking Corps.
It is very strongly recommended that a set of this nature be furnished Corps for use as a directing station. It is not necessary for the power side to be used except in cases of necessity or during active operations such as the Corps has been engaged in for the past month.
(b) The Corps message station was also a success. It was located close to the Signal office so that telephone connection was not necessary. As it was working mainly with Divisional Wilson sets it was not necessary to take special pains in choosing its location. This left the D.S. free to control traffic and to assist the Brigades in their work. Also it was possible to place the D.S. in the most suitable spot for receiving signals from all stations. It was found unnecessary, under the arrangement for the D.S. to be on the telephone, as instructions could be sent or reports received at any time by Wireless.
(c) The extra trench sets for the Divisions were not received in time to be used in the actual operations.
B. FURTHER SUGGESTIONS ARISING FROM ARRAS OPERATIONS.
The steady increase in the amount of Wireless equipment in use in the Corps, has not been accompanied by an increase in the mechanical transport allowed. The chief increase has been in C.W. equipment and as Divisions are not yet fully acquainted with the repair of these sets, practically all of this work has been done by the Corps repair shops. This, in addition to the 7 sets in use by the Heavy Artillery and the Independent Force, has made a very considerable increase in the amount of material that had to be carried for repairs and replacements. Also a much larger stock of accumulators was required as it was necessary to carry one accumulator in stock or on charge for every one in use on the stations.
Before a Corps Wireless Service can be sufficiently mobile to carry on this kind of warfare successfully extra mechanical transport must be provided. It is suggested that one extra 30 cwt. lorry be authorized per Corps for the use of the Wireless Section.
Also some means of carrying C.W. sets and equipment must be provided for Artillery Brigade Sections. If carried on G.S. or R.E. limbers the shaking up which they receive makes it necessary for them to be completely overhauled before they can be operated successfully. A half limber fitted with a false bottom and mattress springs has been a success. Another suggestion is to rebuild a medical stretcher cart to hold the set and to be hauled behind a horse drawn limber.
(b) USE OF WIRELESS BY BRIGADES.
It has been again shown that special efforts must be made to educate Brigade Signal officers and Brigade Staffs in the use of the Wireless. It has occurred again and again that although Brigade Stations were erected and in communication with Divisions, when wire communication went, messages were allowed to pile up in the office or were sent by D.R., not even a proportion of them being offered to the Wireless Station. All traffic cannot be handled by Wireless in the same way as it is by wire on account of the enciphering but important messages need never be held in the office as, including the time necessary for enciphering, they can be handled almost as rapidly as they would be over the ordinary wire under the conditions of active operations. If the office staff would only acquaint the Staff or Signal Officer concerned, important messages could easily be franked "In clear" if the circumstances warranted or altered so as to make them more easily enciphered. In open warfare Wireless should not be considered as an emergency means of communication only, but as an auxiliary to the existing wire or runner service.
(c) SPARE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES.
It is again necessary to point out that, due to the lack of certain spare parts, valuable sets are often put out of action for indefinite periods or must be completely exchanged, whereas a few minutes work would repair the set if the necessary part was only available. The most important of these are:
For C.W. Mk. III Sets.
Intervalve and telephone transformers, grid leaks for transmitters and receivers, change over switch handles and Ammeters. There is still a big shortage of Reed Vibrators and contact screws for H.T. Units.
(d) CIPHERING AND DECIPHERING AND MESSAGES IN CLEAR.
As in the AMIENS operations all ciphering and deciphering was done by the operators on the various stations. This is very unsatisfactory but appears to be unavoidable for two main reasons:
- The officers actually writing the messages are too busy to do this work themselves and their clerks are not familiar with field cipher.
- A large number of messages come to Wireless stations from the Signal office, whenever it happens that no wire communication exists or the existing lines are badly congested.
During the last operations trouble also arose over the matter of transmission "In clear". This has been partly cleared by the issuing of more definite orders on the subject.
The following is suggested as a means of overcoming these difficulties:
A Cipher, deciphering and franking department should be organized by the Staff at the Headquarters of every formation using Wireless communication. The actual ciphering and deciphering should be carried out by clerks specially trained in field cipher and coding, and the work supervised by an officer who would be responsible for franking any messages sent in clear. Any one having messages for transmission by Wireless would send them to the department for enciphering or for franking "in clear" if such was considered advisable, also all traffic received at the Wireless stations would be sent here for deciphering.
An arrangement such as this would allow the Signals to clear important messages that pile up in the office when lines are down and which now have to be sent back to the office or origin for franking or must be handled by Special D.R.
- (Sgd) E. FORD
- A.D. Signals,
- Canadian Corps.
REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG 26TH - SEPT. 10TH, 1918. 1ST CANADIAN DIVISION.
Reference Sheet 51B.
The Divisional Wilson Station took over from the 2nd Canadian Division Set located at N.21.c.2.8. (sheet 51B) at 7:00 p.m. Aug. 27th, good communication being established with Brigades, Flanking Divisions and Corps.
The Station remained here until 8:00 a.m. Sept. 2nd handling an average of ten messages per day. Owing to the lines being well maintained in this area, it was seldom necessary to use the Wireless as the only means of communication. On one occasion however, a counter attack was made on our Front while the forward lines were out, and the Brigade concerned got the information back by Wireless without delay.
On the morning of the 2nd Sept, the Directing Station was moved to SUN QUARRY, arrangements being made to have the station move at the same time as the Brigade stations. The set was in operation at 11 a.m. communication being established with Corps, Flanking Divisions, and our Brigades as they arrived at their new Headquarters.
Some trouble was experienced at first owing to jamming, and weak signals from Brigades, but by improving aerials and earths, good R.9 Signals were received both ways.
A total of 188 messages were handled by the Division and three Brigade stations from Aug. 28th to Sept. 3rd inclusive, 62 being sent and received at CYA station.
Loop Sets and Power Buzzers were not used as the Brigade Signal Officers consider they secure better results by employing the men of the Power Buzzer Pool, on maintaining telephone lines.
The high forward station at Corps was of great assistance in controlling traffic and working direct to Brigades. In the AMIENS Operation, the Brigades got so far ahead of the Corps Wilson Station they were unable to hear it and consequently were out of communication during the time their Division D.S. was on the move.
From Aug. 29th to Sept. 4th inclusive, the Artillery C.W. sets handled 198 messages. The Divisional Artillery set was first located at N.81.c and was moved to SUN QUARRY on the morning of Sept. 2nd.
Due to the close proximity of Brigades to each other on 2nd and 3rd Sept, only one Brigade Station was erected and handled the messages of both. Messages handled by CF1 station being 96.
Nearly everything sent by C.W. was in clear and duly Franked by an Officer of the Brigade or Division Staff.
The traffic handled during the operations is shown on Appendix "B" attached.
- (Sgd) P. EARNSHAW, Major, C.E.
- Cmdg. 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company, C.E.
REPORT OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG. 26TH - SEPT. 10TH, 1918. 2ND CANADIAN DIVISION.
Reference Sheet 51B.
The 2nd Canadian Division was engaged in the recent operation on August 26th, 27th, and 28th. The Division relieved the 15th Division in the line on August 24th, but the Wireless communications were not taken over as the outgoing Division maintained their communication until 24 hours after the relief was completed. In the meantime our Wilson set was erected at RONVILLE (G.28.d.2.2) and was in telephone communication with CYB. At midnight on August 24th the 6th Bde. Station took over from the outgoing Bde. station at M.8.c.7.0 and maintained normal traffic. As the operation did not commence on the 25th as expected, the 5th Bde. station was erected at Divisional Hqrs. at WARLUS on the morning of the 25th, in order to have the same number of stations in the area, and to maintain normal message traffic. At 6 pm. on the 25th the 6th Bde. station was closed at M.8.c.7.0 and moved to M.1.2c.2.1 where it was erected, but no work was done until after zero hour.
On the 26th the 5th Bde. station was closed at WARLUS at 6 p.m. and rejoined the Brigade. The 4th Bde. station was erected at N.10.a.8.2. with the office in a dugout close to Bde. Hqrs. The Brigade Major was apparently afraid this would draw shell fire, and ordered the station to be moved into an open trench about 100 yards away. It was raining at the time, and although every precaution was taken, the set got very damp, and in consequence, the Brigade was out of touch by Wireless the whole day. The 5th Bde. station was erected at ????? and established communication with the D/S at 2.03 p.m. It remained in this location all day as the Brigade did not come into action. The 6th Bde. station at M.1.2c.2.1 established communication at 3.11 a.m. At 2 p.m. the station was moved forward to ????? where it was erected and opened communication with the Corps D/S, as the Div. D/S was moving at that time. Communication was established with the Div. D/S at 7 p.m. At 3:48 p.m. the Div. D/S handed over its Bde. stations to the Corps D/S, and moved from RONVILLE to M.1.2c.2.1, taking over from Corps D/S at 5.50 p.m. Communication was maintained throughout the night with the 5th and 6th Bdes.
On the 27th the Div. D/S remaining at ????? all day. The 4th Bde. station commenced working at 7.55 a.m. but signals were weak due to the faulty instrument. This set was replaced at 9.50 a.m. and at 10 a.m. the station moved forward to M.18.b.8.8 but was not erected there as the Brigade was still moving forward. At 1.30 p.m. the station was erected at G.19.d.5.5 and communication established with the Div. D/S. The station remained in this location throughout the remainder of the operation. At 8.30 a.m. the 5th Bde. station closed down at W.3.d.1.9 and moved to N.81.c.1.9 but did not erect as the 6th Bde. station was working there. At noon it moved to G.38.a.1.9 where it erected and established communication. This station remained in this location throughout the remainder of the operation. The 6th Bde. station remained at M.81.c.1.9 throughout the day, being attached to Advanced Division after it moved to that location. A spare Trench set was erected at Div. Hqrs. at M.8.c.7.0 at 11.40 p.m. and maintained communications with Advanced Div. all night.
On the 28th the Div. D/S moved forward to Advanced Div. Hqrs. and established communication with the 4th and 5th Bdes. at 1 p.m. The D/S was relieved by the 1st Cdn Div. D/S at 7.22 p.m. 4th Bde. station relieved by 2nd Bde. Stn. at 5 a.m. the 29th, 5th Bde. stn. relieved by 3rd Bde. Stn. at midnight on 28th, 6th Bde. stn. was not erected after it rejoined the Bde. as the 6th Bde. was merged into the 4th and 5th Bdes.
REPORT OF C.W. WIRELESS COMMUNICATION, 2ND CDN. DIV. ARTY. Period - August 31st. to Sept. 6th, 1918.
Previous to Aug. 31st one Mk.III set was operated at 2nd C.D.A. Hqrs, and Woolwich Mk. I sets at 5th and 6th Bdes. C.F.A. The latter was very old and in very poor condition, and C.W. communication was a failure. On the 31st of August Mk.III sets were supplied to 5th and 6th Bdes. This report covers work done by these sets. From Aug. 31st to Sept. 2nd the 1st and 2nd Bdes. C.F.A. were grouped under 2nd C.D.A. but worked direct to 1st C.D.A. by Wireless. From Sept. 2nd to 4th the 1st Bde. C.F.A. was grouped with 5th and 6th Bdes, C.F.A. under the command of O.C. 5th Bde, C.F.A. They worked with both 1st and 2nd C.D.A. Hqrs.
All stations were easily picked up as soon as they were erected. Signals were good, particularly between Mk.III sets. The greatest distance between sets was seven miles, - on the afternoon of Sept. 2nd, Stations of 1st and 2nd Divs. kept constant touch with each other throughout the operations. Arrangements were made for mutual assistance, but they were not required. A register showing messages sent by each station is appended. A much greater amount of business could have been handled, but owing to the success of telephonic communication this was unnecessary. Messages were sent only when lines were out, or very busy. Most messages were sent in clear. Those containing map locations were in code. Only four messages in seven days were sent out by station at Div. Hqrs. Practically all messages handled were reports from Brigades, - mostly from Group Hqrs.
(3) SUMMARY AND SUGGESTIONS.
- (a) Results obtained show that sets would be extremely useful in cases where telephonic communication is poor, - particularly in a big advance, where lines become very long, and difficult to keep in repair.
- (b) Brigade stations should set up at all positions. Cases occurred where short halts were made, but under orders of O.C. Bde, stations were not erected.
- (c) A higher grade of operators is required. Wavelengths of adjoining units are so close that experienced Wireless operators are required to read through the jamming which is bound to occur at times. The operators at present used on C.W. sets were drawn from Battery signallers. Many of them are poor, and cannot handle messages fast enough to be of use. Operators of at least 20 words per minute standard are urgently required.
The traffic handled by all Divisional stations is shown on Appendix "C" attached.
- (Sgd) D.H. MACFARLANE, Capt.
- A/O.C. 2nd Canadian Division Signals Company
REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG. 26TH-SEPT.10TH,1918. 3RD CANADIAN DIVISON.
Reference Sheet 51B.
Divisional HQ., Wilson Set was erected at LONDON CAVES (G.29 central) on night 25th/26th August and at zero hour was in touch with Canadian Corps D.S. Left and Right Division HQ., Wilson Sets, and the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade at G.25.a.4.7 Brigade in the line.
No traffic was handled until the 27th August when two Brigade HQs were established at ORANGE HILL; the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade at H.34.b.5.2. and the 8th Canadian Infantry Bde at H.34.b.5.8.
From those positions Brigades worked with Division until ordered forward at 7.30 a.m. on 28th August.
The 8th Bde. W/T Set opened at O.8.c.8.5 at 10.30 a.m. on 28th and the 9th Brigade Set at O.7.b.3.8. at the same hour. The traffic handled by each Brigade is shown in Appendix "D".
Divisional HQ. Artillery station erected at G.29.a.8.8 and at zero hour was in touch with 9th and 10th Artillery Groups. The number of messages handled by C.W., during the action is as shown on attached sheet Appendix "D".
Loop Set communication was established between the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade Report Centre and the 49th Batt'n HQ., but was not used, being held as an emergency communication.
P.B. and A.
P.B. and A. sets were not used during the operations as the movement of Headquarters were too rapid for their use.
- (Sgd) J.H. LEESON, Capt.
- for O.C. Signals,
- 3rd Canadian Division.
REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DURING THE OPERATIONS AT ARRAS, AUG. 26TH - SEPT. 10TH, 1918. 4TH Canadian Division.
Reference Sheet 51B.
On the 1st of Sept., Div'l. Wireless Station was established at N.15.b.8.8. with three Brigades in the line:
- 10th Bde. at O.16.a.4.4.
