Signallers working at the headquarters of R.E.S.S. in France | National Library of Scotland

Access this resource

Just like a team of operators working at a busy telephone switchboard, this image shows the network of communications at company HQ that was required to co-ordinate an army’s activities.

The Royal Engineer Signals Service was formed in 1908, and provided communications during World War I. It was at this time that motorcycle dispatch riders, wireless sets and field telephones came into prominence on the Western Front. Towards the end of the war there was agreement that a separate Signal Corps regiment should be established, and the Royal Corps of Signals was established in July 1920.

Man standing second from left is dressed in American uniform, and so possibly an observer. Note that the British signalers each have a distinguishing armband, consisting of white over blue stripes (taken from the colours of the semaphore flags)


Original URL:

Resource Type : image

33 visits / 6 Like(s) (Like this resource)

Licence CC-BY-NC-SA

Cite : Signallers working at the headquarters of R.E.S.S. in France | National Library of Scotland ( by D. McLellan licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA (

Reuse : Web link

About Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
This entry was posted in Machine, Strange Meetings, Unconventional Soldiers. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply