Preview. TRAINING OF OFFICERS : The School of Signals/MCTE – Young Officers Course – Technical Courses – Refresher & Functional Course s– Foreign Courses (Officers) – EDPS Courses – Cipher Courses. TRAINING OF JUNIOR COMMISSIONED OFFICERS & OTHER RANKS : No. 1 Signal Training Centre – Foreman of Signals Course – Recruits Training – Upgrading & Remustering Courses – Foreign Courses (JCOs and NCOs) – No. 2 Signal Training Centre – Boys Regiment. CONCLUSION.
was set up in Mhow in October 1946 primarily to train officers, though it also
provided specialised training to JCOs and OR of cipher and workshop categories.
In August 1947 the School was partitioned, with one third of its assets going
to Indian Signal
Corps School .
Soon after Pakistan
it was redesignated as the Independence . Later, the School
of Signals was moved from Army Signal
School to Mhow and
amalgamated with the Poona . Apart from
training officers, the School sometimes provided pre-commission training to
cadets, who were subsequently granted regular, temporary, or emergency
commissions on passing out. This happened in the early years after School
of Signals (1947-50)
and again in 1963, after the Sino Indian conflict. In 1967 the Independence was redesignated as the Military
School of Signals (MCTE), in
keeping with the advanced technical training being imparted therein. college of Telecommunication Engineering
The Signal Training Centre was established at
in 1921 after reorganisation of the Signals Service Depot that had moved there
a year earlier form Jabalpur .
For many years, this was the only institution where personnel of Signals were
trained. During World War II additional training centres were raised but these
were disbanded when the war ended. Of the two centres in existence at the time
of Wellington ,
at Independence and
Jabalpur , the
latter was closed and its assets transferred to Bangalore . This left only the STC at
all training of Signals personnel was carried out until 1963, when two
additional centres were raised, Jabalpur Goa and . In 1967, the second centre located at Jabalpur (3 STC) was
disbanded. This left only two centres –
1 STC at Jabalpur
and 2 STC at Jabalpur Goa.
The STCs are responsible for providing basic training to recruits and technical training to all categories of tradesmen, except ciphers. It also conducts re-mustering and conversion courses for OR, as well as refresher and functional courses for JCOs. The Signals Records, Depot and Boys Regiment form part of 1 STC.
The growth of the major training institutions of the Corps - MCTE and STCs – is covered in this chapter. Details of major courses conducted in these institutions from 1947 to 1972 have also been dealt with. Courses conducted abroad and in other institutions have been mentioned briefly. Some details about Signals Records, Depot and Boys Regiment have also been given, though these do not strictly fall with the definition of training.
TRAINING OF OFFICERS
The School of Signals/MCTE
During World War II, several establishments were created to train officers of the Indian Signal Corps. These were the
School ; the Agra
(Ciphers) at Mhow; the Communication Security School at Mhow and the Inter-Communication
School , which
was part of the Signal Training Centre (British) at Mhow. After the war, these
institutions were disbanded and their functions taken over by the Signal Officers
Training School ,
which was established at Mhow on Indian Signal
Corps School 1 October 1946, with Lieutenant Colonel H.L. Lewis, Royal
Signals, as the first Commandant. The
original charter of the school included training of officers commissioned into
Signals after passing out from the ;
cipher training; higher signal training, both technical and tactical, of all
ranks; experiments and trials of new equipment and refresher courses for senior
signal officers. The establishment of the school included a headquarters and
four squadrons - HQ, 1, 2 and 3. The
Commandant (lieutenant colonel) was assisted by the Chief Instructor (major)
and the Adjutant (captain). The squadrons were commanded by officers of the
rank of major. Subsequently, in March
1947, the squadrons were re-designated as companies. Indian
At the time of Partition, the
was also split, with one third of its assets going to ISC School . The
Commandant, Lieutenant Colonel H.L. Lewis opted to go with Pakistan Signals and
left on Pakistan 27 October 1947,
handing over to the Deputy Commandant, Major I.D. Verma, who was promoted
lieutenant colonel, taking over as Officiating Commandant. On 26 June 1948 the
was redesignated as the ISC School . The
organisation of the school at that time was as shown below:- School
The HQ Squadron was designed to provide administrative and logistic cover for the school; No. 1 Squadron was responsible for the training of young officers; No. 2 Squadron conducted training in wireless and line subjects and No. 3 Squadron was responsible for training of cipher personnel. All squadrons were commanded by majors.
It was soon realised that existing organization was inadequate to meet the increasing commitments which the school was being called upon to undertake. In August 1949, the establishment was revised. Squadrons were redesignated as companies, of which a large number were created. These were grouped under two wings, responsible for basic and advanced training respectively.
The reorganization provided for a separate demonstration section, a pamphlets and translation section and a methods section which were under the school headquarters. The wing commanders of No. 1 and 2 Wings were upgraded to lieutenant colonel on
In July 1953 the establishment was again revised. The
, which had moved
from Army Signal
Mhow in September 1952 and was functioning as an independent entity until then,
was merged with Poona , becoming No 3
(All Arms) Wing. Another feature of the
reorganization was that all aspects of training were brought under the Deputy
Commandant, who also became the Chief Instructor. Hitherto, the wings had been responsible for
their own administration. This function now became the responsibility of the
Administrative Wing, leaving the instructional staff free to deal solely with
training without being burdened with administrative duties of their Wings. School
By the end of the decade it became evident that the increased training commitments of the school necessitated another review of the establishment in order to maintain the instructional and administrative efficiency of the organisation. A new organization was therefore proposed with a view to provide a more appropriate rank structure to the faculty and administrative staff commensurate with their responsibilities and duties; overcome the inadequacy of administrative staff; and reduce the load on instructors.
The salient features of the revised establishment implemented in 1961 were as under:-
· The Commandant was upgraded to the rank of brigadier.
· No. 1 and 2 Wings were re-designated as Tactical and Technical Wings.
· Cipher Company which previously formed a part of No. 2 Wing was organized as a separate wing under a lieutenant colonel/major.
· No. 3 Wing was re-designated as All Arms Wing under a lieutenant colonel.
The establishment sanctioned in 1961 once again proved inadequate to meet the increasing commitments of training and administration of the
. Two ad hoc increments were sanctioned in 1962
and 1963. The second increment was
sanctioned basically to meet the training commitments of officers granted
emergency commissions that were introduced in the aftermath of the 1962 war
with School of Signals .
The Cadets Wing had to be established on an impromptu basis to train the large
number of cadets who began arriving from the IMA and OTSs at China and Madras even before completing their cadet
training. On Poona 30 June 1963
a total of 140 officers were commissioned directly from the ,
including 55 emergency commissioned officers. There was a sudden increase in
the number of courses being run for young officers, with no less than 16 such
courses being conducted during the next two years. Since these officers had
undergone only a truncated version of the YOs course, a large number of short
courses were started to enable them to fill specific appointments in
units. School of Signals
Another major development was the creation of the Advisory Board for the
in July 1965, on the pattern of
the one that already existed for the School of Signals
in Kirkee. The board was chaired by the Scientific Adviser to the Defence
Minister and had representatives from several government departments,
universities, engineering colleges and professional institutions. The task of
the Advisory Board was to make recommendations relating to the syllabus,
equipment and method of instruction; receive and discuss the annual reports on
the progress made by the school; periodically review the functioning of the
school and recommend areas of expansion as well as those for induction of new
activities. It also reviewed the budget estimates including various grants
pertaining to the school. During its first meeting held in January 1966 the
Advisory Board recommended the adoption of the three years degree engineering
course, which had also been recommended by the Advisory Board of the College
of Military Engineering in 1963. College of Military Engineering
As a result of the large scale expansion and reorganisation programme undertaken in the wake of the 1962 war, the strength of the Corps more than doubled, increasing from 1000 officers and 27,000 JCOs/OR in 1962 to 2500 officers and 62,000 JCOs/OR in 1966. Besides this increase the Corps had undergone a process of modernization. Both these factors increased the training commitments of the School. On
October 1967 the was
re-designated as the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE)
in keeping with the advanced technical training of degree and post-degree
levels being imparted to the officers, JCOs and OR of the Corps. School
In 1968 the establishment of the MCTE was once again revised. The salient points of this revision were as under:-
· The Technical and Tactical Wings were redesignated as Faculty of Communication Engineering (FCE) and Faculty of Combat Communications (FCC) under colonels as faculty commanders.
· The Demonstration Brigade Signal Company was placed under FCC.
· The Technical Maintenance & Technical Administration (TM & TA) Wing was made responsible for the technical maintenance of all equipment in the college and design and production of training aids.
· Equipment and Quartermaster Wing was created to centralize all aspects of quartermaster duties both technical and general.
REVISED ESTABLISHMENT OF MCTE (1968)
Training in electronic data processing systems (EDPS) which was earlier being conducted at the Government Computer Centre,
, was decided to be carried out in MCTE. The third meeting of the Advisory Board for
the College which was held in 1969 recommended the creation of a separate
computer wing for the college. The
Computer Wing, sanctioned as an increment to the existing establishment of the
college in June 1971, was designed to run courses on programming and system
analysis for the officers of all arms and services. The wing was commanded by a lieutenant
During the 1971 war with
it was decided to suspend all courses of instruction at the College, so that
units involved in the operation were up to full strength. However, since the
war lasted for just two weeks, most of the students reached their units towards
the middle of December, just a day or two before the cease fire, some arriving
even afterwards. Normal training was resumed only after about three months when
the students returned. Due to lack of vacancies of majors in the units, most of
the instructional staff at the college could not be posted to units and remained in Mhow, carrying out
administrative jobs and mundane activities such as revising précis and training
pamphlets. In hindsight, it appears strange that the
services of these highly qualified officers were not made use of during the war
in units that were heavily committed in operations. Apart from depriving the
units of experienced officers, it caused great resentment and frustration among
the affected officers. A study on signal traffic during the 1971 war was
undertaken at under then Lieutenant Colonel Harbhajan Singh, OC Computer Wing.
For this study signal centre records including the messages from many units
were sent to MCTE. The report brought out the pattern and extent of traffic
(precedence, security classification, branch wise) during various stages of the
By the end of 1972, several changes had taken place in the Corps of Signals. After the issue of General Staff Policy Statement 76 concerning Plan AREN in December 1968, developmental work in regard to hardware had already commenced. The plan to switch over to the pattern of communication envisaged in Plan AREN had been finalized and it was appreciated that personnel of the Corps would have to be trained on the modern electronics technology and techniques used in the new family of equipment. The Corps had also been entrusted with the responsibility of planning, organizing and manning of electronic data processing system (EDPS) for the Army. Electronics Warfare (EW) was one of the responsibilities of the Corps and there was need to build up competence and capability in the college to impart training in this sphere also. Accordingly, a fresh proposal was drawn up to include the following on the establishment of the college:-
· A Faculty of Studies to be created.
· An EW Wing to be part of the FCC.
· Upgradation of the EDPS Wing to Faculty of Computer Technology.