- 11th Bde. at O.28.a.0.8.
- 12th Bde. at O.21.d.4.6.
Shortly after zero hour on Sept. 2nd the Brigades moved forward to new positions. It was then that the Div'l. Station experienced some difficulty in maintaining communication with its Brigades, which was principally due to the following:
- (a) Brigades too far forward from Divn. to get good receivable signals.
- (b) Interference from enemy jamming stations.
- (c) Interference from our own stations.
This difficulty was overcome eventually by the Div'l. station moving forward to our Report Centre at O.19.d.8.8. Quite a lot of business was handled from this point to our Brigades and to rear Divn. through Corps Directing station.
At 10.30 a.m. our 11th Bde. Station was put out of action by a shell, one man being wounded. New set was procured immediately from O.C. Wireless, Corps and delivered that afternoon to Brigade.
On the morning of the 3rd, the Divn. Station again moved forward to our new Report Centre at O.21.d.4.8. at the same time our three Brigades were also on the move. When Bdes. found their new Hqrs, Wireless communication was established immediately and kept up until we received orders from Divn. to dismantle and report as soon as possible to their new Hqrs. at O.34.b.3.4.
Within thirty minutes after our arrival at the above location, we were in good communication with our three Bdes, and Corps. A number of important messages were handled that night to and from our Bdes.
The work of the Corps Lorry set throughout the operation was all that could be desired. With their extra transmitting power they were able to handle several very important messages to our Brigades which we were unable to get through owing to jamming.
The following was received from O.C. Signals, 4th C.D.A.
Return of traffic in shown on Appendix "E" attached.
- (Sgd) C. SKINNER, Lieut. C.E.
- i/c Wireless, 4th Canadian Division.
TRAFFIC HANDLED BY WIRELESS - AUGUST 26TH TO SEPTEMBER 10TH 1918
Canadian Corps Stations
|Date||C.C.H.A. F.S. Section||Totals|
|CORPS Msg St||Hqrs Stn||A Post||B Post||C Post||D Post||Cdn I.F.|
1st Canadian Division
|Date||1st C.Dv.HQ.||1st Bde||2nd Bde||3rd Bde||CFA Hqrs.||1st Bde CFA||2nd Bde CFA||Totals|
2nd Canadian Division
|Date||2nd C.Dv.HQ.||4th Bde||5th Bde||6th Bde||CFA Hqrs.||5th Bde CFA||6th Bde CFA||Totals|
3rd Canadian Division
|Date||3rd C.Dv.HQ.||7th Bde||8th Bde||9th Bde||CFA Hqrs.||9th Bde CFA||10th Bde CFA||Totals|
4th Canadian Division
|Date||4 C.Dv.HQ.||10th Bde||11th Bde||12th Bde||CFA Hqrs.||3rd Bde CFA||4th Bde CFA||Totals|
REPORT ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATION
FROM QUEANT TO Bonn OCTOBER 18TH TO NOV 14TH 1918
CANADIAN CORPS Reference )
In order to deal properly with the question of W/T Communication during this period, it will be necessary to subdivide the report into two main sections, as follows, -
- (A) Queant (Canal de Nord) to Mons, covering the period of rapid advance with practically daily infantry attacks.
- (B) Mons to Bonn, or the advance to the Rhine, through Belgium and Germany, without the conditions of Active Operations.
(A) Queant (Canal de Nord)
It is necessary to point out at the start that this report covers a period of open warfare and that the conditions to be met were very different from anything that had been experienced during any other stage of the war. Previous reports have covered attacks on more or less clearly defined objectives where the main details, at least, were covered by the Operation Orders. Here, however, divisions were acting more on their own initiative with the Corps as a clearing house of information from the various parts of the front.
(1) W/T COMMUNICATION.
On October 18th previous to the move of Corps Headquarters to Lewarde and the change of front from Cambrai to Douai, the layout of the Canadian Corps was as follows:
- 1st Canadian Division Hqrs - Rancourt.
- 2nd Canadian Division Hqrs - Near Bourlon Village.
- 3rd Canadian Division Hqrs - In rest, behind Arras.
- 4th Canadian Division Hqrs - Ecourt St. Quentin.
To handle the W/T traffic, the Corps was desposed as follows:
Spark Control Station, consisting of a Wilson Set and Mk III Tuner, and forward charging plant were erected near the Field Survey Section Headquarters in Sandement Village. The Corps message station, the C.W. Control Station and the shops and main charging plant were all near Queant on the Queant-Buissy road.
In anticipation of the Corps move to Lewarde and to handle the Brigade Stations properly, the Advance Spark Control was moved to Bugnicourt Chateau on the 19th. On the 20th, the rear D.S. and the charging lorry were sent to Lewarde and the station erected in houses in the town. This was the first time the section had ever been quartered in a town that had not been destroyed by the enemy. They made themselves very comfortable.
On the 21st, Corps Hqrs moved to Lewarde and the dispositions were as follows, -
Rear D.S. Corps message Station, C.W. Control, Shops & charging lorry all located in Lewarde. On the 22nd, the Advance D.S. and charging plant were sent to Abseen. At this time the 1st Canadian Division and 3rd Canadian Division were in the line with headquarters at Masny and Somain respectively. CYB and CYD were both at Auberchicourt. For Spark Wireless, the distances were great but as the rear D.S. had the German Telefunken Transmitter of the new 1917 design and 70' masts a much greater range was possible than with the Wilson set to the message station, and as a result the rear D.S. took over all message work almost at once. A large amount of traffic was passing between all stations at this time especially between Brigades and Divisions; Division-Corps traffic was also heavy. W/T traffic in the Corps was heaviest on October 25th, during a period of severe line trouble.
The Divisions in the line on October 25th were the 3rd and 4th at Wallers and Denain respectively; the 1st and 2nd were set at Masny and Auberchicourt.
The amount of traffic passing between Brigades and Divisions and Divisions and Corps made it very apparent that Spark Wireless was most unsuited for the work, and as a start towards providing C.W. communication from Divisions back, a set was procured from Army and erected in the Corps message station to work to Army and to work through the Artillery sets to the divisions in case of emergency. This set was put into operation on October 26th.
On November 2nd, the 4th Canadian Division in conjunction with troops of the 22nd Corps on the right, captured Valenciennes and as a result considerable traffic passed through the Advanced Spark D.S. from Brigades to the 4th Division Hqrs and to Corps. In anticipation of the Corps move to Denain, the rear D.S. was erected in the Post Office Building, Denain on November 3rd, 1918. On November 4th, the Corps moved to Denain; the message station, press station and shops were located there in the school building.
At this time, the Divisions were disposed as under, -
- CYB at St. Salue
- CYC at Raismes
- CYD at Valenciennes.
On November 5th, the W/T Report Centre moved to Anzin and the same day CYC moved to Valenciennes.
Another innovation was introduced at this time. It was found that in order to keep the Signal Master informed of the available W/T Communication and to handle the Coding and Decoding of messages, it was necessary to have trained Wireless operators attached to each of the Signal Office shifts. These men acted as W/T office superintendents, kept the register of W/T traffic and did all coding and decoding of messages. This left the station operators entirely free to attend to their instruments and to the sending and receiving of messages. A copy of the regulations issued in this connection is attached as Appendix D.
