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 reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. H.Q. Signals.
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