ORGANISATIONS & PERSONNEL
Preview. ORGANISATIONS : Signals Directorate – Army HQ Signals – Command Signals – Signals Staff at Static Formation HQ – Corps Signals- Divisional Signals – Communication Zone Signals – Air & Naval Formation Signals – Air Support Signals – Signals Intelligence Units – Central Monitoring Organisation- Border Scouts Signal Company – Border Roads Signals –Territorial Army Signals. PERSONNEL : The Officer Cadre – JCOs & Other Ranks – Trade Structure – Depot Regiment & Signals Records. CONCLUSION.
The state of the Corps at the time of Partition and Independence has been described in Chapter 1, along with the organisational changes that occurred immediately afterwards. Along with the Indian Army, the Indian Signal Corps, as it was then known, was also partitioned, leading to major changes in class composition, restructuring of signal units and training establishments. The major problems, such as shortage of officers and technical tradesmen, could not be solved overnight and it was many years before the situation stabilised. Various operational commitments such as the operations in Jammu & Kashmir immediately after Independence were a severe strain on the already depleted resources of the Corps, which had to resort to organisational ‘fire fighting’ in order to meet these requirements. Measures such as keeping a few British officers and NCOs and granting direct and short service commissions to JCOs alleviated the situation marginally. Meeting the communication needs of the Indian Army in those early years was a challenge, which was met head on by the stalwarts who occupied positions of authority in the Corps at that time.
For the first 15 years after
, there were very few changes in
the organisational structure of the Corps. The communications philosophy and
means remained virtually unchanged since World War II. After Partition, the
Indian Army’s tactics, strategy and organizations were mainly oriented for open
being considered as the main threat.
However, on account of the gradually increasing Chinese build-up in the
North, a progressively larger percentage of the Army had begun to be deployed
along the Indo-Tibet border from 1958 onwards.
Until 1962, the organisation and establishment was just sufficient to
meet the current commitments and there was hardly any reserve to meet
unforeseen demands. The two events that had a major influence on the
operational commitments, strategy and organisation of the Corps were the Chinese
invasion of NEFA 1962 and the Indian Army’s invasion of Pakistan East
Pakistan in 1971, resulting in the liberation of . Bangladesh
The Chinese invasion in 1962 resulted in a large-scale expansion and reorganization of the Army. Most of these changes were carried out hastily, in 1962 and 1963. In early 1964, the basic concepts for employment of the Corps and higher formation signal units were approved by the Chief of Army Staff. Salient points of these concepts were as under:-
· Command headquarters will not be required to move from their permanent located stations.
· The main corps headquarters will carry out only one deliberate move from their present location. A tactical headquarters may move frequently and be away from the rest of the headquarters for a limited period. The rear headquarters are not required to move.
· Corps maintenance areas being static, signal communications for them will be provided by communication zone signal regiments affiliated to the corps.
· Command, area and sub-area signal units will be organized on ‘tailor-made’ establishments, based on their actual work loads, only minimum essential transport being provided.
· Corps and communication zone signal regiments, which require a degree of mobility and flexibility, will be organized on the ‘brick’ system of establishments based on their anticipated work-load.
· Reserves will be authorised to provide flexibility in the future deployment of formations. Each command will be allotted a composite signal company. One communication zone signal regiment will be held as Army HQ reserve.
· There will not be any duplication of signal communications in stations. If a field formation is located in a station, it will also cater for all static units.
Along with the basic concepts outlined above, the requirement of higher formation signal units was also approved, as under:-
· Two regiments for Army HQ, one at
to operate signal centres; and one at Delhi
to operate wireless transmitters and receivers.
· Four command signal regiments plus one mobile reserve company per command.
· Five corps signal regiments based on actual requirements, including a small reserve.
· Twelve communication zone signal regiments, including one as Army HQ reserve
· One signal company per area and independent sub area, all on tailor made establishments, making a total of eight companies.
The organisation of divisional signal regiments was finalized based on the recommendations of the Tactical Communications Committee that was formed in early 1964, with the SO-in-C as Chairman. This committee first examined the signal communication requirements of a mountain division taking into consideration the experience gained since the operations in 1962 and the exercises of 4 and 6 Mountain Divisions during 1963-64. This study formed the basis of the organisation of the mountain divisional signal regiment. In 1965 the Tactical Communications Committee carried out an examination of the signal communication requirements for air defence, offensive air support and counter-bombardment, as well as the infantry and armoured divisions. Two important results of these studies were the decisions to go over largely from HF to VHF radio communications and the introduction of radio relay in the divisions.1
For the first time, a number of purely indigenous types of establishments were created, which were not based on the
pattern as had been done in the past, but for purely Indian conditions. These
were as under:- UK
· Mountain divisional signal regiment.
· Special signal regiment.
· Air support signal regiment.
· Independent anti aircraft brigade signal company (later redesignated in 1965 as independent air defence brigade signal company).
· Radio monitoring companies and sections.