On November 7th, the W/T report Centre moved to Quievrchain, the rear D.S. in Denain taking over control during the move. On November 9th, CYB moved to QUIEVRCHAIN in the morning and to Elanges in the afternoon. During this time only W/T communication was possible. On November 10th, the Corps Headquarters moved to Valenciennes and to provide a chain of communication, the message station was erected in Valenciennes near the signal office, the Rear D.S., using a specially constructed 600 cycle power set on the German new type transmitter, was erected in Quievrain on the Belgian border, and the W/T Report Centre moved forward to Boussu, all on the above date. On this date the Divisions were disposed as follows,
- CYB in Frameries
- CYC in Jemappes
- CYD in Valenciennes
CYB and CYC were in the line, with CYB and CYA in support and in rest respectively. During this period of rapid movement of Divisions, Wireless and D.R's formed the only chain of communication to the 2nd Division and a considerable amount of work was handled to CYB, and also from CYD to its Brigades.
CYC moved into Mons on the afternoon of the 11th of November.
On the 14th, the W/T Report Centre was moved to Mt. Erelius about one mile south of Mons itself. This proved to be an excellent location for control working. Corps opened in Mons on the 16th and on this date all W/T shops and stores were moved in, but no stations were erected, the Mt. Erelius stations doing all the work for the Corps.
(2) WIRELESS CONTROL WORKING.
The C.W. Control station which had been in operation for some weeks did splendid work throughout the entire period. From October 21st on, they were very busy keeping the artillery sets on their proper wavelengths and so avoiding undue interference. All C.W. sets in the Corps were very busy as lines did not exist for the use of the Artillery Brigades and the Field Survey Section.
On October 24th, a change was made in the organization of the Corps W/T Section. Difficulties of transport, accumulator charging and ration supply made it necessary to divide the section into an advanced and a rear section. Lieut. Craig was put in charge of the W/T Report Centre which was composed of the Spark and C.W. Control stations and the advanced charging plant and repair shop. This plant also did all charging for the stations of the C.C.H.A. In addition to accumulators, a supply of expendable materials such as aerial wire, N.T. batteries, valves, masts, a MK III set for replacement etc., was kept here for Advanced Corps and H.A. Stations, also in special cases, for the use of Division W/T Sections. Immediately upon its formation, the advanced section was moved to Bellaing village.
This station was kept well forward at all times in order to ensure communication to the Brigades whenever they erected. Shortly after the Leyland Set was turned over to the 22nd Corps, it became necessary to form two spark control stations to allow for stepping up. This was done by utilising a German 1917 pattern transmitter and a large Telefunken Quenched gap. This set was later improved by the addition of a German 600 cycle alternator driven by an electric motor and accumulators.
A large amount of traffic "In Clear" was passing between both Artillery and Infantry Brigades and Divisions and in order to keep a check on this, the Spark and C.W. Control stations copied, as far as possible, all messages "In Clear". These were collected and checked daily and the units concerned were warned at once if there was any indication of carelessness or if valuable information was being given away.
Also about this time experimental work was begun on a C.W. Control Set to permit listening in at the same time on the seven wavelengths in use in the Corps. Results were quite satisfactory and the work was continued until about November 4th, but as the advance became more rapid, all work of this nature had to be given up.
On account of the rapidity of the move and the rush of business through the Signal Office, it became necessary to depend on the Trans-Atlantic Press for general information. For this reason and because the daily press was particularly interesting as the time, a permanent Press Station was erected about the end of October and manned continuously. On October 31st, the news of Turkey's surrender was announced by Wireless. Army now began sending out daily a synopsis of the trans-atlantic press, also a short account of the previous days progress on the Western Front.
On the night of November 19th, wireless messages were picked up to the effect that the Armistice would be signed at 11 a.m. on the 11th. Great interest was exhibited by all in the W/T Press news and at 9.30 a.m. on the 11th, First Army sent out the first official news of the Armistice and later in the day, the press Station got the abstract of the Terms from Portsmouth.
Press was taken from the English, French and German Stations, the foreign press was translated by our IT men until they were taken for Corps Cage and I(b) work and after that it was passed through I Branch before being sent out to the various Corps offices.
Throughout the entire period, the German propaganda press was particularly interesting.
(B) MONS – BONN
Shortly after reaching Mons, it was announced that the Canadian Corps would be part of the Army of Occupation and immediate preparations were made for the Advance through Belgium and Germany. It was evident from the start that line communication would be extremely difficult and at a Conference of Signal Officers held in Mons, the following points were decided: -
- (1) To use Spark from Brigades to Divisions only.
- (2) To use C.W. from Division to Corps and Corps to Army, men and a MK III C.W. set to be sent from Corps to each Division for the Corps - Division communication.
- (3) To equip the 1st Division with C.W. throughout, the entire Division being Brigaded under four groups and the Headquarters.
Special instructions were issued by Army and by Corps covering wireless working during the advance. A copy of each of these instructions are attached as Appendix E.
The preparations for these changes were made as follows: -
- (1) Nothing special was required.
- (2) A 4 valve Tyrell C.W. set plus operators and a Crossley car for transport, was provided from 2nd Army. This set had an effective range of from 60-75 miles under all conditions. C MK III sets were provided for all divisions to work to Corps, the operators being provided by means of a special draft of 16 men from the C.W. Course at the Corps Signal School.
- (3) The 1st Division already had 3 C.W. MK III sets with their artillery. Two more were furnished from Corps, making the four groups and Headquarters stations. Their trained C.W. men were distributed among the stations and the spark men used for the balance of the men required.
By November 20th, 1918, all preparations were complete and the stations were distributed as follows:
- 1st Canadian Division - Neufville
- 2nd Canadian Division - Fauberge d'Havre
- 3rd Canadian Division - Mons
- 4th Canadian Division - Mons
- Canadian Corps Headquarters - Mons
(1) W/T COMMUNICATION.
In order to provide spark control for the Divisions, the Rear D.S. was sent to Haine-Saint-Paul on November 19th. On November 21st, the 1st Division moved to Nouvelles and the 2nd Division to Gosselies and to provide for the jumps a C.W. relay station was erected at La Louviere railway station, with the Corps Signal Report Centre.
On November 22nd, the W/T Report centre was moved from Mt. Erelius to Gossalies Chateau, about two miles east of Gossalies and good communication obtained to all units. Two days later the Corps moved to Gossalies, the 2nd Division going to Namur. While at Gossalies it became necessary for C.W. Control to be discontinued in order to provide a second set at Corps for message work, this giving continuous service even during moves.
About the time the Corps moved to Gossalies from Mons, the regulations with regard to "Sending In Clear" were released and practically everything went in clear. This improved the service very considerably by cutting down delays due to coding and repetitions.
On November 25th, the 1st Division moved to Gembloux and on the same date, the rear Spark D.S. and one C.W. station went to Spy to relay through to Corps at Gossalies. This proved to be unnecessary as far as C.W. was concerned as Gossalies worked both Divisions direct on C.W. This was the record up to date, a distance of 35 kilometres. The spark control did considerable work the Brigades of the 2nd Division.
While at Gossalies, news was received that only the 1st and 2nd Divisions would go through to Germany and in consequence the operators and instruments were brought in from the 3rd and 4th Divisions. These operators replaced the men on the Army set, leaving only Canadian personnel on the station.