· Re-designation of the Cipher Wing as the Faculty of Cryptology.
· Upgradation of All Arms Wing to a faculty.
Many of these changes were implemented after 1972 and have therefore not been covered in detail in this chapter. However, in the first 25 years of its existence, first as the
and then as the MCTE, the institution had expanded in size and scope. Initially
the School was designed to handle simultaneously a maximum of eight
courses. By the end of 1972 it was
conducting almost 30 courses of all types.
Basically, the courses run by the school/college were as given below:- School of Signals
· Signals Officers Courses
o Young Officers course.
o Signal Officers Degree Engineering course.
o Signals Junior Commanders Course.
o Signals Company Commanders Course.
o Senior Signals Officers Course.
o Signal Officers Advanced Telecommunication Engineering.
· Signals NCOs Courses (Supervisory)
o Foreman of Signals Course.
o Yeoman of Signals Course.
· Upgrading Courses (Instruction)
o Radio Mechanics Class 1.
o Line Mechanics Class 1.
o Telegraph Mechanics Class 1.
· Cipher Courses
o Basic Course.
o Upgrading Course.
o Refresher courses (Officers and JCOs).
· All Arms Courses
o Regimental Signal Officers course.
o Regimental Signal Instructors course.
· EDPS Courses
o Programmer and Systems Analyst course.
o Fortran Language course.
o Plan AREN Orientation course.
· Functional Courses
o Duty Signal Officers course.
o Duty Exchange Officers course.
o Officers Line Construction course.
o Officers Radio Relay and Line Equipment course.
o Officers Radio Equipment course.
o TOT refresher course.
· Miscellaneous Course - Seniors Officers Study Fortnight.
Young Officers Course
The term young officer, or YO, is generally used for a newly commissioned officer who has passed out from one of the cadet training institutions such as the Indian Military Academy (IMA) or the Officers Training School (OTS). The training of a young officer has always been given the highest consideration, since it forms the foundation on which the officer’s future career and his utility to the Corps and the Army are eventually built.
In the period preceding World War II, young officers commissioned into the Indian Signal Corps (ISC) from the IMA were trained for 18 months at Signal Training Centre (STC),
followed by a three month course at the , Army Signal
School and then a six month attachment with a
non-Indianised Signal unit (Waziristan District Signals). They were seconded
for duty with the ISC and formally posted to an Indianised signal unit (4
Indian Divisional Signals), only after they had been found up to the required
standard. When World War II began in 1939, the grant of regular commissions was
suspended and officers began to be granted emergency commissions after short
periods of training at Officer Cadets Training Units (OCTU) located at
Dehradun, Poona ,
Mhow and Bangalore .
Officers destined for Signals were then sent to the Cadets Wing at STC (B) at
Mhow, which was established in 1940, primarily for training BORs arriving from Belgaum . From 1943
onwards, British and Indian officers began to be commissioned from the OTS,
which was part of the STC (B). After the end of World War II, when STC (B) was
disbanded, newly commissioned officers began to be trained at UK
in Mhow. ISC School
young officers commissioned from the IMA came to the Independence
for attending the Young Officers’ course. The first few courses did so after
attending a short course at the School of Signals , Saugor. The
duration of the course was initially 52 weeks but was subsequently reduced to
six months. The course formed part of what was then known as the Post Academy
Training (PAT) course, after which students went to the Infantry
School , Army Signal
School and the Armoured Corps Centre and
School, Ahmednagar for further instruction in regimental signalling and
armoured communications. This was
discontinued from 1951 onwards as it was felt that this knowledge would be
picked up by the officer when he was posted to a signal section in a brigade or
a field regiment. Poona
The experiences of the first few officers who did the PAT course make interesting reading. One of the officers who did the first course was Lieutenant General M.S. Sodhi, who writes:-
Signals YOs Course (
Training Serial 1) being
abbreviated to PAT I is the correct designation. YO and PAT are not synonymous.
Our course which commenced in January 1947 included one officer Lieutenant
Saeed Ahmed. He later opted for Pak Army well before conclusion of the course
in June 1948. The duration was 18 months. I suppose details of syllabi
were being worked out on a continuing basis as we got on
with basic Signals training on the lines of the Signals OTS! The Platoon
Weapons Course that we did at Saugor for 8 weeks (26 January to 26 March)
was along with all other officers who had passed out with us from the IMA
in December 1946. From there we came back to resume the YO's Course which had
officially started on Post Academy 14
January 1947. In January 1948 we went to for the Regimental Signal Officers
Course at the Poona
(7January to 24 March). All others also came to Mhow for the Junior Leaders
Course at the Army
Signal School which we did not
have to do. 1 Infantry
It is pertinent to remember that during the first few years after
, there was an acute shortage of
training material and trained instructional staff. The British officers who had
received formal training in Independence
had all left. The dozen odd regular officers who had been trained at the STC
and the UK
were either commanding units or holding appointments on staff. The officers
available for instructional duties, who had mostly been commissioned during the
war, had not undergone any technical training. This naturally had an impact on
the quality of instruction, which improved with time. Lieutenant Colonel
Chittaranjan Soni, from the 2nd course, has described his
experiences in the following words:- Army Signal School
Training facilities at
Mhow during PAT2
were almost non-existent (except in elementary Electricity and Electronics
Theory). There were no précis issued to us in PAT2, as I would assume were
issued to YOs, CC, SO and later on. If my memory goes right there was a
meeting under Colonel I D Verma where it was decided that some
2nd Course Officers themselves would conduct classes! We mostly did some
exercises with Wireless Set 48 and spent time on digging pits for
Telephone GI poles with some outdoor exercises where nobody knew what was
happening! Instruction on Signals Procedure and Morse Training were good. Signal
School at Army Signal
School under Poona MBK Nair was well
organised. At Ahmednagar we had some joy rides in Stuarts and Shermans with
extreme heat inside when turrets were closed and learned operating WS 19. Col
I was Instructor at
57 to Jun 61 (initially Class C and later Class B) in Tactical Wing and
had taken classes for YOs, Company Commanders and SO courses in addition to
being Course Officer. The School was better organised by then. While standard
of instruction had considerably improved with good instructor material the
policy of awarding gradings was somewhat close minded which generated fear
psychosis in students’ minds. This wasted energy could be well spent on
voluntary imbibing knowledge; there being hardly any A or D but liberal C, E
and F and possibly a stringent one or two B gradings awarded. 2 School
of Signals Mhow
Young officers of PAT-I during an outdoor exercise at Beka village near Mhow, in Sep 1947.
From left to right : 2/Lt EN Ramadoss, 2/Lt KT Bopaya, Lt Balkar Singh, 2/Lt KK Poonawalla, Lt Norman (Instructor),
2/Lt MS Sodhi and 2/Lt SN Mookerjee
PAT courses were discontinued in 1951, when a new policy was laid down regarding the training of the young officers. This was as follows:-
· On completion of the course at the IMA, young officers proceeded to the
to attend the Young Officers course of 25 weeks. The object of the course was to train them
for employment as section officers in a divisional signal regiment. School of Signals
· At the end of their training at the
officers were sent to the STC for attachment for two weeks, after which they
were posted to divisional signal regiments for regimental duties for two to two
and a half years. School
· During their service in a divisional signal regiment, young officers had to do some additional courses. These were the Platoon Weapons Course at the Infantry School; the Physical Training Course at the Army School of Physical Training and the Signal Officers Course at the Army Signal School.
· On completion of two to two and a half years service with units young officers attended the Signal Special Engineering Course at the School of Military Engineering (SME),
. The duration of the course was 84 weeks and
only one course was conducted each year. This meant that two batches of young
officers did the course at the SME together. Poona
· After completion of the course at the SME, the young officers went to the
to attend the Officers Short Telecommunication (OST) course. This would bring them up to the standard
required for employment in any type of signal unit.3 School of Signals
Consequent to the amalgamation of the
with the Army Signal School , the sequence
of training of YOs was again revised. It was decided that the basic YOs course
would be of 24 weeks duration, followed by the Regimental Instructors Course in
the All Arms Wing. YOs would then be attached to the STC for one week before
being sent on attachment to divisional signal regiments for 24/30 weeks. School
During the Eighth CSOs/Commandants Conference in 1953, the consensus of opinion was that the young officers’ training policy should be revised with a view to allocating more time to them to appear in their retention/promotion examinations. Based on these recommendations the training policy of young officers was revised and promulgated in the General Staff training pamphlet ‘Post Commission Training Regular Officers’. According to the revised policy, the YOs basic course at the
would be of 27 weeks duration, including six weeks at the All Arms Wing and one
week at the STC. This would be followed by a three-year tenure in a divisional
signal regiment and two years in a higher formation signal unit. After this the
officers would attend the Signal Officers Special Engineering course of 84
weeks at the School of Signals ,
followed by the Short Telecommunication Course of 31 weeks at the College
of Military Engineering School of Signals.4
Within a year, the above policy was again revised. It was decided that after the YOs course whose content and duration remained unchanged, officers would be posted to a field signal unit. After 2½ to 3 years with a unit, they would be divided up into two categories, to be known as Technical Officers and General Duties Signals Officers. The first category, comprising about 40% of the young officers with better technical aptitude, would undergo the Signal Officers Special Engineering Course Part I (Basic Engineering) at the CME, Kirkee followed by its Part II at the
Mhow. The remaining 60% would do a new course at the School of Signals
which would be known as Young Officers Course Part II with the aim of bringing
them up technically to the standard required for a general duty signal officer
of the rank of captain.5 School of Signals
However, the above policy was never implemented as envisaged. At a later date, when it was decided to increase the duration the CME/OST course to three years and rename it as Signal Officers Degree Engineering Course, only officers who qualified in the entrance examination were sent on this course. When graduate officers who had a technical degree started joining the Army, they were detailed to do a basic course with a slightly different syllabus than the YOs course. This was due to the fact that basic subjects such as Electricity and Magnetism, Electronic Theory and other technical subjects had been taught to these officers in civil colleges before commissioning. In lieu of these subjects, graduate officers were given instructions on circuitry, fault finding and operation of complex line equipment and medium power radio sets which was not part of the syllabus of YOs course. However, this practice was discontinued when it was found that the performance of graduate officers even in technical subjects was below average as compared to the YOs. It was then decided to combine the YOs and graduate officers’ course and run it on a common syllabus. This move helped to create a healthy spirit of competition between the two and the performance overall improved.
The duration of the YOs course remained unchanged until 1962, when a major upheaval occurred as result of the 1962 war with
In December 1962, two courses – 30th and 31st – passed
out together from the IMA. Both courses proceeded to the China
together for their YOs course, which was reduced to three months. They were
then sent to units without going to the STC in accordance with the standard
practice. The three subsequent courses - 32nd, 33rd and
34th – were sent to the School of Signals together in
March 1963, after having completed only part of their training at the IMA. They
were commissioned on School
of Signals 30 June
1963 after undergoing the truncated two and half month YOs course.