The large and rapid expansion of the Army between 1961 and 1965 resulted in the Corps of Signals increasing to more than twice its size. The Corps expanded from an authorized strength of approximately 28,000 (including 1,097 officers) in 1961, to an authorized strength of approximately 62,000 (including 2,300 officers) in 1965. As against twenty major signal units commanded by lieutenant colonels in 1961, there were sixty such units in 1965.
The next major change in the organisation of the Corps took place in 1971 when a large number of signals units was raised. Unlike in the previous case, where the changes were carried out after the 1962 war, in 1971 most of the changes had taken place even before the war started. Information about the planned invasion of
East Pakistan was available almost
eight months before the commencement of the operations. This enabled the
Signals Directorate and Eastern Command Signals to plan signal communications
well in advance and cater for resources, including manpower and equipment. The
major raisings that took place in 1971 were as under:-
· Bravo Signal Regiment for Rear HQ IV Corps at Tezpur.
· II Corps Signal Regiment for II Corps at Krishnanagar.
· Two signal companies (mountain brigade) at Tezpur.
· Ad-hoc signal company for Operation ‘Jackpot’ with six sector signal sections.
· H Communication Zone Signal Regiment.
· Kilo Sector Signal Company.
Shortly after the war, HQ Northern Command was raised at Udhampur in 1972, replacing HQ XV Corps which moved to
. This resulted
in the raising of XV Corps Signal Regiment at Srinagar (The existing XV Corps Signal
Regiment at Udhampur was redesignated as Northern Command Signal
Regiment). In the same year, Southern
Command Mobile Signal Regiment was raised; 16 Infantry Divisional Signal
Regiment was reorganised from Foxtrot Sector Signal Regiment and XI Corps
Signal Regiment from Bravo Signal Regiment. Srinagar
The sudden deficiency of personnel immediately after
was primarily attributable to the repatriation of British officers and
technical tradesmen to Independence ,
and the partition of the Corps leading to the departure of Muslim personnel to UK . To
overcome the problem, several steps were taken.
Fortunately, a number of British officers and NCOs agreed to stay on,
their tenures being extended from year to year. As a result, some continued to
serve in Pakistan
for 7-8 years, the most notable example being the SO-in-C, Brigadier C.H.I.
Akehurst, who left only in 1954. Another important measure that helped was the
decision to grant direct and short service commissions to JCOs and transfer
officers from other arms and services. The release of personnel on war time
engagement was deferred and those who wished to continue serving were offered
regular engagement. The recruitment of civilian technical personnel to fill the
appointments of Civilian Technical Officers (CTOs) and Foremen of Signals also
proved useful. These measures enabled the Corps to tide over the initial
deficiency of manpower. India
With the Emergency in 1962, the Corps was again confronted with the serious problem of shortage of officers (particularly captains), JCOs and OR. Expansion resulted in rapid promotions, leaving a lack of middle-piece officers and experienced JCOs and NCOs. The relaxation for promotion to the rank of acting captain before completion of three years commissioned service in concessional areas partly eased the position. The deficiencies of Special List (SL) officers (Cipher and TOT) were met by rationalizing the postings of JCOs (Cipher) and Foreman of Signals. The problem of shortage of quartermasters was overcome by an equitable distribution of ‘old timer’ captains, posting of re-employed officers and by planned positioning of ex-ranks emergency commissioned officers and good JCOs to units.
The new raisings necessitated an increase in recruitment leading to the creation of two additional training centres. A large number of officers were granted emergency commissions during 1963-65, followed by the introduction of the short service commission from 1966 onwards. These measures enabled the Corps to build up its manpower to a fairly high level by the mid sixties. As a result, one of the additional training centres was closed down. By the time the war with
out in 1971, the Corps was well prepared to face the challenge. Pakistan
By the end of World War II in 1945, the staff of the Signals Directorate comprised 58 officers (there were only three officers in 1939, one of them being Major C.H.I. Akehurst). Soon after the war, the establishment was reduced. At the time of Partition, further reductions were effected with a part of the Signals Directorate being transferred to
. After Pakistan , the organisation of the Signals
Directorate underwent major restructuring, involving reductions in the number
of sections as well as the number and rank of officers. Under the Director
Signals and SO-in-C (Brigadier) and a Deputy Director Signals (Colonel), there
were just four sections - Signals 1, 2, 3 and 4 - each under a GSO II
(Major). Signals 1 looked after staff duties,
training, organisation, planning and scales; Signals 2 was responsible for
communications; Signals 3 dealt with ciphers and signal security while Signals
4 looked after personnel matters and administration of the Signals
The above organisation underwent a change within the next few months. Signal equipment was divorced from the section looking after staff duties and given to a new section known as Section 5 that was formed. A GSO 1 was authorised to look after three sections – Signals 1, 4 and 5. Signals Administration was also separated from Signals 4 and became a new section. By early 1948, the composition of Signals Directorate was as shown below:-
During the war, from June 1943 onwards, the Signals Directorate had begun issuing the SO-in-C’s Monthly Information Summary. In January 1946, it was brought on a quarterly basis. Publication of Quarterly Information Summaries ceased with No 34 published in April 1947. The Indian Signals Planning Note which replaced the Quarterly Information Summary was started in January 1948 on a monthly basis and brought on to a bimonthly basis in June 1948. The main object of these Planning Notes was to give forecast of changes in establishments, equipment and technical matters before they were promulgated through normal channels, as well as to give publicity to Corps domestic, personnel and training matters of general interest.