On the 27th, the 1st Division moved to Ben Ahin and the W/T Report Centre was sent to Solyn. The stations at Spy were also picked up and moved to Solyn the same day. This relay station was again not necessary as Gossalies worked direct to Namur and Huy, a distance of 42 miles. This was the record for MK. III C.W. sets.
On November 28th, the Corps moved to Huy. The Tyrell set was erected here as a Corps message station, no other set being available, arrangements being made with Army, for each to call and to work to the other on the wavelength on which they were listening in continuously. For the first 24 hours, wireless and D.R's were the only means of communication to the 2nd Division.
On the 29th, Lieut. Craig moved with one Spark and one C.W. message station to Ochain, the 1st Division moving to the same place on the 30th. Good communication was established at once to both Corps, 1st and 2nd Divisions.
On the 30th, while at Huy, a Crossley lorry set, with a tender and 10 men, was received from 2nd Army. It was not erected there. On the same date, a C.W. station went to Vielsalm with the advance party and the Tyrell set was sent to Durbuy and provided with a phone line to Huy. This was done to handle CYB and the C.C.H.A. at Fanset, if possible, also as a relay station, Vielsalm to Huy. It was unable to raise C.C.H.A. but was very useful in relaying from Corps to Vielsalm.
The Corps moved to Vielsalm on December 1st and the 2nd Division to Salm Chateau the same day. The Army sets were erected and opened communication to Army immediately upon arrival. On the 2nd, CYA moved to Grand Halleux, just North of Vielsalm.
In preparation for the move across the border into Germany, all the sets of the Heavy Artillery who were then at Salm Chateau, were brought up to Vielsalm and given a thorough overhaul. The Tyrell set was also brought in from Durbury and overhauled. There was only a small amount of traffic as both the Divisions and C.C.H.A. were close to Corps. There was considerable traffic between the Corps and the 3rd American Corps on our right. This was on 1450 metres, the American Corps coming up to our wavelength when they called us.
The Crossley set had also some business for the 3rd Cavalry Brigade who came under us about this time.
On December 6th, the W/T Report Centre crossed the border and located at Schleiden, the next Corps Headquarters. This was the first time that Canadian Wireless Stations had even been erected on German Soil. Accommodations for stations was good. The Power C.W. set was placed in the Schloss, where a good aerial could be erected and the spark control and press set in the village of Scheuren, just west of the town. Good communication resulted between Schleiden and Vielsalm. The Corps moved to Schleiden on the 7th, the shops and charging plant being placed in the Post Office Building and the Crossley set near the Railway station. There was considerable traffic between the Divisions and Corps by C.W. and to overcome difficulties due to the location of the set in the Castle, a 3 valve Mk. III set was erected in Scheuren Village. There was also considerable traffic between the American Corps and the Canadian Corps while we were at Schleiden.
On the 8th of December, the 1st Canadian Division were at Hellenthal, south of Schleiden, and the 2nd Division at St. Vith.
On the 9th, the Tyrell set with the W/T Report Centre moved to Bonn on the Rhine and erected in Ippendorf village on the hill south west of Bonn. This proved to be an excellent location and the entire W/T section moved there with the Corps on December 11th, 1918. A few days later the shops and C.W. message station moved to Kaiser Vilhelm Kaserne in Bonn but the Spark Control remained in the hill, as they were doing considerable work for the Brigades of the 2nd Division.
Appendix F gives the amount of traffic handled by the W/T sections of the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions and the Canadian Corps Headquarters. The station with the Heavy Artillery did practically no work, the distances being entirely too great.
Appendix G gives the proposed establishment of Mechanical Transport vehicles for Wireless sections. This was the result of experiences gained during the period of rapid advance from Queant to Bonn.
- (signed) W Arthur Steel
- Capt. C.S.C.
- Wireless Officer Canadian Corps
Appendix A - Fullerphone/Amplifier Investigation Results.
Feb. 2nd 1918.
O.C. of 4th Cdn Div Signal Coy, C.E.
In accordance with instructions received, a test was made on the Five Fullerphones belonging to the 102nd Battn and from which buzzer signals had been picked up by the Amplifier station in the area. The phones were placed as follows: -
- (1) No.237A, G.P.O. Type at Bn Hqrs at M.30.a.65.50.
- (2) No.5641 Trench F. at Coy Hqrs in AGUE Trench.
- (3) Converted Type D. at Coy Hqrs at Cable Head N.19.d.45.80.
- (4) No.5962 Type F. at Coy Hqrs in cellar at N.19.d.60.85.
- (5) No.4646 Type S. at St. Louis Crater.
These phones were all on the one line from Battn Hqrs, and the amplifier earth leads ran parallel to and in the same trench with the Fuller line from AGUE Trench up ADROIT to the first line, then along the front half way to St. Louis Crater. Only earth lines are used on the Amplifier but the Fuller line was a metallic circuit.
For the test Amplifier and Fuller lines were laid out to duplicate as closely as possible the system in use in the forward area, but to emphasize any trouble due to grounded lines earth returns were used, for all the Fullerphones.
Results of Amplifier Tests.
- (1) One type F and one type D were found defective when on the "SEND AND RECEIVE" positions.
- (2) When all phones on the circuit were in good working condition nothing whatever could be picked up on the Amplifier, but if one instrument on the circuit was out of order AND WAS LISTENING IN everything sent on the other instruments, whether intended for that station or not, was picked up by the Amplifier.
- (3) When the faulty instruments were sending, the effect on the Amplifier was a loud buzz broken up by clicks.
- (4) When a good Fuller was sending and a defective one was on the circuit, others could hear the buzz signals with key at NORMAL position.
The two faulty instruments were taken to the First Army Shops and tested, with the following results:-
Type F Fullerphone.
The lead running from the common side of the condensers to the right contact point of the "SEND RECEIVE" switch was broken at the point marked A on the diagram, leaving the circuits open. From the appearance of the case, this was due to someone tampering with the instrument.
Type D Fullerphone.
With this instrument it was found that the continual opening and closing of the lid for purposes of adjustment had worn through the rubber insulation and broken all but two or three strands of the stranded conductor leading from the common side of the condenser to the "SEND RECEIVE" switch, thus putting a higher resistance in this circuit. A simplified diagram of the Fuller on SEND RECEIVE is attached.
In both cases the trouble occurred on the part of the circuit marked A B in the sketch. As this is part of the discharge path of the condenser C, experiments were made to determine what resistance in this circuit would produce this unbalanced effect.
The condenser C is the one which charges the direct current of the line to a buss through the medium of the No. 2 contact and the receiver R. If this circuit is open, the direct current passes directly through the circuit, inductance coils, armature, No. 2 contact, receiver and line. But, the action of the armature makes of this an interrupted current flowing through the line. This can be picked up by an amplifier. Under normal conditions this direct current charges condenser C, practically nothing being left to go via the alternative path mentioned above. Now if the resistance of the path, A B, Switch and conductor to terminal L2 be increased, more current will go via the No. 2 contact to line making the interrupted current mentioned above strong enough to affect the amplifier.
To test this, resistance was inserted at the point A and it was found that resistances as small as 1 ohm gave perceptible effects in the amplifier. The screw holding the switch blade at E when loosened caused very strong buzzer signals in a D.III inserted in series in the line for test.
Suggested Tests for Fullerphones.
To prevent similar cases of trouble in future, the following tests are suggested: -
(1) All Fullerphones in each Brigade to be tested on an Amplifier before the Brigade goes into the line. This test to be undertaken by the Division.