By this time OTSs had started functioning at
and Poona from where
emergency commissioned officers (ECOs) began to arrive at Mhow. The first such
course reported to Mhow along with the regular officers in April 1963, passing
out with them on Madras 30 June
1963. During the period 1963 to 1965, twelve emergency courses
passed from out the IMA and the two OTSs, in addition to the regular courses.
As a result, 16 truncated YOs courses were conducted at the .
The situation returned to normal only in June 1965, when the 35th course
passed out from the IMA and proceeded to Mhow to undergo the full YOs course of
26 weeks duration. In the event, this course too had to be terminated about a
month earlier than scheduled, as a result of the 1965 war with Pakistan, and
the officers were sent to their units in November 1965, without visiting the
STC at the end of the course. After 1965 the grant of emergency commissions was
stopped. However, short service commissions began to be granted to officers
passing from the OTS at School of Signals
from April 1966 onwards. Since the dates of passing out in the OTS did not
match those of the IMA, separate YOs courses had to be conducted for these
During the 1971 war with
courses at the IMA were curtailed. The 46th course passed out on Pakistan 14 November 1971, a month
earlier than scheduled. A
short Young Officers course of 15 weeks duration was conducted for these
officers from 25 November
1971. The next course at the
IMA was shortened by three months, passing out on 31 March 1972. After this the situation returned
to normal, and regular YO’s courses of six months began to be conducted for
officers passing out from the IMA and OTS, which was later redesignated as the
Officers Training Academy (OTA).
At the time of
, facilities for technical
training of officers in the Corps were virtually non-existent. In earlier days,
the officer cadre of Corps comprised a large number of Royal Signals officers,
many of whom had undergone technical training in Independence . With the departure of these
officers in 1947, there were very officers left in the Corps who were
technically trained. To remedy the situation it was decided to commence
technical courses at the UK at Mhow and also
to send selected officers to the ISC
School for technical courses at the UK , Catterick. The
first Officers Telecommunications Course (OTC-1) commenced at the Royal Signals
in 1947, followed by a second course in April 1948. The course was of 28 weeks
duration and officers were selected after qualifying in an entrance
examination. This was the forerunner of the Officers Long Telecommunication
(OLT) course that was later redesignated as the Signal Officers Advanced
Telecommunication Engineering (SOATE) course. ISC School
To fulfil the immediate requirement of updating the technical knowledge of officers after
, Officers Advanced Wireless
(OAL) and Officers Advanced Line (OAL) courses were conducted at the Independence .
These courses were discontinued when the OLT course was started. However, they were
again introduced in 1951. Selection for these courses was done through an
entrance examination as was being done for the OLT course. ISC School
In 1950 it was decided to conduct the Signal Officers Special Engineering Course at the School of Military Engineering (SME), Kirkee. The first course commenced at the SME in January 1951, ending in August 1952. The duration of the course was 84 weeks and officers were sent on the course after having spent two to two and a half years in a signal unit. Since only one course was conducted in a year, two batches of YOs did the course together. On completion of the course at SME these officers did the Officers Short Telecommunication (OST) of 31 weeks duration at the
, Mhow. School
In 1953 it was decided to review the syllabi of the Signal Officers Special Engineering and the Short Telecommunication Courses. This was done with the view to eliminate portions of the syllabus of the Special Engineering Course which were superfluous to the study of telecommunication engineering and transfer some portions to the Short Telecommunication Course. Some portions that were common to both syllabi would be amalgamated and the total duration of the courses would be reduced. As a result of this review, it was decided that all instructions pertaining to Army equipment will be transferred to the Short Telecommunication Course and only theoretical principles will continue to be taught at the Special Engineering Course. The duration of these courses would be 72 and 36 weeks respectively, making a total of 108 weeks i.e. a little over two years.6
In 1964-65 a new policy was issued for the training of officers. It was decided that all regular officers, except engineering graduates, would undergo the Signals Officers Degree Engineering course. The Advisory Board for the
had been formed in September 1963. After examining the syllabi of various
degree engineering course in 1964-65, the Board recommended that the duration
of the Signals Officers Degree Engineering course should be increased to three
years and syllabus brought up to the standards prevailing in degree engineering
courses of the universities. A similar recommendation was given by Advisory
Board that was established for the College
of Military Engineering in 1965. School
As a result of these recommendations, the duration of the Signal Officers Degree Engineering Course Parts I and II run at the
of Military Engineering was increased from 113 weeks to
156 weeks with effect from the course which commenced in July 1966 (SODE-18).
The two parts of the course, which were earlier abbreviated as ‘CME’ and ‘OST’,
were redesignated as Signal Officers Degree Engineering Course Part I (SODE
Part I) and Signal Officers Degree Engineering Course Part II (SODE Part II).7 School of Signals
An important step was the introduction of the scheme for post graduate training of officers in civil universities in
and abroad. In order to train officers of the technical Arms in the latest
technological developments in the field of engineering, a scheme was sanctioned
by the Government during 1965-66, as an experimental measure for a period of
five years. The scheme was open to the
regular commissioned officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force. 15 vacancies were allotted to the Army during
1965-66. Two officers from the Corps of
Signals were nominated on the ME course in Electrical Communication Engineering
at the India , Institute
of Science in 1966-67.
Thereafter, officers were sent for similar courses to various universities and
institutes, including the Indian Institutes of Technology.8 Bangalore
In 1966, approval was obtained for selected signal officers to do engineering courses in civil engineering colleges and universities. One officer attended the three year degree course in Telecommunication Engineering at the
Engineering College in
1966, followed by two officers in 1967. However, after two years the scheme was
discontinued and no more officers were detailed for BE courses in civilian
universities. However, the nomination of officers on ME courses continued. Jabalpur
An important decision regarding the SODE course was taken in 1968, when the revised policy on post commission training of officers was issued. The revised pamphlet titled ‘Post Commission Training of Permanent Commission Officers 1968’ had two main features pertaining to officers of the Corps. It laid down that SODE is a basic course and is to be attended by all permanent commissioned officers. It also stated that the Senior Signal Officers and Signal Company Commander’s courses had been designated as career courses.9
As already mentioned, the Officers Long Telecommunication Course (OLT) was introduced in 1947 as the Officers Telecommunications Course. This course, initially, was conducted as an equipment oriented course. Selected officers of the Corps were given training in the circuitry, operation, repair and maintenance of all radio and line equipments in use in the Army. The duration of the first two courses was 28 weeks. It was later increased to 40 weeks and later on to 88 weeks. The aim of the course was also modified ‘to train selected officers in the more advanced theory and practice of telecommunication with special reference to application of modern telecommunication techniques to the practical requirements of Army Signal communications’. Even at this stage the emphasis was on ‘Equipments’ though Electronics Theory subjects had been included in the syllabus to the extent of almost 50 percent of the total.
According to the revised policy for training of officers laid down in 1964-65, it was decided that the course will be of post graduate standard and entry will be restricted to officers who are engineering graduates or have qualified on the SODE course. Selection of officers for the course was through an entrance examination. It was found that general performance of the course was not very satisfactory. Even though officers qualified in the entrance tests, they could not keep up with the pace and depth of instruction. With the level of the course elevated to post graduate standard, it was essential that officers with sufficient technical background and proven aptitude for higher studies in telecommunication engineering are selected for the course. In 1971 it was decided that the system of entrance examination be discontinued and that selection of officers be carried out by Army HQ (Signals Directorate). Officers selected for the course should have a degree in engineering (BE Telecom or equivalent) or qualified on SODE course with a minimum grading of ‘B’ and recommended for higher studies.
Since the input level of students was already of degree standard and the course was given the status of a post graduate course, the emphasis on equipment orientation was removed. The course was re-designed to train selected officers in advanced telecommunications practice to enable them to plan and design communication system and to function as communication staff officers and equipment staff officers at higher headquarters. The duration of the course was also changed to 60 weeks.
The Officers Long Telecommunication (OLT) Course was redesignated as Signal Officers Advanced Telecommunication Engineering (SOATE) Course with effect from course serial OLT-14 which commenced at MCTE on
January 1970. It was also
decided to do away with the entrance examination for the course with effect
from SOATE -15. The selection of
officers for this course was done by interviews at the Signal Directorate on
the same lines as that of the Technical Staff Officers course.
In anticipation of the imminent hostilities a number of measures that affected training were taken in August 1971. The SOATE and Signal Company Commanders courses were postponed indefinitely. The period of training in respect of the YOs course was also reduced. On commencement of the war In December 1971, all courses in CME and MCTE were suspended or postponed, including the SODE course. The officers undergoing these courses were despatched to the units from which they had joined the courses. However, the majority of officers arrived in the units when the war had almost ended. The SODE courses in MCTE were resumed in March 1972 and those in the CME in May 1972. The SOATE course (SOATE-15) that had been postponed indefinitely eventually commenced on
29 May 1972.
Refresher & Functional Courses
In addition to the YOs course and technical courses such as the OST and OLT, a number of refresher and functional courses were conducted for officers from time to time. In the initial years before the commencement of the OST course, the following courses were conducted at the
for officers:- ISC School
· Assistant Duty Signal Officer (ADSO) course.
· Direct Commissioned Officers course.
· Temporary Commissioned Officers course.
· Officers’ Basic Refresher course.
· Graduate Officers course.
· Officers RTT course.
· Senior Signals Officers Refresher course.
· Signals Company Commanders course.
· Signals Junior Commanders course
In 1964-65, a new policy was issued for the training of officers. The aim and scope of the Signals Junior Commanders and Company Commanders courses were rationalized. Until then, officers who had not done the OST/SODE course were sent on the Signals Junior Commanders course. It was decided that different types of Signals Junior Commanders courses would be conducted for engineering graduate officers and those non-graduate officers who for any reason were unable to qualify on the SODE course. The Senior Signals Officers course was to be a discussion-cum-study group course of shorter duration. Refresher courses were also conducted for technical officers telecom (TOT) and cipher officers.
In 1964-65 a number of short functional and equipment oriented courses were introduced. These were basically meant for the non-regular officers and those regular officers who had undergone abbreviated YOs courses during the Emergency. The courses in this category were the Duty Signal Officers course, Duty Exchange Officers course, Officers Line Construction course, Officers Radio Relay and Line Equipment course and Officers Radio Equipment course. These courses continued for about five years and were discontinued once the emergency commissioned officers began to be sent on the SODE course after grant of regular commissions from 1969 onwards.
However, some refresher courses for officers and JCOs continued to be run at the MCTE. These were as under:-
· Duty Exchange Officers/JCOs course
· Duty Signal Officers/JCOs course
· TOT/Foreman of Signals Refresher course
· Junior Cipher Officers/JCOs course
In addition to the courses being conducted at the MCTE, functional courses were also conducted in other establishments and institutions. These were as given below:-
· Joint Electronic Warfare course
Naval Signal School,
· Systems Analysis and Design course at the National Institute of Training in Industrial Engineering, Powai,
· Troposcatter course at the National Physical Laboratory,
· Satellite Communication Technology course at the Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station, Ahmedabad.