At that time, the establishment of the Signals Directorate was sanctioned by the Ministry of Defence on a yearly basis. In 1953, it was decided to reorganise Signals 5 into two sections - Signals 5 and Signals 6. The charter of the newly created Section 6 was to keep abreast of the changes and developments in signal equipment and specialist vehicles that were taking place in the
and other foreign countries. The
appointment an additional lieutenant colonel was also approved, with the
designation GSO 1 (Communications), to look after Signals 2/3. UK
Brigadier C.H.I. Akehurst, the SO-in-C, left for
in 1954, after having held the appointment for an unprecedented seven years.
With his departure, the rank of the SO-in-C was upgraded and Major General A.C.
Iyappa assumed the appointment on UK 25 March 1954. In
1964, the appointment of Inspector of Signals Trades Training in the rank of brigadier
was sanctioned, along with a SO 2 (Signals) in the rank of major.
As already mentioned, there was considerable activity taking place in the Signals Directorate during the period 1963-65. Lieutenant General Prakash Gokarn, then a young captain, gives a glimpse of the atmosphere that prevailed during those momentous days, in the following words:-
In 1964 when I was posted to D Sigs, SO in C was Maj Gen RN Batra (SOH & 3 Blues IMA), Dy SO in C was Brig Harry Chukerbuti (5 Blues IMA), D Tels was
KS Garewal. The GSOs 1 were Lt Cols
Jaswant Mayadas [first in entrance exam DSSC), Lt Col Mobray Bennet ‘Dick’ Hart
(first Signaller and probably the last to be BM Para Bde), Lt Col Mahesh Rawat,
Lt Col W Patterson (followed by Lt Col RC Rawat), Lt Col M S Sodhi and Lt Col K
S Gill. Other officers were Maj Bir Paintal, Maj Sushil Nath, Maj Suresh
Sawhney, Maj Brij Bhatia, Maj DN Chhabra, Capt Malay Ghosh and Capt V K Kapoor.
There was one more - Maj BK Rai who within weeks of my joining side stepped to
LRDE/R&D and was later Chairman of UP Electronics. I do not remember the
name of the Cipher Head, but I do recall one Capt Sukhija as the SO3 Ciphers. Col
D Sigs consisted of 26 officers - of which 4 became Lt Gens and one (Rai) who distinguished himself in the public sector – and I was its 'baby' with just 3 years of service. I was really treated like one off parade. But I had two direct bosses to report to, with no major as a buffer - Cols Hart and Mayadas - as GSO3 Organisation & Establishment (what is now Sigs 1 & Sigs 8). True to their names, the former (Hart) was a man with a big heart and a fund of knowledge but a heartless task master and Mayadas was all 'maya'- very forgiving but a great human being. He had a clipped British accent and still does. Many years later, I was lucky to serve on his staff just after Operation ‘Cactus Lily’. I never ever had a better teacher in my professional life. What I learnt from Gen Mayadas, in all aspects of officer ship, both on and off parade, shaped my personality and values forever.
I was given two ruled registers by each of them. In relation to my tasks, Hart dealt, amongst other things, with the raising of Communication Zone Signal Regiments and reorganisation of Command Signal Regiments. Mayadas dealt amongst his other duties with Corps Signal Regiments and below. In other words, one dealt with 'brick type units' and the other with 'tailored establishments'. I was given about 175 ‘kalamazoos’, each with a maze of data giving the organisation, establishment and broad equipment profile (the detailed equipment tables were in the ‘kalamazoos’ with Sigs 5 (Patterson).
My job was to study the type of manpower in each brick section, like say a Line Section or a Line Construction Section and intelligently write it against a reorganised brick type unit, say T Communication Zone Signal Regiment, whose role was to lay PL routes from Srinagar into entre Ladakh. If some manpower was saved, it was written in green pencil with an annotation ‘Asset for DSD' in one register. If the equipment profile did not meet our needs they were specified in red in the other register which I took to
Patterson to find out how he could help. He was a master of his trade. I
invariably got an answer in less than 30 minutes flat. Col
This way, a Captain was entrusted to fill the 'jig saw’ puzzle for 125 units that were raised/reorganised in that time. I completed the job in six 6 months and thankfully proceeded on CME/OST Course. Under Gen Batra, the atmosphere in D Sigs was ELECTRIC. 2
In 1968 the appointment of SO-in-C was upgraded from major general to lieutenant general. The appointment of the Brigadier Signal Staff was also upgraded to major general and redesignated as Deputy SO-in-C. (This appointment was in existence for barely eight years. It was abolished in 1976 after the CSOs of commands were upgraded to major generals).