(2) All Fuller circuits to be tested once every day by putting a D.III phone in series in some part of the line and one man listen in for 5 minutes while the phones are in operation. This test has been proved on circuits as high as 1200 ohms resistance. If one man always makes this test, he will soon learn to recognize even faint signs of trouble. Tests to date have shown that when the D.III does not show any buzzer signals, the Amplifier will not be seriously affected.
Hqrs Fuller should be tested separately. Then at a given hour each day Hqrs station will call each station in turn and use the Fuller while the D.III is listening in. All other stations MUST be at NORMAL. This is most essential if trouble is to be quickly located.
This trouble was only found on Fullers in which you hear signals in your own receiver. G.P.O. types 234 and 235 and the new pattern 237A appeared to be good. In the latter type special precautions have been taken against this very trouble. The type of change-over switch used on type F and D seems particularly liable to cause trouble since the test showed that a small increase in resistance at this switch would disturb the balance in the circuit. If the binding screw becomes loose, the buzzer will run and Fuller signals be sent to line, but there is also an interrupted current on the line which affects the Amplifier. It is suggested that this type of switch be abandoned and the telephone key used on types S and W substituted. This key is much less liable to trouble from dirty or loose contacts.
- (signed) W. Arthur Steel, Lieut. C.E.
- 4th Canadian Divisional Sig Coy
Appendix B - Apparatus on Forward Station, Passchendaele Operations.
Apparatus on Forward Station, Passchendaele Operations.
- 1 - C.W. set, Woolwich MK 1.
- 1 - C.W. Set Carden.
- 1 - 5v Woolwich Amplifier.
- 3 - 200v. Batteries.
- 6 - 6v. Accumulators.
- 1`- 4v. Accumulator.
- 3 - 15' masts.
- 1 - earth mat.
- 6 - complete 50 yard aerials.
- 3 - boxes of valves.
- 1 - Wilson Transmitter.
- 1 - Short Wave MK III Receiver.
- 1 - 26v. Accumulator.
- 1 - earth mat.
- aerials, telephones, insulators, etc.
- 1 - crate of pigeons.
List of Apparatus Carried to and From Station in 12 Days.
- 7 - C.W. sets Woolwich type.
- 24 - 6v. Accumulators
- 6 - 15' masts.
- 200 - yards lead in wire.
- 300 - aerial wire.
- 54 - French valves.
- Earth mats insulators, etc.
- 1 - Wilson Transmitter.
- 1 - Mk III Short Wave Receiver.
- 1 - 26 volt accumulator.
- rations and water for four men for twelve days.
Personnel of First Relief Who Established the Station.
- 172031 Cpl Craig J.A. - i/c Forward Station.
- 366X34 Bdr. Churchill C.E.
- 68589 Gnr Breatcliffe J.
- 752021 Gnr Fleming D.R.
- 302354 Gnr McBride W.A.
- 444790 Gnr Champion G.B.
- Spr Tilley R.N.
Appendix C - R.A. C.W. Communications.
(1) Proposed Equipment
- Corps Headquarters - 1 Set (Control)
- Corps H.A. Headquarters - 1 Set.
- R.C.A. Brigades - 2 Sets.
- Divisional Artillery Headquarters - 1 Set.
- R.F.A. (Including A.F.A.) Brigades - 2 Sets.
- A.A. Brigades - 3 Sets.
- Kite Balloon Company - 1 Set.
- Field Survey Company - 5 Sets.
Sets will form part of the signalling equipment of formations and will move with them.
See para. (2) Section VI., page 10, s.s. 141
(2) An R.A. C.W. Set consists of the following parts: -
- G. Mk III C.W. Set.
- Transmitter - 17 1/4 lbs.
- Receiver - 17 1/4 lbs.
- H.T. Unit - 10 lbs.
- Wave-meter - 7 1/2 lbs.
- 2 4' Masts - 14 lbs.
- (or 2 15' Masts) - 27 lbs.
- Earth Mats (14') - 7 lbs.
- Reels, antennae, 9" - 3 lbs.
- Battery, 10-volt - 25 lbs.
- Accessories - 10 lbs.
A carrying party of 5 men is required to transport the Set. Webbing equipment is provided for carrying it.
Secondary Batteries are treated as Area Stores, and any Brigade moving into an area will obtain the extra batteries they require from Corps, returning them when they leave the area.
- (i) C.H.A. Sets, Divisional Artillery Headquarters sets and R.F.A. Brigade Sets will be carried in existing transport.
- (ii) The provision of a limbered G.S. wagon to be added to the transport of an R.F.A. Brigade Signal sub-section is under consideration. This vehicle will carry the C.W. Set and other signalling stores of the Brigade.
(4) Personnel to man the Sets.
It is laid down in para. ???, Section VI, page 10, of s.s. 141 that 6 Battery Signallers per set will be trained and will be pooled under the Brigade and reserved exclusively for manning these sets.
There exists a certain number of trained personnel, the number differs very considerably amongst formations.
A schema for further training is in hand: courses will be arranged for N.C.O's and men.
It is thought that at least 1 Officer and 3 signallers per battery should be trained, in addition to the Brigade Signal Officer.
(6) Charging of Secondary Batteries.
Authority has been given for a P.E.L. Set for C.H.A. Headquarters: about 1 k.w. (i.e. about 1/3rd of the power) will be available for charging purposes.
In addition, it is proposed to allot one or two 1 K.w. Charging Sets for C.H.A. Headquarters: these charging sets would be carried in the P.E.L. Lorry.
The Establishment of a Divisional Signal Company includes one 1 k.w. charging set.
(7) Upkeep and Repair of Sets, Provision of Stores, Allotment of Wave-lengths, Calls, etc., will be carried out by the O.C. Signals of the formation.
(8) Position of Supply.
The total number of sets supplied and issued is 105. Sets are at present coming out from England at the rate of 8 per week.
The War Office states that it is hoped that the rate of supply will increase to 25 per week during the next two months.
At present complete sets only are on order, i.e., batteries, transmitters, and receivers. No orders have been placed for separate receivers.
Production of wireless equipment is always slow.
(9) Attached, marked "A" introduces some technical points that have to be considered.
(10) Attached, marked "B" gives points that are for consideration forming the basis of the inquiry as to the best method of the tactical employment of sets.
Appendix D - Instructions to Section Personnel.
Reference the copy of letter attached, please note carefully the following points, and see that they are carried out as far as your end of the work is concerned.
(1) (c) To keep in touch with the wireless stations and to know at any time what W/T communication is available.
- To assist in this you must carry out the following:
- (1) Send an Orderly to the Supt. to inform him whenever a Division closes down or whenever a Division opens up again for traffic, this is most essential. There should never be any occasion for a message to be returned to the Supt. marked "X199 ---- hrs".
- (2) Notify the Supt. if "statics or atmospherics" make reception impossible.
- (3) Notify Supt. at once if Divisions are so busy with Brigade traffic that only urgent messages from Corps should be offered to them.
- (4) Notify the Supt. the cause of any unusually long delays in transmitting any message.
(1) (d) See attached sheet.
In this connection all received messages are to be sent to the Supt. for deciphering and disposal. Only SG messages in connecting with your own station will be deciphered at the station. Exceptions to this rule may however occur, such as in cases of great urgency, when messages will be enciphered or deciphered by the operator. For this reason, complete lists of key-words will be kept at all stations.