Foreign Courses (Officers)
In the early years, due to lack of availability of advanced technical training facilities in
selected officers as well as JCOs and NCOs were sent abroad for undergoing
specialised training, mostly to the India and UK . At that time, most of the equipment
in service was of British and American origin and equipment oriented training
was available only those countries. These courses were conducted at training
institutions of the Royal Signals and US Army Signal Corps as well as in some
civil institutions. Some of these foreign courses for officers were as under:- USA
· General Radio Engineering course at
. Marconi College,
· Transistor Theory and Practice course at Messrs Mullards Ltd,
· Telecommunication Engineering course at
of Signals Catterick, UK
· Long Telecommunication course at
School of Signals Catterick, UK
· Short Telecommunication course at
of Signals Catterick, UK
· Senior Officers Refresher course at
of Signals Catterick, UK
· Army Wireless Chain course at
· Land Air Warfare course at Old Sarum,
· Basic Signal Course at the Combined
Signal School . Fermington, UK
· Special Telecommunication course at the General Post Office, London, UK (officers & JCOs).
· Signal Material Maintenance Officers course, USA.
· Microwave Radio Officers course, USA
· Telephone & Teletypewriters Officers course, USA
· Associate Signal Officers Career course/Signal Officers Career course, USA.
· ADPS Plans/Operations Officers course, USA.
· Signals Advance course, USA
· Defence Management Systems course, USA
· Logistics Executive Development course, USA
· Single Side Band Wireless Repair course, USA (officers & JCOs).
The normal allotment of vacancies was two to three per year. However, after the sudden increase in the size of the Corps in the period 1963-65, additional vacancies were allotted, especially in the USA. In 1964 alone, six officers were sent to the USA on various courses. There were instances when vacancies on foreign courses allotted to the Corps could not be availed due to lack of foreign exchange. Most of the courses in USA were conducted at US Army Signals School, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. From 1971 onwards, some ADPS courses were also conducted at the US Army Adjutant General School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.
In 1964 information was received from the War Office in UK that due to certain changes in syllabus, the security grading of the Telecommunication Engineering course had been upgraded and vacancies on this course could no longer be allotted to India. The matter was taken up with the British authorities who intimated that it had been decided not to allow foreign students on the regular TE course because of security reasons. However, they were planning to start a new course for the overseas students which would be designated as Telecommunications Engineering (Overseas) Course. The duration of this course was 42 weeks and the first course commenced in April 1969, on which one vacancy was allotted to India.
In addition to courses conducted in foreign countries, officers were sometimes trained through correspondence courses conducted by training institutions abroad. This had the advantage of a larger number of officers being trained at the same time. An example of this was the Radio Relay and Automatic Data Processing Correspondence courses conducted by US Army Signal School. The course had two parts or sub courses, one dealing with radio relay and the other with ADPS. About four to five officers were nominated to undergo each part of the course separately.
With the improvement of facilities for advanced training in India and the introduction of indigenous equipment in service, the number of foreign courses was gradually reduced. After 1966, officers began to be sent to civil institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore or the Indian Institutes of Technology for post graduate training. With this, the need for sending officers abroad ceased. Though selected officers continued to be sent abroad for post graduate courses, their numbers were small.
After the introduction of Electronic Data Processing Systems (EDPS) in the Army in the mid sixties, a need was felt for training officers in this new field. Major R. Thiagarajan and Major O. A. Pereira were the first two officers to attend an intensive course in EDP in 1966 at Indian Statistical Organization, Calcutta. Thereafter, several officers attended various courses in programming and systems analysis at the Government of India Computer Centre, New Delhi, on Honeywell-400 system. Major N.S. Parmar (Engineers), Major S.S. Bains (Signals) and Major Kaushal (EME) were amongst the officers selected to attend the first course in early 1967. The duration of the course was ten months and included comprehensive instruction in system analysis and design, programming and hardware maintenance. Based on course performance of the graduating class of thirty, Majors S.S. Bains and N.S. Parmar were retained as instructors for subsequent courses.
Consequent to the decision to install ICL 1904 system for the Army in early 1971, the vendors ICL (UK) conducted two comprehensive systems and programming courses at Bangalore where similar ICL computer systems were already operational. Nearly thirty officers of Army HQ EDP Centre and those selected for further assignments attended these courses. In addition to the courses being conducted in India, a few officers were nominated to attend EDPS courses in the USA, which had already made rapid strides in this field. Courses in automatic data processing (ADP) conducted at the US Army Signal School in Fort Monmouth in USA were attended by Major M.S. Sodhi and Major R.P. Singh. These courses were later shifted to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, where Major Harbhajan Singh, Major Navani and Major Kulwinder Singh did the courses.
Training in EDPS in MCTE, Mhow started in 1970. Major A. S. Kahlon and Major Purshotam Singh were posted to MCTE after the first ICL Course to organize systems design and programming courses. They conducted two courses each of three months duration for sixteen officers each of Army, Navy and Air Force. The first ad-hoc course on EDPS commenced at the MCTE on 2 February 1970. This was a Programmer-cum-Systems Analysts course based on the Honeywell 400 System and concluded on 25 April 1970. The second course scheduled for May 70 had to be postponed owing to reorientation of the syllabus necessitated by the sanction of a new ICL 1904 computer system exclusively for the Army. Training of personnel who were to man the computer was conducted under the arrangements of the suppliers.
Subsequently in 1971, a computer technology wing was formally sanctioned at MCTE to provide a base for training of service personnel including Army, Navy, Air Force and civilians belonging to other cadres of the Ministry of Defence. Lieutenant Colonel Harbhajan Singh was the first officer to command this wing on return from USA after attending the ADP course. He has described his experience in the following words:-
I was posted as Officer Commanding of the newly sanctioned EDP/Computer Wing at MCTE Mhow in May 1971, on return from ADP Plans and Operations Course at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, USA. The Wing, a rather small set up, was located in a barrack near the old FCC Office. Two ad-hoc courses had been conducted before I took over.
Those days there were only Main Frame Computers, with a number of Magnetic Tape Decks and Removable/Fixed Disc Drives. Programs were written on coding sheets. The programs and data were punched on 80 column cards, nearly the size of a post card, then verified using a Verifier Machine by keying in every character a second time and fed in to the computer using a Card Reader. The card decks could fill boxes at times and if the cards fell down or got mixed up, they had to be sorted on a Sorter Machine!!
The programming training was oriented towards ICL 1904 Computer installed at the Army Headquarters EDP Centre, at Delhi. In MCTE there were just a few Punched Card and Verifier Machines and no other hardware. The students wrote the programs on coding sheets from which cards were punched and sent to Delhi for compiling. On receipt of the errors from Delhi, the programs were corrected by students in Mhow and sent again for compiling!! Quite a time consuming and tedious process!! The whole course was also taken to The Computer Centre at Delhi for two weeks for compiling and running programs and doing a project. This was not the ideal situation but a good make shift arrangement till a computer was installed at Mhow. The course at MCTE was designed on the lines of the ones conducted in USA. COBOL, FORTRAN and assembly language were covered along with systems analysis and design and operation of an EDP Centre. The courses were conducted for all arms. Some officers from the Navy and Air Force as also Ministry of Defence also attended the courses. The instructional staff was also from all arms/services viz. Major Amarjit Singh Kahlon, Major S.S. Bains, Major J.L. Chatterjee (all Signals), Major B.K. Kalra and Major (both Ordnance) and an EME officer. 10
A Main Frame Computer
Punched Card Machine
During World War II, cipher officers at formation headquarters functioned under the Intelligence Branch. In 1943, the responsibility for operation of ciphers including training of cipher personnel was transferred to Signals. A cipher school was established at Mhow as part of STC (British). Before Independence, codes and ciphers were handled by British personnel. The first course for training 20 Indian cipher operators commenced in early 1947 at the Indian Signal Corps School that had been established at Mhow in October 1946 after the disbandment of STC (British).
After the departure of British personnel in 1947, recruitment of cipher operators was initially done by transfers from other arms/services. This was stopped after 1948 and cipher operators began to be re-mustered from other within the Corps. To make up the deficiency of cipher officers volunteers were asked from other arms/services. These officers were transferred to Signals as cipher officers after undergoing a conversion course at the School of Signals. In addition, selection boards were held to screen suitable JCOs for grant of SSRC as cipher officers. As result, two cipher officers (Balakrishna Nair and Rajinder Singh) were given SSRC for 5 and 3 years respectively on 1 January 1948. Five months later, two more cipher officers (N.G. Bakshi and R.K .Nambiar) were given SSRC for similar periods. The type of SSRC (5 or 3 years) depended on the rank (Subedar or Jemadar) held by the JCOs.
When the Indian Signal Corps School was established at Mhow in October 1946, it included No. 3 Squadron which was responsible for cipher training. It was then commanded by Major Prince who was succeeded by Captain W.A. Tornay in October 1947. In August 1949, when the establishment of the School of Signals was revised, squadrons were redesignated as companies which were grouped under two wings. The cipher company formed part of No 2 Wing that was responsible advanced training. In 1961 the cipher company was organized as a separate wing under a lieutenant colonel/major.
There was no direct recruitment in ciphers, the personnel being re-mustered from other trades. Cipher courses for officers as well as JCOs and OR were conducted at the Cipher Company/Wing at School of Signals. These include the basic and upgrading course for cipher operators and refresher courses for cipher officers and JCOs.
In 1952, the first Officers Basic Cipher course (OBC-1) was conducted for seven temporary commissioned officers who volunteered to join as cipher officers. From 1954 onwards an entrance test was introduced for volunteers for transfer from other trades as cipher operators. Those who passed the test were sent to do the basic cipher course at the School of Signals. In addition to the basic course, upgrading courses were conducted for class 2 and 3 cipher operators. Periodically, refresher courses were also run for cipher officers and JCOs.
In addition to personnel from Signals, the Cipher Wing sometimes trained personnel from other establishments. In 1954/55, a course of eight weeks duration was conducted to train civilian staff employed in the Joint Cipher Bureau of the Ministry of Defence. In 1950/51 and again in 1956/57 basic courses of eight weeks duration were run for cipher operators of the Indian Railways. A six-week refresher course was also run in 1956/57, followed by a four-week course in 1958 for training Railway Cipher Inspectors in the use of a certain new cryptosystem proposed to be introduced in the Railways.
A large number of officers were given emergency commissions in 1963-64. Many of these officers who were in the higher age group volunteered to serve as cipher officers. Two conversion courses were conducted during 1965/66 for these ECOs to make them eligible for transfer to the SL cadre as cipher officers.
Consequent to the introduction of equipment cipher line (ECL), non-cipher technical subjects such as E&M, AC Theory and Mathematics were included in the syllabi of all cipher courses during 1970. Since most of the intake to the cipher category was from mechanic and operator group, this training was felt to be of little use. It was therefore done away with it in 1972. However, for entrants who did not belong to mechanic/operator categories, a two weeks pre-course training on technical subjects was arranged at 1 STC prior to the commencement of the basic cipher course.