The establishment of the Signals Directorate was again revised in June 1971. An important change was the upgradation of the appointment of Deputy Director Telecommunications from colonel to brigadier. A new section, Signals 8, was also formally sanctioned, though it had been in existence since 1969. It was responsible for preparation and revision of peace and war equipment tables for all signal units including TA and NCC signal units. Another new section was Signals 9, which was to deal with EDPS. The organisation of the Signals Directorate in 1971 is shown below:-
Army HQ Signals
The unit looking after communications at General Headquarters India before
was known as the GHQ Signal
Regiment. On Independence 15 August 1947
this unit was re-designated as GHQ (Indian) Signal Regiment, to differentiate
it from the GHQ (British) Signal Regiment that was raised to look after the
communication needs of the Supreme Commander’s Headquarters that was created at
that time. The first officer to command the unit was Lieutenant Colonel S.N.
Bhatia, while Lieutenant Colonel J.H.L. Crichton, MBE, continued to remain in
command of GHQ (British) Signal Regiment, in addition to being the overall
commander of both units. After the
disbandment of the Supreme Commander’s Headquarters the GHQ (British) Signal
Regiment moved to
and Bombay ,
where it was disbanded before embarkation of British troops for Karachi . On UK 1 January 1948 the GHQ
(Indian) Signal Regiment was re-designated as Army HQ Signal Regiment.
The unit was then located in Plot 108 next to the Rakabganj Gurudwara behind North Block, while the signal centre was in 'A' Block. No. 1 Company of the regiment, which provided the signal centre shifts, was housed in a plot of land next to the present Parliament House. The transmitters were on
Lodhi Road, where
the present CGO’s complex is located, while the receivers were on the Ridge Road opposite
their present location. In 1955 the new automatic exchange was installed in
Rooms No. 29 & 30 of South Block, while the signal centre was shifted from
'A' Block to Plot 30, opposite the present Sena Bhawan. Shortly afterwards on 13
January 1956, the unit lost its commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel H.K.
Bhagwat, in the most tragic circumstances when he was fatally stabbed by
ex-cook Chikanna. Buddha Jayanti Park
The accommodation occupied by the unit on Plot 108 was inadequate and in 1958, a reconnaissance-cum-siting board was ordered to select a suitable site for locating the regiment in Delhi Cantt. The site finally chosen was where the present day Signals Enclave is located on Rao Tula Ram Marg. The unit moved to its present accommodation in Signals Enclave in February 1964. During the 1965 war, the signal centre was shifted to the basement of the South Block. Also some of the transmitters at
Road were made underground. After the war, the
signal centre moved back to Plot 30 in February 1966. (The signal centre and
exchange moved to their present location in Sena Bhawan only in 1983).
There was little change in the organisation of the unit until 1964, when it was decided to split it into two parts, one to be located at
and the other to remain at Meerut .
The two units would function under the control of Commandant Army HQ Signals,
who would be of the rank of colonel. 1 Army HQ Signal Regiment located at Delhi
was to be responsible for the Army HQ signal centre and exchanges, while 2 Army
HQ Signal Regiment, to be located at Meerut, would be responsible for the Army
HQ transmitters and receivers. Delhi
Though the decision to split the units and move one of them to
was taken in 1964, it took several years before it could be fully implemented.
The appointment of Commandant Army HQ Signals was approved in 1965 and the two
units started functioning, sharing the same accommodation in Signals Enclave.
The transmitters moved from Meerut Lodhi
in early 1971. The regimental headquarters was to move in April 1971 but the
move was held up because of the imminent hostilities. 2 Army HQ Signal Regiment
finally moved to Meerut
in 1972, with 2 Company remaining at the Ridge in Meerut , where the receivers are located. Delhi
Lieutenant Colonel M. Sathesan, who served in 1 Army HQ Signal Regiment from 1969 to 1971, relates an interesting incident, which was probably responsible for the redesignation of the appointments of Assistant Duty Signal Officer (ADSO) and Duty Signal officer (DSO). He writes:-
Sometime in late 1969 while I was carrying out the duties of Duty Signal Officer (now Officer-in-Charge Signal Centre) of INDARMY Signal Centre I got a ring at about 10 PM from Maj Gen IS Gill then General Officer Commanding 17 Mountain Division and on leave at Delhi. He asked me for some information about certain office numbers and I replied that I shall check up and ring him back. He rang me again at 1030 PM and at asking for additional info and I had to, on each occasion reply that “I would check up and let you know”. When I gave him the final information at about 1115 PM he asked me whether I was in the office or at home. When I told him that I was at home he wanted to know why the Duty Signal Officer was not on duty. I replied that the term Duty Signal Officer is a misnomer and it is the Assistant Duty Signal Officer who remains on duty in shifts all the time. Gen Gill accepted my explanation at that time but next day wrote a note to his friend Maj Gen EG Pettengell (then Deputy SO-in-C) asking why we have a name, that is Duty Signal Officer, which is a misnomer. In pursuance of his note the Signals Directorate asked all concerned for their views for a more suitable name for Duty Signal Officer. Through Commandant Army HQ Signals I had recommended that the only suitable name was OIC (Signal Centre).