(1) (e) See attached sheet.
The Supt. will keep all registers. Two copies will be taken of all "received" messages, one copy to be retained in case a check is required, the other being sent to the Supt. for disposal. All messages transmitted will be properly filed in and kept.
At 0730 hrs. daily all copies of messages, both transmitted and received, for the past 24 hrs. will be sent to the Supt. to be checked and filed.
(2) All press taken, including both copies of the midnight press message, will be sent to the Supt. who will dispose of them as follows:
- (1) Daily press, including English and German propaganda, any special messages of international importance that are intercepted, etc. will be sent to the A.D. Signals first. He will see to the subsequent delivery to the Staff.
- (2) Midnight press messages from Army - one copy to Staff, at once, the other to A.D. Signals office.
(signed) W. Arthur Steel
- Lieut. CS.CE
- wireless, Canadian Corps.
A.D. Signals, Canadian Corps.
In order to increase the efficiency of the system of wireless communication and to relieve the W/T operators of the coding and decoding of messages, it is suggested that the following system be put into operation in the Canadian Corps Signal Company.
(1) A trained wireless operator to be attached to each of the signal office shifts to act as wireless superintendent. This man to come under the orders of the Office Superintendant. His duties to be as follows:
- (a) To advise the office superintendent on all matters relating to wireless.
- (b) To advise which messages are suitable for coding and which could or should go "In Clear". In the latter case he would be responsible for seeing that any such messages were properly franked, in accordance with Canadian Corps G 340/3-12 of 14/9/18.
- (c) To keep in touch with the wireless stations and to know at any time what W/T communication is available.
- (d) To be responsible for the ciphering and deciphering of all messages handled by wireless. In this work he would be assisted by a trained W/T operator on each of the day shifts.
- (e) To keep a register of wireless messages handled. Only the enciphered copy would be sent to the station for transmission. Stations would keep a carbon copy of all "received" messages, the original being sent to the Superintendent for deciphering. At 0730 hours each morning messages for the previous 24 hours would be sent in from the various message stations to the Superintendent.
(2) By making use of the above office staff, to handle daily a small percentage of the routine business, this percentage to be increased as the Army and Divisions become more familiar with this method of handling traffic.
If approved, please say when this system can be put into operation.
(signed) W. Arthur Steel
- Lieut. CS.CE.
- Wireless, Canadian Corps.
Appendix E - Wireless Communication during move forward.
A.D. Signals, Canadian Corps.
Wireless Communication during move forward.
|ARMY TO CORPS.||Each Corps will be equipped with one long range C.W. Set mounted in a Box Car. These sets will be used for communication to Army.|
|CORPS TO DIVS.||Spark or C.W. may be used for communication to Divisions. It is suggested that C.W. Mk III sets should be used in preference to Wilson sets, owing to the distance and the amount of traffic there is likely to be.|
|DIVS TO BDES.||Only spark should be used.|
|WAVELENGTHS.||Wavelengths are allotted as attached. If any additional wavelengths are required application should be made to this office. Army C.W. group will work on 1450m.|
|CALLS.||Fixed calls will be used for C.W. and are allotted as per attached. On the 18th Nov, the Basic call for that day will be used by each station until further notice.|
|CIPHER WORDS.||Lists of Cipher words will be sent out as usual.|
|PERSONNEL.||The long range C.W. sets attached to Corps will be sent complete with three operators. It is suggested that where Divisions cannot raise personnel to run their C.W. sets, Corps staffs should be approached with a view to obtaining trained R.A. personnel on loan.|
|LATERAL COMMUNICATION.||Lateral communication between C.W. groups will be as follows. Where a change of wavelengths is necessary the transmitting side only will be changed, thus enabling the receiving station to keep continuous watch on its own wavelength.|
|COMMUNICATION TO FLANK ARMIES, G.H.Q. AND CAVALRY CORPS.||Communication to flanking Armies and G.H.Q. will be by C.W. on 1400m. Communication to Cavalry Corps will be by spark, calling on 1100m. and working on 1100m. Calvary Corps will call Army on 550m. and work on 1100m. Cavalry Corps is keeping a continuous watch on 550m. This will enable Corps to work to Calvary Corps if necessary.|
(signed) A. Leslie Harris, Capt.
- for Col. R.E.
- D.D. Signals, Second Army.
- Second Army Hqrs.
- 16th Nov. 1918.
NOTES ON W/T COMMUNICATION DURING THE FORWARD MOVE.
(1) Orders re transmission "In Clear".
Canadian Corps Orders G.340/3-12 of 14-9-18 are still in force so far as they apply to Signal Service Personnel and all messages sent IN CLEAR must still be franked "In Clear". The recent orders on the subject are issued to Officers draughting messages.
(2) Work of Corps C.W. and Spark Control Stations.
Attention is again called to the fact, that during this move where wireless is likely to be extensively used, all stations MUST pay special attention to the orders of the Directing Stations or serious interferences will result. This is especially true of the C.W. control; wavelengths allotted are close together and unless corrections ordered are made with as little delay as possible, the traffic in the various groups will be seriously upset.
(3) Group Working.
The Headquarters station, in the case of each of the C.W. groups, will regulate the traffic as far as the priority of messages is concerned. The Corps C.W. Control will devote its time to regulation of wavelengths and in straightening out interferences between groups.
(4) Corps. C.W. Group.
Complete C.W. stations are being attached to each Division Headquarters for message work in the Corps Group. Of the personnel allotted each station, the man sent in charge has had previous directing station experience in the Corps and it is suggested that this man remain in charge of the station.
(5) Spark Calls.
Spark Calls are issued for the normal allotment of Trench and Wilson stations in each division. It is expected however, that the First Division will use only C.W. to its Brigade Groups, using calls and Wavelengths shown under C.W. Calls.
Divisions will notify Corps as early as possible, the exact scheme of W/T communication adopted. This information is necessary for the work of the Corps Control Stations.
(6) The Canadian Corps Spark wavelength will change to 550 meters at midnight Nov 20/21st, 1918, at which hour the attached new calls and wavelengths will also come into operation.
Spark Calls. In accordance with paragraph "Calls" of attached letter, the following Spark calls will be in force until further series.
|Canadian Corps||(Wavelength 550 metres)|
|1st Canadian Division|
|Step Up Stn||BCC|
|2nd Canadian Division|
|Step Up Stn||RKB|
|3rd Canadian Division|
|Step Up Stn.||QUB|
|4th Canadian Division|
|Step Up Stn.||GZF|
The following groups will be working C.W. Wireless with the calls on wavelengths shown below: -
|SECOND Army C.W. Group||(1450 metres)|
|2nd Army Hqrs||PB|
|Canadian Corps Hqrs||MRZ|
|IX Corps Hqrs||ZRB|
|III Corps Hqrs||PRC|
|XXII Corps Hqrs - CWD|
|Canadian Corps. C.W. Group||(1150 metres)|
|Canadian Corps Hqrs||PSC - OXO – AZB|
|1st Canadian Division||PXB|
|2nd Canadian Division||PTD|
|3rd Canadian Division||PZN|
|4th Canadian Division||PVD|
|1st Canadian Division Group||(930 metres)|
|1st Cdn Division Hqrs||PYB|
|1st Bde Group||CUD|
|2nd Bde Group||MTE|
|3rd Bde Group||CZD|
|2nd Canadian Division Group||(860 metres)|
|2nd Cdn Division Hqrs||PUC (PUC)|
|5th Bde Arty||CXD|
|6th Bde Arty||MUE|
|3rd Canadian Division Group||(800 metres)|
|3rd Cdn Division Hqrs||PZD|
|9th Bde Arty||MBE|
|10th Bde Arty||CSD|
|4th Canadian Division Group||(900 metres)|
|4th Cdn Division Hqrs||PXB|
|3rd Bde Arty||CZD|
|4th Bde Arty||MSE|
|5th Canadian Division Group||(830 metres)|
|5th Cdn Divl Arty Hqrs||PQD|
|13th Bde Arty||PVC|
|14th Bde Arty||PSD|
|C.C.H.A. Group||(980 metres)|
|2nd Cdn G.A. Bde||CVD|
|16th Bde R.G.A.||PWD|
|29th Bde R.G.A.||CTD|
|Corps Survey Section||PYC|
|Corps Siege Park||PWC|
Appendix F - Traffic Summary - Mons to Bonn.