The various types of cipher courses conducted by the MCTE were as under:-
· Cipher Basic Course This was a conversion cum basic course for OR for transfer from other trades to cipher category. Personnel with 3 to 8 years service experience were selected to undergo training after passing a test conducted by the MCTE. The duration of this course has been varying from time to time between 8 and 23 weeks. In 1972 the duration of the course was 14 weeks, which was subsequently increased to 20 weeks.
· Cipher Upgrading Courses Class 2 and 1 These were conducted to upgrade operators cipher from class 3 to 2 and class 2 to 1 respectively. The personnel for these courses were detailed by Signals Records according to seniority and recommendations of the unit commanders received through the CSO Commands. The duration of the Class 2 course has been varying between 8 and 17 weeks from time to time. In 1972 the duration was 12 weeks. The duration of the Class 1 course has been varying between 10 and 19 weeks. In 1972 the duration was 10 weeks.
· Junior Officers (Cipher) Course This was a mixed course for officers and JCOs who are potential officers, the duration of the course being six weeks. The aim of the course was to impart training to junior cipher officers to appreciate and plan cipher cover in varied situations and to function as cipher and signal security staff officers at formation headquarters. The first such course (JOC-1) was conducted in 1972.
· Cipher Officers Refresher Course This was run up to 1962. Due to pressure on the Wing in imparting training to OR to meet the increased requirement of cipher personnel as a result of sudden expansion of the Army after Chinese aggression in 1962, this course was discontinued.
TRAINING OF JUNIOR COMMISSIONED OFFICERS & OTHER RANKS
No 1 Signal Training Centre
At the end of World War II, there were two training centres for personnel of the Indian Signal Corps. These were the Signal Training Centre (Indian), Jubbulpore and the Signal Training Centre (Indian), Bangalore. On 15 August 1946 the Signal Training Centre (Indian), Jubbulpore was redesignated as No. 1 Signal Training Centre (Indian) and placed under the Indian Signal Corps Centre that had been created at Jubbulpore, which also had under it the Records, Depot and the Demobilisation Wing. The Commandants of the ISC Centre and No. 1 STC (I) were both of the rank of colonel, though the former had the disciplinary powers of a brigade commander. Similarly, the Signal Training Centre (Indian), Bangalore became No. 2 Signal Training Centre (Indian).
In June 1947, No. 1 Signal Training Centre (Indian) was re-designated as No. 1 Indian Signal Corps Centre and No. 2 Signal Training Centre (Indian) was re-designated as No. 2 Indian Signal Corps Centre. At the time of Partition in August 1947, No. 1 Indian Signal Corps Centre consisted of HQ, the Military Training Regiment, the Technical Training Regiment, the Boys Regiment, the Depot and Demob Regiment and the Indian Signal Records. The composition of No 2 Indian Signal Corps Centre was similar, except for the Depot and Records.
Since the newly created state of Pakistan did not have any training centre, - the one at Sialkot had been closed after the War – it was decided to close the centre at Bangalore and transfer its assets to Pakistan, where a new centre would be established at Murree Hills. However, since the Muslim personnel who were to go to Pakistan were being trained at Jubbulpore and the non-Muslim personnel who were to remain in India were at Bangalore, this involved the shifting of a large number of personnel from Bangalore to Jubbulpore before the division could be effected. Approximately 1500 personnel of No. 2 ISC Centre had to be moved from Bangalore to Jubbulpore and 486 personnel of the Boys Regiment from Bangalore to Mhow. Approximately 2500 personnel from Jubbulpore and 150 from Bangalore moved to Murree Hills; while 643 from Mhow and 107 from Poona moved to Rawalpindi. Heavy stores and equipment accompanied all these moves, which took place well after Partition. These moves were expected to be completed by January 1948 but in view of the worsening communal situation, in September 1947 it was decided that the personnel to be transferred to Pakistan should move without waiting for the courses in progress to be completed.
On 12 September 1947, a small party under Captain Kelsey, Royal Signals, proceeded to Western Pakistan to finalize arrangements for locating the Pakistan Signals Centre. On 1 October, a small detachment of Signals Records reached Ambala to receive the personnel in Pakistan who had opted for India and send them directly to the units earmarked for them. They were also to assist personnel on leave who had been stranded in Eastern Punjab because of disturbances and floods. Between 24 and 24 October, the advance party of No. 2 ISC Centre arrived in Jubbulpore with the stores and equipment which had been allotted to Pakistan.
On 27 October 1947, the first contingent of personnel who had opted for Pakistan, comprising three officers, ten JCOs and 174 OR left Jubbulpore for Western Pakistan by a special train under command of Lieutenant Colonel J.N. Barker. On the same day, Major Feroze Khan, commanding the Depot and Demob Regiment, and his adjutant were placed under close arrest for rendering a false certificate in connection with search of the contingent going to Pakistan. During October, the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, Royal Signals was finally closed. The silver and trophies were divided, half being presented to Officers Mess STC and the remainder sent to Catterick in UK. On 01 November 1947, the establishment of Depot and Demob Regiment, No. 1 ISC Centre was further reduced and the unit re-designated as Depot and Demob Wing, STC (I). The move of personnel to Pakistan continued during the month, the fourth and last contingent departing on 22 November 1947.
On 1 December 1947, Colonel Apar Singh, MBE, the first Indian to command the Centre, took over as Commandant No. 1 ISC Centre from Colonel R.J. Moberly, OBE, the last British Commandant. Giving an account of the division of the Centre, Colonel Moberly has written:
The writer was responsible for dividing equipment, money and regimental property in the ratio 2 to 1 for India and the future Pakistan. The Record Office was divided into two and all equipment and stores were selected by boards of officers, always consisting of equal members of Indians and Pakistanis. Priority signal equipment for a new Signal Training Centre to Pakistan was earmarked for carriage in four trucks followed in the backs of special trains carrying soldiers, and Records Office personnel to Pakistan. Money and Trophies were divided in consultation with General Headquarters, the writer having to travel there to make detailed arrangements.
As the railways were disrupted by floods, two months after Independence in 1947 there were still 2500 Punjabi Mussalmans under the writer’s command in Jabalpur. In the end the trains left, and the long task of division, a very sad one for the writer, was completed”.11
In June 1948, the designation of No. 1 ISC Centre was changed to Signal Training Centre. A month later, the establishment of the Military Training Regiment was increased and it was reorganised on four company basis i.e. one headquarters and three training companies. The rank of the officer commanding was upgraded from major to lieutenant colonel. Shortly afterwards, on 3 August 1948, the Boys Regiment arrived from Mhow and occupied the Napier Lines which had by then been vacated by the ‘G’ Company, Technical Training Regiment consequent to their move to the Roberts Barracks.
In December 1948, the Technical Training Regiment was enlarged and split into two regiments – 1 Technical Training Regiment and 2 Technical Training Regiment. The two units were, however never actually separated. The senior lieutenant colonel commanded both units as a whole and the junior acted as chief instructor for them. In view of this increase, the establishment of HQ STC was also revised to include a Deputy Commandant (lieutenant colonel), a GSO 2 (Technical Training) and a GSO 2 (Methods). The staff officer (major) formerly authorized in the establishment was redesignated GSO 2 (Staff Duties).
On 01 July 1950, the establishment of the Depot and Demob Wing, STC, was further reduced and it was re-designated as Depot Company, STC. The rank of the officer commanding was downgraded from major to captain. In October 1950, the two technical training regiments were separated and commenced functioning as separate units. Their training responsibilities were divided. No. 1 Technical Training Regiment took over training of mechanics, linemen, despatch rider and mechanical transport drivers while 2 Technical Training Regiment was made responsible for training operators, clerks, draughtsmen, carpenters and storemen technical.
The organisation of the STC as revised in Apr 1951 was as shown below:-
In November 1953 the establishment of the STC was again revised, with the headquarters and each training regiment having its independent peace establishment (PE). This continued up to 1957 when there was another revision that became effective from 1 Jun 1958. Salient features of the revised PE were as given below:-
· HQ STC comprised the Commandant (colonel); Deputy Commandant (lieutenant colonel); Technical Training and Methods Officer (major); Major Staff Duties; Training and Methods Officer (captain); Technical Officer Telecommunication (major); General Duties and Accounts Officer (subaltern); and the Physical Training Officer (captain). The Methods Team and Telecommunication Maintenance Section formed part of the headquarters.
· The Military Training Regiment, which was designed to hold 1150 recruits at any one time. It consisted of the regimental headquarters, HQ Company and three military training companies.
· No 1 Technical Training Regiment, which was designed to cater for 1280 trainees at any one time. It comprised the regimental headquarters, HQ Company, Workshop Wing and Other Trades Wings.
· No 2 Technical Training Regiment, which was designed to cater for 1152 initial technical trainees and for 192 Army HQ courses at any one time. It comprised the regimental headquarters, Administrative Company, A and B Wings.
In January 1962 an additional military training regiment was sanctioned for the STC and the raising was be completed by 15 August1962. Soon after wards the Chinese aggression resulted in major changes in the organisation of the training establishments to cater for the large number of new signal units that were raised. Two additional signal training centres were raised, one each at Panjim (Goa) and Jabalpur. The signal training centre already existing at Jabalpur was redesignated as No. 1 Signal Training Centre. The new centres raised were No. 2 Signal Training Centre at Panjim and No. 3 Signal Training Centre at Jabalpur. No 4 Technical Training Regiment was raised as part of No. 3 STC to train personnel of operator, clerk, draughtsman and carpenter trades. This unit was initially raised along with 2 Technical Training Regiment of No. 1 STC but started functioning independently with effect from May 1963 and moved to Mandla Road in September 1963.
The establishment of No 1 STC was revised in January 1967 and for the first time the independent establishments of the units were merged and only one PE was issued for the whole Signal Training Centre except for the Boys and Depot Regiment. According to this revised PE No. 1 STC was designed to train at any one time 3496 Recruits, 32 Army HQ promotion (S) course trainees and 464 Army HQ conversion and upgrading technical course trainees. The main features of the PE were as follows:-
· HQ STC, comprising the Training Aids, Methods and Training Team; Trade Allotment and Trade Testing Team and Mechanical Transport Company.
· Military Training Regiment comprising HQ Company, six military training companies and one Promotion (S) Course Trainees Section (1080 recruits, 32 trainees)
· Technical Training Regiment (Type ‘A’) comprising HQ Company and technical training companies for workshop trades (608 recruits, 192 trainees).