I do not know if others also recommended the same name. Later vide AO 81/72 the name of the Duty Signal Officer was changed to OIC Signal Centre and that of Assistant Duty Signal Officer to Duty Signal Officer.3
Another interesting input concerning the plans to set up a Joint Services Communication Complex during the sixties when General Batra was the SO-in-C has been given by Lieutenant General M.S Sodhi, who writes:
We had earlier projected for space for a Joint Services Communication Complex to support a Joint Services HQ like the Pentagon. Towards this end in May 1965 I had even visited Admiral Mountbatten's HQ in the
to see the
facilities. The Joint Services HQ was being thought of where the UK now is on Army Public
School Ridge Road. When that was abandoned, we,
with MoD concurrence, continued to project the additional
space for 'modernisation'. Just as well, because it came
in handy for our own facilities which included the Computer Centre. We could also
give space to the P&T Exchange which was installed for Sena Bhawan and
After Partition in 1947, only two commands – Southern and Eastern– were left in
Northern Command having gone to India .
The headquarters of the two commands were located at Pakistan and Poona . Soon after Partition, the Delhi &
East Punjab (DEP) Command was established at Delhi on 15 September 1947.This
was subsequently re-designated as HQ Western Command on 1 March 1948 and later
moved to Simla. In 1955, HQ Eastern Command moved to Ranchi . Lucknow
The appointment of CSO at each command headquarters was held by an officer of the rank of brigadier. There was no permanent establishment for the CSO’s staff, which was extended from year to year. Usually, the Signals staff consisted of a SO1 (Signals), a SO2 (Communications), a SO2 (Staff Duties & Training) and a SO3 (Communications). In HQ Western Command, there was an additional appointment known as SO3 (Equipment). There was no officer looking after ciphers, and normally the cipher officer from the command signal regiment was attached on a part time basis along with a couple of cipher NCOs to look after this important function. This naturally affected the functioning of the unit as well as the CSO’s branch and was an unsatisfactory arrangement. It was only in 1951 that this lacuna was corrected and the appointment of SO2 (Cipher and Signal Security) was created in each command headquarters, along with cipher staff of two havildars.
After the 1962 war, there was large scale restructuring of the military establishment and several new headquarters, units and organisations were created. This included the creation of the new HQ Eastern Command in
in 1963 and the re-designation of the existing HQ Eastern Command at Calcutta as HQ Central
Command. As a result, the existing
Eastern Command Signal Regiment was redesignated as Central Command Signal
Regiment and a new Eastern Command Signal Regiment was raised at Lucknow . After a
detailed review of the existing establishments it was decided that command
signal regiments and area signal companies would be reorganized on tailored
establishments. In addition to the
establishments provided to the command signal regiments for their static
communication commitments, a command mobile signal company organized on the
brick system was raised in each command in 1965. Calcutta
After the 1971 war, HQ Northern Command was raised at Udhampur in 1972, replacing HQ XV Corps which moved to
The existing XV Corps Signal Regiment was redesignated as Northern Command
Signal Regiment and a new XV Corps Signal Regiment was raised at Srinagar in June 1972. In
November 1972, Southern Command Mobile Signal Regiment was raised on a tailored
war establishment. Srinagar
Signals Staff at Static Formation Headquarters
At the time of
, apart from the signal regiments
with the existing commands - Southern and Eastern – there were three other
static units. These were the Bengal & Assam Signal Regiment ( Independence ); the Deccan
Signal Regiment (Kamptee) and the Madras Signal Regiment ( Calcutta ). The Bengal & Assam Signal
Regiment was reorganised to form the Northern Area Signal Regiment which was
later redesignated as the Delhi & East Punjab Command Signal Regiment which
finally became the Western Command Signal Regiment. In December 1947 the Deccan
Area was split to form two independent sub areas, at Madras Jubbulpore
and Secunderabad. As a result, the Deccan Signal Regiment was also split, to
form Jubbulpore (Indep) Sub Area Signals and
Secunderabad Sub Area Signals. On 1 September 1948, the Sholapur Independent Sub Area Signal
Company was raised. In 1950, the Madras Signal Regiment became the Madras Area
Signal Regiment. Two years later, the unit was redesignated as the Madras Area
(Indep) Signal Company.
In the early years after
dedicated signal unit or staff was authorised to headquarters of static
formations such as areas and sub areas. Some area headquarters had a DCSO,
whose term was extended from time to time. The communication needs of these
headquarters and other static establishments were met in an ad hoc manner by
providing detachments from the command signal regiment or TA companies. For
this purpose, the command signal regiments had been given standard ‘brick’ sub
units, e.g. medium wireless, technical maintenance, cipher and despatch rider
sections. This system had several drawbacks. The command signal regiments were
dispersed over wide areas making command and control difficult. It also
affected the recruitment and training of TA personnel. Since the establishment
of the DCSO was uncertain and extended for short periods only, it hindered
forward planning and organization of training. Independence
To overcome these shortcomings in 1955 it was proposed to evolve a more suitable organization for static headquarters. Depending on their location, TA companies/detachments would be grouped to form a unit, whose commander would render necessary technical advice to the area and sub-area commander as required. The DCSO and his staff would be abolished. However, it was realised that the proposal involved a considerable increase in manpower and was therefore dropped. It was then proposed that DCSOs be authorised at area headquarters on a permanent basis. Soon after wards, the appointments of DCSO Delhi Area and DCSO Madras Area were approved. However, the appointment of DCSO UP Area was abolished. This was due to the move of HQ Eastern Command from
to Ranchi , where HQ UP Area
was located. There were some increments in the staff of CSO Eastern Command,
DCSO 20 Division and DCSO Bombay Area. This was made possible by disbanding the
regimental headquarters of 101 and 102 Communication Zone Signal Regiments (TA)
and the appointment of Inspecting Officer Coast Defence Fixed Signal
During the review of communications after the 1962 war there were several changes in the command set up of signal units deployed in communication zones. In 1964 a DCSO (colonel) was authorized for Jammu & Kashmir to exercise technical control over communication zone signal regiments north of Banihal. However, CSO XV Corps continued to exercise technical control over the communication zone signal regiments south of Banihal.