- Chief Signal Officer,
- Canadian Corps.
The following is a summary of the traffic handled by Wireless in the Canadian Corps from the date of departure from Mons, until our arrival at Bonn, or from November 12th, 1918 to December 22nd, 1918.
Canadian Corps Headquarters (including 5th C.D.A.)
- Messages transmitted - 603
- Messages received - 837
- Total messages - 1440
1st Canadian Division
Div Hqrs Station - 1426
- 1st Bde - 529
- 2nd Bde - 288
- 3rd Bde - 609
2nd Canadian Division
Div Hqrs Station - 449
- 4th Bde - 85
- 5th Bde - 89
- 6th Bde - 176
Total messages handled - 5091
The greater part of this traffic was composed of messages "In Clear". Daily traffic and the number of Sent and Received messages cannot be given for the Division.
(signed) W. Arthur Steel,
- Captain, CS, CE
- Wireless, Canadian Corps.
Appendix G - Wireless Equipment and Personnel Recommendations.
- Chief Signal Officer,
- Canadian Corps.
Reference D. Sigs/4721 of 5/12/18, re G.H.Q. conferences on Wireless Equipment and Personnel, the following suggestions are offered.
The experience of the past four years of war show that the Trench System, in part at least, should be adopted, i.e. Wireless Communication from Brigades back to G.H.Q. should be by C.W., leaving a clear field for Spark, on moderately short wavelengths, in the very forward areas. This would avoid the great jamming troubles now experienced in Corps-Division and Division-Brigade traffic, since C.W. is capable of much closer tuning than Spark Wireless. Spark sets as at present designed are not sufficiently powerful to cover the distances over which they have been called upon to work and as a result, relaying stations were necessary. This meant that important traffic was often seriously delayed. The C Mk II set has proved to be sufficiently powerful to cover the distances between Brigades and Divisions at all times but for work between Corps and Divisions a more powerful set would be necessary, especially under conditions such as have prevailed during the past four months. The chief drawback experienced in C.W. working has been jamming from spark sets. C.W. jamming is avoidable by close supervision on the part of control stations, but nothing can be done, with the sets as they exist at present, to avoid spark jamming.
It is particularly important the Communication between G.H.Q. and Armies and between Armies and Corps should be by C.W. as the amount of traffic passing between Crossley lorries often made it impossible for C.W. to work, for hours on stretch. This of course was particularly true during the Advance from Mons to the Rhine.
It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that Wireless can be made a reliable means of communication, not only for emergency use but also as an auxiliary to the existing wire communication. But before this can be successfully accomplished adequate transportation must be provided for all stations including Division, Brigade and Battalion Stations. This is of course particularly true of open warfare but in order to provide for the emergency when it arises, the transportation should be on the establishments of the various sections even during trench or stationary warfare. The one everpresent difficulty met with in the scheme of Wireless Communication in the Corps, has been the transportation question.
Based on the above general results, the following suggestions on equipment are offered: -
A. Corps Signal Company
- (a) For Communication to Army and Flanking Corps.
- 1 - 100 Watt C.W. lorry set complete with masts.
- (b) For Communication to Divisions.
- 1 - H.W.P. No. 1 Long Range C.W. set, or set of similar power mounted on a light car. This set to be complete with masts and accumulators.
- (c) For Corps Control Station.
- 1 - Set as in (b)
- (d) For Spark Control Station.
- 1 - Crossley lorry set complete, with Wilson transmitter mounted in addition, for short range work.
- # This item would only be necessary in case Spark was used from Division to Brigades.
- (e) For Corps Heavy Artillery Section
- 1 - Set as in sect (b) for Hqrs Station.
- 2 - C Mk III C.W. set complete, for each Brigade H.A.
- (f) For Accumulator Charging
- 1 - 5 ton Dennis lorry with 4 cylinder Austin engine, Generator and necessary charging panels.
- 1 - 1 K.W. Portable set for forward charging work with Corps Control Stations.
- 1 - 1 K.W. Portable set for Corps Heavy Artillery.
B. Divisional Signal Company
- (a) For Communication to Corps and Flanking Divisions.
- 1 - H.W.P. No 1 Long Range C.W. set, or set of similar power mounted on a light car. This set to be complete with masts and accumulators.
- (b) For Communication to Brigades
- 1 - C.W. Mk III set mounted in a light car for Headquarters station.
- 1 - C.W. Mk III set for each Infantry Brigade.
- 1 - Spare set per Division, to be used as stepping-up station or for Divisional Report Centre, as required.
- (c) For Communication Ahead of Brigades.
- 1 - set for Brigade Headquarters
- 1 - Set for each Battalion Headquarters.
- These sets to be designed on the principle of the present loop sets but with a more powerful transmitter and to work on a wavelength of 150 to 200 metres.
- Power buzzer-amplifier sets to be issued for Battalion use only.
- (d) For Artillery Communication
- 1 - C.W. Mk III set mounted in a light car for HQ Station.
- 2 - C.W. Mk III sets per Brigade F.A.
- (e) For Accumulator Charging
- 1 - 5 ton lorry with 4 cylinder Austin Engine, Generator and Charging Panel.
- 1 - 1 K.W. Portable set for forward work.
(1) Corps Signal Company.
- 1 - 15 cwt. box car for transportation of personnel kits, etc of Army and Divisional Stations.
- 1 - 15 cwt. box car for Heavy Artillery Section.
- 1 - 15 cwt. box car for use of control stations.
- 1 - 3 ton lorry for transportation of Shops and Stores.
(2) Heavy Artillery Brigade Sections, each.
- 1 - 15 cwt. box car, especially fitted to carry C Mk III sets, wavemeters, valves and spares. This car to carry all Brigade W/T equipment.
(3) Divisional Signal Company.
- 1 - 15 cwt. box car for Hqrs Stations.
- 1 - 15 cwt. box car for Artillery Section.
- 1 - 30 cwt. lorry for transportation of shops and stores.
(4) Brigade Signal Section, each.
- (a) Infantry.
- 1 - Specially designed limbered spring wagon, specially fitted to carry C Mk III sets, wavemeters, valves and spares. This wagon to carry all Brigade W/T equipment.
- (b) Artillery.
- 1 - Specially designed limbered spring wagon as above.
- Library and Archives Canada, RG 9 III-C-1. Volume/box number: 3925. File number: Folder 17, file 12.