· Technical Training Regiment (Type ‘B’) comprising HQ Company and technical training companies for operator trades (880 recruits, 240 trainees)
· Technical Training Regiment (Type ‘C’) comprising HQ Company and technical training companies for other trades, (928 recruits, 32 trainees)
In 1967 No. 3 STC at Jabalpur was disbanded. The Other Trades Wing of 1 Technical Training Regiment which was training linemen, drivers and DR moved to 2 Technical Training Regiment. The Operator Trades Training Company of 2 Technical Training Regiment moved to 4 Technical Training Regiment, which became a part 1 STC. Thus No. 1 STC was reorganized and comprised four training regiments - 1 Military Training Regiment; 1 Technical Training Regiment (Type A); 2 Technical Training Regiment (Type C); and 4 Technical Training Regiment (Type B).
In 1971 a fresh PE was issued for No. 1 STC incorporating minor changes such as the authorization of a Chief Instructor (lieutenant colonel) in HQ STC in addition to the Deputy Commandant (lieutenant colonel). This PE was designed to cater for 3500 recruits and to conduct courses for 500 trainees at any one time. The organisation of STC was as shown below:-
Foreman of Signals Course
Soon after Independence, it was decided to introduce a new category for JCOs in the Corps, to be known as Foreman of Signals. This was to fill the vacuum created by the departure of British personnel in 1947, who had been looking after repair and maintenance of signal equipment. Promotion to this category was made from selected personnel of workshops trades, after they had undergone a course of one year’s duration at the School of Signals, Mhow. Initially, the personnel selected to undergo the Foreman of Signals course were not fully trained, qualified or experienced to discharge their duties according to the standards envisaged for this category. Also, there was no provision for the development of their JCO qualities in one year training period.
As conditions improved, the training policy of Foreman of Signals category was revised in 1953, in order to eradicate the shortcomings mentioned above. The course was divided into two parts, each of approximately one year duration. After having successfully completed Part I, an NCO became eligible to attend Part II of the course after gap of three years. He was promoted to JCO rank and given the designation ‘JCO’ Foreman of Signals’ only after completion of both Parts I and II and the NCO’s ‘S’ Course.
In 1963 it was decided to amalgamate both parts of the course, and increase its duration from 52 to 58 weeks, to cater for mid-term breaks of 10 days and annual leave of one month. In 1969, the duration of the course was increased from 58 to 91 weeks. In 1972 efforts began to obtain approval of the Technical Education Board of Madhya Pradesh Government to for recognition of Foreman of Signals course as equivalent to the Diploma course in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering.
One of the immediate sequels of Independence and Partition was the shortage of trained manpower, consequent to the repatriation of British tradesmen and the departure of Muslim personnel to Pakistan. Since training of fresh recruits would take some time, it was decided to tide over the shortage by asking for volunteers from other Arms and Services and inducting them the Corps after suitable training. The conversion training of workshop trades was conducted at the Indian Signal Corps Centre, which later became the Signal Training Centre, Jubbulpore. The conversion training of operators and other trades was carried out partly in the Centre and partly in the units/commands, which were asked to put up with the difficulties of lack of equipment and proper class rooms the wider interests of the Corps. Courses for instructors were organised at the Centre. 12
The training of recruits at the STC Jabalpur continued up to 1957 generally in accordance with the General Headquarters Directive “Training of the Indian Army Recruits” issued on 8 October 1946. The training was reorganized to meet the qualification requirements as laid down in AI 39/S/47. The STC was responsible for training of the following categories of recruits up to class 3 standard with some exceptions as indicated:-
· Group ‘B’
Line Mechanic (School of Signals, Mhow)
Storeman Technical (AOC School, Jabalpur)
· Group ‘C’
Electrician Fitter Signals (Driver MT training at STC, EFS training at EME Centre)
Operator Key Board and Line
Operator Switch Board and Line
Operator Wireless and Line
· Group ‘D’
Carpenter and Joiner
Lineman Permanent Line
· Group ‘E’
· Group ‘G’
· Group ‘H’
Cook Unit (ASC Centre North)
Equipment and Boot Repair (AOC Centre)
Tailor Unit (ASC Centre North)
The policy for training of direct entry recruits was changed in August 1951. According to the new policy, training was to be carried out in three phases as under:-
· Phase I - Pre Basic Military Training (2 Weeks)
· Phase II - Basic Military Training (19 Weeks)
· Phase III - Corps Training (17 to 86 Weeks, varying for different trades)
In 1954 the STC commenced courses for training line mechanic class 3 which was being done at School of Signals, Mhow till then. In June 1956 a fresh directive for training of recruits of the Corps was issued under which phase III period of corps training was revised as 17 to 82 weeks against 17 to 86 weeks earlier.
In Nov 1962 due to declaration of Emergency consequent to the Sino-Indian war the period of training of direct recruits was reduced. The reduced training was followed during the whole of 1963 and partly in 1964. In was only in October 1964 that recruits training for the Corps reverted to the pre-emergency period.
In 1963 to meet urgent requirements of radio mechanic, wireless operator and driver mechanical transport it was decided to utilize the facilities of some of the industrial training institutes and public under takings in the country. It was planned to train 250 mechanics, 586 wireless operators and 750 drivers under this scheme. Accordingly recruits from No 1 STC were detailed to undergo a part of their technical training at these institutions on completion of basic military training. The training periods of industrial training institutes/public under takings were six months for radio mechanics, three months for wireless operators and two months for drivers. On completion of their training at these civil institutes the recruits of these trades had to undergo a further period of training at the STCs for 19, 14 and 9 weeks respectively. The scheme was finally terminated on 31 March 1964. By then 442 radio mechanics, 1152 operators and 1700 drivers mechanical transport had been trained in these institutions.
In addition to the above arrangement, some recruits of lineman, driver, despatch rider and operator trade were diverted for technical training under arrangements of CSOs Command. These recruits were posted directly to their new units on completion of their technical training and did not come back to the training centre.
In September 1965 during the Indo Pak war the period of training of recruits was again reduced as an interim measure to make up deficiencies. The emphasis was on quick output while maintaining the standard of proficiency.
In March 1969 a fresh Training Directive was issued for the training of recruits, superseding the instructions in force since 1964. The organisation of training was to be as follows:-
· Pre-Basic Military Training (2 weeks)
· Basic Military Training (18 weeks)
· Technical Training (10 to 64 weeks)
· Military Training for Ex-Boys (12 weeks)
Considerable disruption had taken place in the basic training of recruits since 1962 and it was hoped that the fresh periods of training laid down in the directive of 1969 would bring things back to normal. However, before the new directive could be fully implemented the Indo Pak war of 1971 again dislocated the training of recruits. Reduced training was introduced in August 1971 and subsequently emergency training had to be resorted to.
After the cessation of hostilities it was decided to revert to normal training with effect from April 1972. However due to continuing shortages existing in the Corps reduced training had to be continued. During the period September 1971 to August 1972 the output of No. 1 STC was approximately 5000 recruits, because of the reduced periods of training. Because of the enhanced recruitment in 1971 and 1972 the STC was heavily over loaded and due to shortage of equipment training of operator categories had to be conducted in shifts. Due to shortage of vehicles the drivers could not be given the full time and mileage at the wheel. During this period all training regiments exceeded their training capacity of recruits and the overall holding of No 1 STC was equivalent to that of two training centres. The STC shouldered this responsibility despite shortages of instructors, equipment, accommodation and administrative staff and did a commendable job in training recruits up to the required standards.
Upgrading & Remustering Courses
In the period after Independence in addition to recruits training the STC was also responsible for the following upgrading/conversion courses:-
· Lineman Test class 3 conversion course
· Lineman Field Instructors course
· Lineman Permanent Line Instructors course
· Operator Keyboard and Line Instructors course
· Operator Wireless and Line Instructors course
· Junior Leaders course (for NCOs)
In 1950 the STC did not conduct any class 2 upgrading training except for the workshop trades which was subsequently shifted to the School of Signals in 1951. During this period the responsibility for upgrading training to Class 2 for all other trades was that of the unit commanders. All courses other than recruit training at the STC were controlled by the Military Training Directorate in Army HQ and were published annually in Special Army Orders.
Due to poor selection of students for upgrading courses as well as the lack of pre-course training the students were unable to assimilate fully the instructions imparted to them. Army HQ, therefore, directed that with effect from 1 April 1953 the first four weeks of all upgrading courses will be devoted to refresher training. During this period the trainees were to be given every opportunity and guidance to refresh their knowledge in subjects with which they may have been out of touch. A test was to be administered at the end of this training and the result to be entered in Part A of the Technical Test Certificate. Those obtaining grading C and below in the above were to be returned to their units.
A further decision taken by Army HQ in 1953 was with regard to upgrading courses. Due to continuing deficiencies in Classes 1 and 2 of workshop categories it was decided that the following procedure would be followed:-
· Commands would be responsible for the training and trade testing of radio mechanics and telegraph mechanics from Class 3 to 2. In order to ensure uniform standard of tradesmen, the School of Signals would be responsible for the preparation of test sheets and correction of test papers.
· The School of Signals would continue to be responsible for upgrading from Class 2 to 1 of all workshop categories and for upgrading from Class 3 to 2 in respect of line mechanics.
· The STC would be responsible for upgrading radio mechanic LP/HP from class 3 to 2. Syllabi of all courses from Class 3 to 2 would be revised to incorporate revised technical standards as per AI 171/53.
In 1954 the STC also commenced courses for training line mechanic class 3 and operator wireless and keyboard class 3. In addition to line mechanic class 3, the upgrading training of radio mechanic class 2 and telegraph mechanic class 2 was also shifted to STC, Jabalpur from School of Signals, Mhow. In 1956 the STC also began conducting upgrading courses for operator wireless and keyboard classes 2 and 1.
A major problem at the time was the poor performance of the students on upgrading due to lack of pre-course training and Army HQ constantly admonished the commands to improve the situation. Command training schools did not have any authorized establishment and were therefore, not properly organized. They also found it difficult to run upgrading courses and to conduct direct tests due to lack of suitable instructors. Another factor that affected mustering/absorption was lack of educational qualifications. As a result of these factors serious deficiencies existed in class 2 and 1 of various categories.
To improve the situation regarding deficiencies, shortage of qualified instructors and instructional problems of command training schools, the STC proposed certain changes in the existing policy. Based on these proposals, Army HQ issued a fresh policy on upgrading and re-mustering training in the Corps of Signals in August 1957. The salient points of the new policy were as under: -
· Upgrading training from class 2 to 1 of all categories except storeman technical and electrical fitter Signals and from class 3 to 2 in workshop, cipher, operator wireless and key board and lineman test recorder categories was to be carried out at the School of Signals/STC.
· All class 1tradesmen were to be capable of carrying out instructional duties.
· In view of large deficiencies, commands were permitted as an interim measure to carry out upgrading courses centrally for class 1 in operator wireless and line, driver MT and lineman field categories.
· Re-mustering training was to be carried out as per SO-in-C’s policy Instruction No 8 of 1956.
· In order to ensure uniformity of standards where commands were permitted to carry out upgrading training and hold trade tests, all test papers were required to be sent to the STC for approval.