A number of signal units were raised for static headquarters in the sixties. In 1963, UP Area Signal Company was reorganised as UP Area Signal Regiment. In 1964 Madhya Pradesh Area Signal Company and
Bihar and Orissa (Independent) Sub
Area Signal Company were raised. In 1965 the Bengal Area Signal Company was
and 2 Company of Southern Command Signal Regiment located at Calcutta was redesignated as Bombay Maharashtra
and Gujarat Area Signal Company. In 1966 the and Rajasthan Area was split into two,
becoming the Delhi Area and Jaipur Sub Area. At the same time, Delhi and Rajasthan Area Signal Company
became the Delhi Area Signal Company. In 1967 No 4 Company of Z Communication
Zone Signal Regiment was reorganized to form Delhi Punjab,
Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Area Signal Company.
In July 1971 there were some changes in the set up in Central Command. The Bihar & Orissa (Independent) Sub Area was placed under Madhya Pradesh Area. A new sub area was raised at
The new Madhya Pradesh, Bihar & Orissa Area was created with its
headquarters at Allahabad ,
to include under it the Jabalpur Sub Area (re-designated as MP Sub Area),
reorganized Bihar & Orissa Sub Area and newly raised Allahabad Sub
Area. As a result of the above, the
appointment of DCSO Bihar & Orissa (Independent) Sub Area was abolished.
The Madhya Pradesh Area Signal Company was re-designated as Madhya Pradesh,
Bihar & Orissa Area Signal Company. In July 1972, V Sector Signal Company
that had been raised in 1967 was redesignated as 31 Communication Zone Sub Area
Signal Company. Jabalpur
In 1972, certain changes were carried out in Western Command Signal Regiment. Western Command Mobile Signal Company, which was located at Ambala, was merged with the regiment at Jutogh, in Simla. The company was providing radio relay communications at Karcham in the Sugar Sector, which was at a considerable distance from Ambala. By this time, it had been decided to shift HQ Western Command from Simla to the plains, to enable it function as a field army during operations, and construction of the new cantonment at Chandimandir near
was in progress.
In 1947, there was no corps headquarters in
When the operations in Jammu & Kashmir commenced in 1947, they were
controlled directly by HQ Western Command. Subsequently, HQ Jammu & Kashmir
Force was created to control the operations of Jammu (JA) Division and Srinagar
(SRI) Division. On India 5 September 1948 HQ Jammu & Kashmir
Corps was established at . Since there was no signal unit available, a
wireless detachment of Tactical HQ Western Command was re-designated Jammu
& Kashmir Corps Signal Regiment. In December 1948 the Jammu &
Kashmir Corps was re-designated as 5 Corps, and the JA and SRI Divisions became
26 and 19 Divisions respectively. The responsibility for providing
communications to HQ 5 Corps in Jammu
was given to 5 Divisional Signal Regiment. The first DCSO of 5 Corps was
Colonel H. Chukerbuti, who assumed his appointment in early 1949. Jammu
5 Corps Signal Regiment was raised in September 1949, in two parts. No. 2 Company, which was referred to as Composite Company 5 Corps Signal Regiment, was raised at
, while the remainder of the unit was
raised at Jammu .
On Agra 15 March 1950
the unit was redesignated as XI Corps Signal Regiment and ordered to move to
Ambala. No. 2 Company located at was removed from
the strength of the unit and designated as 5 Corps Signal Company. Another 2
Company was ordered to be raised at Jammu
to replace it. The newly raised 2 Company joined the regiment at Ambala on Agra 18 July 1950. In July 1951
the unit moved to .