Until 1959, upgrading courses to be run at the STC were published yearly in Special Army Orders. The vacancies on these courses were demanded and allotted through staff channels. This method of selection of individuals without reference to the Officer-in-Charge Records was found unsatisfactory as merit and seniority of individuals could not be balanced as the staff were not aware of the Corps seniority. The policy for planning, demand and allotment of vacancies in respect of upgrading courses was changed with effect from training year 1960-61. The main features of the new policy were as follows:-
· Bulk requirement of vacancies on upgrading courses would be based on deficiencies in the respective trades after taking into account wastages and estimated output from the current year. This requirement will be worked out by OIC Records and forwarded to Army HQ.
· Courses would be planned at Army HQ. Courses to be run in Class A establishments would be published in Special Army Orders but courses to be run in Class B establishments would be communicated to OIC Records, with intimation to commands. Vacancies on all courses were to be allotted by OIC Records.
· OIC Records would nominate tradesmen keeping in mind eligibility, recommendations, seniority and merit and arrange for adequate pre-course training to be imparted under command arrangements.
Based on the above policy all upgrading courses were to be conducted at the STC, except for some that were conducted elsewhere. These were the class 1 courses in mechanic trades at the School of Signals; the class 2 courses in operator and lineman categories at the command training schools; the class 1 and 2 courses for Storeman Technical at the AOC School and the class 1 and 2 courses for Electrician Fitter Signals Class at the EME Centre. The duration of upgrading courses conducted at the STC was between 18-20 weeks for operator categories; 16 weeks for mechanics and linemen test; 14 weeks for drivers and 12 weeks for draughtsmen, linemen, despatch riders and clerks.
In 1961, it was appreciated that proper facilities did not exist in units to impart pre-course training to radio mechanic (LP) to qualify as radio mechanic (HP) class 3 and it was therefore, decided that practical training in this should be imparted in STC and the duration of radio mechanic class 2 course should be extended accordingly. The refresher training which was for period of four weeks would therefore be six weeks. Due to continuing deficiencies in operator wireless and line class 1, commands were authorized to run class 1 upgrading courses in this category in addition to those conducted at the STC in the training year 1962-63.
In October 1962 due to the operations in NEFA and declaration of Emergency, upgrading courses due to commence after 1 November 1962 were postponed indefinitely, and in case of those already in progress emergency syllabus was introduced. The dates of termination of all courses in progress were advanced. Consequent to the Emergency all upgrading training and trade testing boards as per Qualification Regulations for Soldiers 1958 were decided to be conducted under command arrangements. Upgrading training at the STC was also stopped as an interim measure. With the decentralization of upgrading training it was not possible to maintain seniority in filling up class 1 and class 2 quotas. The Government therefore, decided to remove the quota restriction on upgrading to class 1 and 2 vide Army Instruction 132/62 and 290/62.
Due to the expansion of the Corps during the period 1963-65 a serious problem had arisen regarding upgrading. The training centres were fully committed in training recruits and therefore could not undertake upgrading. The requirements of upgrading had also increased due to removal of quota restrictions in class 1 and class 2. There was a need to make sufficient man power available in class 1 and 2 so as to keep up the technical efficiency of the Corps and to provide for the selection and appointment of requisite number of NCOs and JCOs.
The requirement of upgrading training was therefore, re-appraised and a new directive was issued effective from April 1963. It was directed that upgrading courses were to be conducted at School of Signals, the STCs and in commands. In order to overcome the problem of some commands being over loaded due to deployment of troops on the borders, as well as to maintain seniority of OR attending courses it was decided that Signals Records would allot vacancies centrally for class 1 and 2 courses for mechanic, operator, clerk, draughtsman, line test recorder and carpenter categories. In addition to the upgrading courses, direct tests were also permitted to reduce the training load.
All upgrading courses were cancelled with effect from 6 September 1965 due to the declaration of emergency during the war with Pakistan. However, from 15 September 1965 some courses were started for students from unaffected commands during the war. The duration of ‘S’ courses was reduced to eight weeks during this period. After the end of the war full scale upgrading training was resumed from 1 December 1965.
By 1966 the problem of upgrading training was further aggravated due to increase in establishment of the Corps. Although the ultimate aim was for carrying out upgrading training for all categories in higher groups in the higher classes at the STCs, this could not be implemented due to the large influx of recruits. The directive for 1966/67 therefore, provided for a large portion of the load to be handled by signal units. The direct tests were abolished in order to maintain a uniform standard and to compensate for this the number of upgrading courses was increased.
In 1966 since conditions were progressively approaching a stabilized state it was decided to make a further effort to increase the number of trainees for 1967/68 above the figure for the previous year. The nomenclature of Army HQ and command courses was re-defined. The duration of Army HQ courses was also laid down. It was 24 and 16 weeks respectively for class 1 and 2 of workshop categories; between 18-20 weeks for class 1 of operator categories; 16 and 15 weeks respectively for class 1 and 2 of line test recorder and 12 weeks for class 1 of draughtsmen. Direct tests were not permitted for these courses.
Due to large influx of recruits during the period 1962-68 there was a huge backlog of OR awaiting upgrading training and the position was growing worse year by year. Since the training establishments were unable to cope with the upgrading load it was decided to re-introduce direct tests with effect from 1968/69. This was initially for one year but with effect from 1969 it was accepted as a permanent feature. The problem of lack of pre-course training was a constant bugbear in the efforts to improve the holding of higher class tradesmen during this period. It was found at the STC that utility value of radio mechanic upgrading courses was only about 31% in 1968/69 as most of the students either failed to qualify initially or did not to come up to the standard despite refresher training.
Another problem faced in the matter of upgrading training was the requirement of additional qualifications of driving training. Due to shortage of vehicles it was not possible to impart this in the STC and therefore it was decided that the students should be given this training in the units prior to coming on upgrading courses. However, despite all instructions the students were still being sent on the course without the necessary certificate. This point was also discussed during the CSOs/Commandants Conference.
The problem of upgrading training was formally studied during a training conference held in November 1971. Ever since the removal of restriction of quota on class 1 and 2 there was no way of working out the requirement of upgrading courses. During this conference a study was carried out of the holding of personnel in different categories vis-à-vis the requirement of trained personnel in various units. Though it was desirable to have maximum of class 1 personnel it was felt that it was unattainable in the near future and therefore it was decided that the ratio between class 1, 2 and 3 should be 2 : 4 : 4. In terms of percentage, this would work out to 20%, 40% and 40% respectively. From the number of personnel that would be required to be upgraded it was calculated that it would take approximately two years to achieve this ratio. As a result of this study it was decided to issue a SO-in-C’s Policy Instruction on planning of upgrading courses for the future.
In view of impending war it was decided to terminate upgrading training progressively with effect from November 1971. However in view of the early termination of hostilities upgrading training was recommenced with effect from 15 February 1972.
The programme of re-mustering training of operator special class 3 was modified in 1972 to make up the large deficiencies in this category. It was expected that after implementation of the modified programme, it would be possible to re-muster 360 operator special against 180 that was being done earlier. The training was to be conducted in two phase as under:-
· Phase I. To be conducted at 1&2 STCs and was to consist of 13 weeks training to upgrade ORL class 3 volunteers from class 3 to 2, followed by four weeks extensive training and six weeks technical training. The duration of Phase I was 23 weeks.
· Phase II. To be conducted at No. 1 Wireless Experimental Unit, Delhi Cantt for imparting specialized training. The duration of Phase II was seven weeks.
Foreign Courses (JCOs and NCOs)
In the period before Independence, the workshop trades in the Indian Signal Corps were filled mostly by British personnel and it was only in 1944 that three Indian NCOs were admitted to the trade of Foreman of Signals. After the departure of British personnel in 1947 the shortage of technical personnel in the Corps was keenly felt, leading to a number of steps such as the recruitment of civilian technical personnel and conversion from other trades. In addition, selected JCOs and NCOs were sent abroad for undergoing technical training, mostly to the School of Signals, Catterick, UK. A few JCOs/NCOs were also sent to the USA to undergo specialised courses along with officers.
The courses on which JCOs and NCOs were sent in the period immediately after Independence were as under:-
· Pre-Foreman of Signals course, UK
· Crystal Maintenance course, UK
· Foreman of Signals (Telecommunication) course, UK
· Foreman of Signals (Technical Maintenance) course, UK
· Foreman of Signals (SQMS) course, UK
After Independence, Foreman of Signals courses had been started in India. The course was run in two parts, with Part I being run at the STC and Part II at the School of Signals. A few NCOs who performed well in Part I were sent to UK to do Foreman of Signals Part II course at Catterick, while the remainder did the course at Mhow. In later years, a few JCOs attended the Single Side Band Wireless Repair course, at the US Army Signals School, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, USA. This was a combined course for officers as well as JCOs/NCOs.
The normal allotment of vacancies was two to three per year. However, after the sudden increase in the size of the Corps in the period 1963-65, additional vacancies were allotted. With time, training facilities in India improved and the practice of sending JCOs and NCOs abroad for technical training ceased.
No. 2 Signal Training Centre
In wake of the 1962 war with China, a large number of formation signal units were raised. This naturally resulted in an increase in the demand for trained manpower, which could not be met by the existing training centre at Jabalpur. It was therefore decided to raise two additional training centres for the Corps, one of them at Jabalpur itself and the second at another location, preferably in the South. Goa was chosen for its sylvan surroundings and the fact that if offered certain ready built accommodation which originally was used by the Portuguese garrison which had been stationed there. What possibly was lost in the labyrinth of bureaucratic paper work was the fact that Goa is not a city by itself, but consists of numerous small townships spread throughout its area. The accommodation that was available was in penny packets and was located at small outposts throughout the island. A decision however having been taken, the No. 2 Signal Training Centre was raised at Panjm on 9 December 1962.
The headquarters of No. 2 Signal Training Centre was raised along with one military and two technical training regiments. The headquarters was located at Panjim, close to the Governor’s official residence. The task of raising the Centre fell on the shoulders of Colonel R.N. Sen who had by then developed a formidable reputation in the Corps. The difficulties and intricacies of raising the Centre can be appreciated from the geographical locations of the various units and the distances that separated them. The Military Training Regiment was situated at Margao which was late renamed as Madgaon. This was the rail head for the Centre. Apart from the distance of over 30 km between Margao and Panjim, they were separated by a river between over which no bridge existed and troops and vehicles had to cross by means of a ferry. No. 3 Technical Training Regiment was at Bambolim which was about 8 km off Panjim. No. 6 Technical Training Regiment was located at Ponda which was over 20 km on a separate route from Panjim. Subsequently, in 1967 when No. 3 Signal Training Centre at Jabalpur was disbanded and its assets divided between No. 1 and 2 Signal Training Centres, No. 5 Technical Training Regiment moved to Goa and was located along side No. 3 Technical Training Regiment at Bambolim.