The first CO of the unit, Lieutenant Colonel Lachman Singh, assumed his
appointment on Jullundur 28 October
To control the formations in the North East, HQ XXXIII Corps was raised at Shillong in 1960 with Brigadier S.R. Khurana being the first CSO. (By this time, corps were being designated with Roman numerals, with divisions and brigades being denoted by Arabic numerals). XXXIII Corps Signal Regiment was also raised at Shillong in June 1960. During the 1962 war with
, HQ IV
Corps was raised at Tezpur in November 1962, with Brigadier K.S Gill as the
CSO. Shortly afterwards, I Corps Signal Regiment was raised in May 1963 at
Varanasi followed by XV Corps Signal Regiment at Udhampur in July 1963, by
splitting the existing Y Communication Zone Signal Regiment. On raising, XV Corps
Signal Regiment was made responsible for communications exclusively for HQ XV
Corps, with communications from Pathankot to Banihal remaining with Y
Communication Zone Signal Regiment. China
HQ II Corps was raised at Krishnanagar shortly before the commencement of the 1971 war, with Colonel B.S. Paintal as the DCSO (The appointment was later upgraded to CSO). II Corps Signal Regiment was raised at the same time under the command of Lieutenant Colonel S.C. Chaudhuri. However, 3 Company of the unit was raised separately at
and joined the unit only in 1972 when
it had moved to Kotkapura in the Western theatre. After the creation of HQ Northern Command at
Udhampur and the move of HQ XV Corps to Delhi
in 1972, the existing XV Corps Signal Regiment was redesignated as Northern
Command Signal Regiment and a new XV Corps Signal Regiment was raised at Srinagar in June 1972. A
new corps – XVI Corps – was created at the same time, with its headquarters at
Nagrota. XVI Corps Signal Regiment was raised in July 1972 by reorganization of
the Bravo Signal Regiment, which had been raised at Tezpur during the 1971 war.
After the partition of the Indian Signal Corps, only four divisional signal regiments remained in
These were 1 Armoured Divisional Signal Regiment, 2 Airborne Divisional Signal
Regiment, 4 Divisional Signal Regiment and 5 Divisional Signal Regiment. The
operations in Jammu & Kashmir in 1947-48 necessitated the induction of a
large number of signal resources, which had to be pulled out from other units
that were not so heavily committed. In addition, signal companies and sections
were raised in an ad hoc manner to meet the immediate communication needs of
the formations involved in the operations. Over a period of time, several new
divisional signal regiments were raised, or created by reconstituting existing
When 25 Division was raised during the operations in Jammu & Kashmir, it was provided only a signal company, which obviously could not cope with the heavy demands placed on it. In 1950 it was decided to reorganize 25 Divisional Signal Company as 25 Divisional Signal Regiment. At the same time, 2 Airborne Divisional Signal Regiment, which had been temporarily re-designated as 26 (2AB) Divisional Signal Regiment, was reorganized on the war establishment of an infantry divisional signal regiment in 1951 and re-designated as 26 Divisional Signal Regiment.
The manpower authorised to a divisional signal regiment was based on the provision of three and a half reliefs. In 1952 the Army Standing Establishments Committee (ASEC) objected to this and agreed to only two and a half reliefs. Since this would have seriously affected the efficiency of the units, the issue was taken up with the Ministries of Defence and Finance (Defence). Finally, it was agreed that units on war establishment would be authorised manpower based on three and a half reliefs. The organisation of the divisional signal regiment at that time was as given below:-
During Exercise ‘Vijay’ and a signal exercise during the training year 1954-55, certain inadequacies in the existing establishments of corps and divisional signal regiments were noticed. The problem of a suitable establishment for a divisional signal regiment was discussed during the 10th CSOs/Commandants’ Conference in 1955. After considerable deliberation, it was decided that obtaining government sanction for a new establishment would take several years. Also, the proposal may have to be amended again due to introduction of radio relay which was expected to be inducted shortly. It was therefore decided to ask for implementation of WE 2041/1946/1, accepting the reductions in some sections proposed by the Army Standing Establishments Committee. It was thought that even with the proposed reductions, there will be an increase in manpower and vehicles. Also, units would be able to commence reorganization and training on the revised WE which embodied the teachings of the post war period. In an emergency, the full WE 2041/1946/1 could be adopted.
An important change occurred in the organisation of the divisional signal regiment in 1961, when the signal sections (E, F and G) of 2 Company were transferred from Signals to Artillery. Until then these sections were commanded by officers from the Corps of Signals for whom it was probably the first opportunity of independent command. Another major change occurred in 1963, when a number of divisional signal regiments were converted to mountain divisional signal regiments on WE 2051/1046/1. An important feature was that a signal company was authorized for each mountain brigade in place of a brigade signal section that existed earlier. Also a radio relay section was authorized in 1 Company and a FASO Section in 2 Company.
The units that were reorganized on mountain establishments were as under:-
· Indian Contingent Signal Regiment ONUC
and Indian Signal Company ONUC to 6 Mountain Divisional Signal Regiment. Congo
· 4, 20 and 23 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiments as Mountain Divisional Signal Regiments.
· 7, 48 and 62 Infantry Brigade Signal Sections as Mountain Brigade Signal Companies.
· 9 and 99 Infantry Brigade Signal Companies and 69 Infantry Brigade Signal Section as Mountain Brigade Signal Companies.
A number of new divisional signal regiments/brigade signal companies were raised in 1963-64. These were as under:-
· 2 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment.
· 3 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment.
· 9 Mountain Divisional Signal Regiment.
· 35, 42 and 58 Mountain Brigade Signal Companies.
· 10 Mountain Divisional Signal Regiment.
· 15 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment.