In the beginning, there were a number of other logistic problems which though common to new raisings had peculiar overtones in the case of units in Goa. Initially, the troops were housed under tents. Many problems which were faced in the Centre were due to the fact that Goa was not a cantonment and as such did not boast of any facilities normally available in a peace time location. The nearest military station was Belgaum which was over 150 km away. The lack of administrative back up and laboratories at the technical training regiments placed a tremendous strain on the pioneers who had to raise this Centre. It is reported that the Commandant himself went on an ‘exploratory trip’ to various stations in the country to obtain administrative personnel such as cooks, washermen, sweepers, barbers, for the Centre! Service transport had not fetched up and as such civilian transport had to be hired.
No. 3 Military Training Regiment was raised on 9 December 1962 by Lieutenant Colonel P.R. Gangadharan at Margao. On the same date No. 3 Technical Training Regiment was raised by Lieutenant Colonel K.D. Bhargava at Panjim and then moved to Bambolim. The first few batches were sent to Industrial Technical Institutes for their training as equipment and technical laboratories had not yet been set up. Subsequent to the reorganization in 1967, this regiment concentrated on producing mechanics and electrical fitter Signals. No. 5 Technical Training Regiment was initially raised under No. 3 Signal Training Centre at Jabalpur during March 1963. Once that Centre was disbanded, the regiment was reorganized and moved to Bambolim in August 1967 and became part of No. 2 Signal Training Centre. No 6 Technical Training Regiment was raised by Lieutenant Colonel K Gopinathan on 22 December 1962 at Panjim. Subsequently during April 1963, it moved to Ponda to train operators of various categories.
During World War II, there were two Boys Companies in the Corps, one at Jubbulpore and the other at Bangalore. The general demobilization ordered after the war was speeded up after the mutiny in Jubbulpore in February 1946. This caused a shortage of accommodation at the Depot and the Boys Company was moved from Jubbulpore to Mhow in December 1946. On 26 May 1947, the status of both companies at Bangalore and Mhow was raised to that of a regiment. After Independence, when 2 STC was transferred to Pakistan, the Boys Regiment at Bangalore was amalgamated with the one at Mhow on 17 December 1947. The Punjabi Mussulman element of the Boys Regiment at Mhow was also sent to Pakistan along with the OC, Major Abdul Rehman, who opted to join Pakistan Army Signals. Major Shambhoo Singh took over as the OC of the Boys Regiment at Mhow.
Field Marshal, Sir Claude Auchinleck, who was earlier C-in-C of India and then Supreme Commander of India and Pakistan, was a great champion of boys training. Being himself a distinguished soldier, his experience had shown that boys companies produced excellent leaders. He was so impressed with the boys on his visit to Mhow in March 1947 that he designed and made a flag at his own expense to be presented to the Boys Regiment. This flag was presented on 29 January 1948 at a colourful parade held at Mhow. As the Field Marshal was unable to come himself, Brigadier Akehurst, the Director Signals and SO-in-C presented the flag on behalf of the Supreme Commander. On 3 August 1948, the Boys Regiment returned to Jabalpur as by than the demobilization and partition phase had been completed.
With the issue of the pamphlet “Boys Training Indian Army, 1947” the aim of the training was changed to produce first an ‘incipient technician’ and then ‘the man’ in that order of priority. The educational targets aimed were Class II English and Class II Army Certificate of Education during two years. The training of boys continued in accordance with this pamphlet up to 31 December 1950.
The year 1951 saw a change in boys training. A new training directive issued by Army HQ on 20 November 1950 laid down that the aim of boys training in the Corps of Signals was to produce a ‘skilled technician’ and ‘a leader’ in that priority. Training was divided into boys training and ex-boys corps training. The targets during boys training of 130 weeks were laid down as class 1 English, class 1 Army Certificate of Education and class IV of a technical trade (operator or workshop). Under this scheme, after one year of boys training, a boy was to be allotted a definite trade and trained for class IV in that category.
This new directive which involved re-introduction of technical training in the Boys Regiment, which had been discontinued in 1942, resulted in considerable work particularly in setting up technical installations. The technical training for Phase II was required to be carried out in the technical training regiments of the Centre. The technical training in Phase II had to be spread uniformly ever 72 weeks working out to two periods per day. This was most inconvenient due to the location of the technical training regiments. The difficulty was brought to the notice of Army HQ which directed that the technical training should be conducted in the Boys Regiment itself. To implement this, some technical instructors and items of equipment were loaned to the Boys Regiment from the two technical training regiments.
The existing policy on the training of boys was causing difficulties and inconvenience. It was also felt that this policy gave the ex-boys distinctive treatment during their man service and this form of exclusiveness was not considered the best way of exploiting the sound technical and military back ground of the boys. A fresh policy on training of boys was therefore, issued by Army HQ in 1956. As per this policy the boys were to maintain their identity only in the Boys Regiment. On entering the military training regiment they would be treated as normal recruits. The training was to be conducted in phases as follows:-
· Phase I - 52 weeks, at the Boys Regiment
· Phase II - 65 weeks, at the Boys Regiment
· Phase III - 12 weeks at the military training regiment followed by 49-79 weeks at the technical training regiment
During Phase I fifty percent of training was for education and remainder for developing technical aptitude and for military and recreational training. Phase II was entirely meant for developing technical aptitude and outdoor military training designed to develop qualities of leadership. As the boys would have completed a large part of their military training in the Boys Regiment, the military training in the military training regiment was reduced to only 12 weeks in Phase III.
In 1959, the training of the boys was re-appraised and a fresh training directive was issued. The aim of the boys training as per the new directive was to produce a man with educational back ground in Science and Mathematics up to Matriculation standard; provide him a general technical education designed to develop aptitude for Signals trade; and enable him to adapt to the way life and the type of work required of a soldier in the Corps of Signals. The boys were to be trained up to Matriculation standard with a view to making them potential soldiers for entry into Group B and C categories of the Corps. On completion of Phase II of their training it was intended that the boys should attain the standard of Army First Class Certificate of Education Examination and Army First Class English Certificate Examination.
A new Training Directive for Boys issued in March 1969 made major changes in the pattern of educational training of the boys. The education objective laid down in this directive was much higher than that laid down in the previous directives. The aim of the boys training as laid down in this directive was to produce a man who by the end of this training was qualified in the Army Special Certificate of Education Examination; had developed the technical aptitude for eventual entry into a matric entry rate category of the Corps of Signals; and was physically tough, mentally alert and adapted to the way of life of a soldier.
About this time queries were raised by the Adjutant General’s Branch in Army HQ as to why boys were being given matric entry categories when they had not qualified in the Matriculation Examination. As it is boys found it difficult to achieve the educational qualifications laid down in the limited period they spent in the Boys Regiment. With the de-recognition of ACE I and AEC I as equivalent to matriculation and Army Special being equated with matriculation the position was further aggravated. It became imperative to carry out changes in the training being carried out in the Boys Regiment if it was to be saved from being extinction. Efforts were made to obtain recognition of the unit as a Boys School by the Madhya Pradesh Board of Higher Education. This enabled the unit to send the boys for Matriculation Examination outside. The results of the first batch of students were very encouraging, but just when this scheme appeared to have a promising future the Matriculation Examination was abolished in the State due to switching over to Higher Secondary system.
Efforts were then made to coach the boys for the Higher Secondary Examination. In March 1972 the unit sent 104 boys for this examination and obtained a result of 78% passes. The educational training in the Boys Regiment was completely revolutionized with intensive coaching being under taken and modern training aids such as a language laboratory and science laboratories being setup and utilized to obtain maximum results in both Higher Secondary and Army Special Examinations. In addition to preparing boys for Higher Secondary examination the Boys Regiment, being recognized as a school, coached boys for class 10 which was considered equivalent to matriculation for the purpose of entry in Matric Entry categories. The OC of the unit was made to qualify for Bachelor of Education Examination of Jabalpur University thus enabling him to function as the Principal of the Boys Regiment School. Advantage was taken of visits to Naval Boys Establishment, Central Institute of English Teaching, Hyderabad and establishments of Education Ministry, to institute changes in the training being imparted.
In addition to the changes in education being imparted to boys, efforts were made to improve the standard of intake of the boys by sending out recruiting parties. The results both from the point of view of recruitment and education were very encouraging and gave promise of a brighter future for the Boys Regiment in 1972. There was no inkling of the fate that awaited the unit, which was destined to be disbanded a few years hence.
The pre-Independence Indian Signal Corps had created a number of training institutions modelled on those of the Royal Signals in UK. Providentially, most of these training institutions were already in India at the time of Partition in 1947, obviating the need to set up new ones, as happened in Pakistan. Some, like the ISC School in Mhow, had been set up just before Independence. Being a technical arm, with a variety of tradesmen, the requirement of specialised training needed the closest attention. The foresight and acumen of those at the helm of affairs in the Corps during its early years after Independence ensured that training facilities were established and made functional without loss of time. This enabled the post Independence Corps of Signals, now officered almost entirely by Indian officers, to finds its feet very quickly.
The challenge for the Corps has been rapid changes in electronics technology in the second half of the 20th Century. The changes were phenomenal; from analog to digital, from thermionic valves to transistors, integrated circuits (ICs) and solid state; induction of new systems and equipment like radio relay, VHF radios, teleprinters, ECL machines, tape relay and so on. The Corps was able to meet the challenge and absorb all these changes due to upgradation of training at the MCTE and STCs.
The story of the growth of the MCTE reflects the transformation of the Corps from an arm of the service looking primarily after communications to one with multifarious responsibilities, including computers, electronic warfare, signal intelligence and many others. From a small school running just eight courses under the command of a lieutenant colonel in 1947, it became a college conducting over 30 courses in 1972, under the command of brigadier. (Today, it is commanded by a lieutenant general).
The saga of the STCs is no less remarkable. In 1947 the STC Jabalpur comprised two training regiments, one military and one technical. For a short period in the early sixties, there were three STCs, two at Jabalpur and one at Goa. By 1972 there were two STCs, each having four regiments, one military and three technical. In terms of size and capacity, it meant a four-fold increase in the training facilities. This is in keeping with the strength of the Corps that had multiplied more than six times during this period.
ENDNOTES – CHAPTER 10
This chapter is based mainly on the Corps of Signals Planning/Liaison Notes for the period 1948-57 and 1963-72; Review of Activities of the Corps of Signals, covering the years 1961-65 dated 7 October 1965, and personal accounts from officers. Specific references are given below:-
1. Personal Account, Lt. Gen. M.S. Sodhi,.
2. Personal Account, Lt. Col. Chittaranjan Soni
3. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 19 of June 1951& SO-in-C’s Policy Instruction No 2/51.
4. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 28 (January 1954).
5. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 32 (January 1955).
6. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 28 (January 1954).
7. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 75 (April 1967).
8. Corps of Signals of Liaison Note No 72 (August 1966).
9. Pamphlet entitled ‘Post Commission Training of Permanent Commission Officers 1968’.
10. Personal Account, Lt. Gen. M.S. Harbhajan Singh,
11. Maj. Gen. V.K. Singh, History of the Corps of Signals, Volume II, New Delhi: Corps of Signals Association, 2006, p. 307.
12. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 4 (April 1948),