In 1964, a number of divisional signal regiments/brigade signal companies were reorganised. The reorganizations carried out were as under:-
· 2, 17 and 27 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiments were reorganised as Mountain Divisional Signal Regiments
· 7 Mountain Divisional Signal Regiment was reorganised as an Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment.
· 11, 63, 64, 82, 112, 77, 123, 164, 166, 167 and 190 Infantry Brigade Signal Sections were reorganised as Mountain Brigade Signal Companies.
· 48 and 54 Mountain Brigade Signal Companies were reorganised as Infantry Brigade Signal Sections.
· 33 Infantry Brigade Group Signal Company was reorganised as an Infantry Brigade Signal Company.
· 65 Infantry Brigade Signal Company was reorganised as an Infantry Brigade Signal Section.
In 1964 a case was taken up for revision of the establishment of the infantry divisional signal regiment. It was proposed to include new techniques and communication systems such as radio relay; RTT and teleprinters; and VHF for command nets. The existing 1 Company was to be reorganised into two companies and brigade signal sections were to be reorganised as brigade signal companies. A line section was proposed to be included in the artillery brigade signal section. There was also a proposed increase in administrative and maintenance staff. The overall increase of personnel was 207, which included six officers, nine JCOs and 192 OR, along with 24 vehicles.6
Since the proposal involved a substantial increase in manpower, it was not immediately cleared by the Army Standing Establishments Committee (ASEC). As a result, it was only in November 1964 that the new WE of the infantry divisional signal regiment (WE 2041/1946/2) was implemented. In the interim period, certain units were reorganised on a reduced establishment with the approval of the Chief of Army Staff. The revised establishment of the infantry divisional signal regiment is given below:-
3, 7, 14, 15 and 26 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiments were reorganised onto the new WE of an infantry divisional signal regiment (WE 2041/1946/2) in 1966 followed by 10, 11, 19 and 25 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiments. 36 Mountain Divisional Signal Regiment which had been raised in 1965 was subsequently reorganized as 36 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment. 39 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment along with 87 and 323 Infantry Brigade Signal Companies was also raised in 1966. At the same time, the Rajasthan Sector Signal Regiment comprising 30, 45 and 322 Infantry Brigade Signal Companies was reorganized onto WE 2041/1946/2. Another unit raised in 1966 was 54 Infantry Divisional Signal Regimental along with 47, 74 and 91 Infantry Brigade Signal Companies.
57 Mountain Divisional Signal Regiment was raised in 1969, along with 61, 73 and 311 Mountain Brigade Signal Companies. In July 1971, 11 Infantry Division was reorganized to its full authorization of three brigades, with supporting arms and services. As a result, 330 Infantry Brigade Group Signal Company was reorganized as 330 Infantry Brigade Signal Company and 340 Mountain Brigade Signal Company as 340 Mountain Brigade Group Signal Company.
During the 1971 war, a large number of raisings/ reorganizations were ordered, including some divisional signal regiments/brigade signal companies. In some cases, the units were disbanded after the end of the war. 1001 and 1002 Independent Signal Companies (Mountain Brigade) were raised in 1971 and disbanded in 1972. This was also the case with 1003 Independent Line Company and 1004 Ad-hoc Signal Company. The units raised in 1971-72 were as under:-
· Kilo Sector Signal Company.
· 4 and 6 Armoured Brigade Signal Companies.
· 10, 12, and 15 Infantry Brigade Signal Companies
In 1972, Foxtrot Sector Signal Regiment was reorganized as 16 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment. 67 Infantry Brigade Group Signal Company became 67 Infantry Brigade Signal Company and 95 Mountain Brigade Signal Company was reorganized as 95 Infantry Brigade Signal Company. 340 Infantry Brigade Signal Company was also reorganized in the same manner.
As would be evident, there were several changes in the organisation of the divisional signal regiment between 1947 and 1972. From just four such units in 1947, the number had risen to 26 in 1972, an indication in the large scale expansion of the Corps in the first 25 years after
Communication Zone Signals
In the early years after
communications along the L of C were being provided by L of C signal regiments
of the Territorial Army. These were later redesignated as communication zone
signal regiments. It was only after the 1962 war with China that regular units
of the Corps of Signals were raised to meet commitments in the communication
zone. In 1963, it was decided to raise twelve such units, in addition to the
field and static formation signal units.
The deployment of the units was need based, depending on the requirement
in the communication zone. Accordingly, they were organised on the ‘brick’ system.
In addition to deployment in the communication zone, one such unit was allotted
to each corps. Independence
The allotment of communication zone signal regiments in 1964 was as given below:-
· M Communication Zone Signal Regiment - I Corps
· V Communication Zone Signal Regiment - IV Corps
· Z Communication Zone Signal Regiment - XI Corps
· Y Communication Zone Signal Regiment - XV Corps
· L Communication Zone Signal Regiment - XXXIII Corps
· J Communication Zone Signal Regiment - XV Corps
· N Communication Zone Signal Regiment - 101 Communication Zone Area
· O Communication Zone Signal Regiment - UP Area
· P Communication Zone Signal Regiment –Army HQ Reserve
· R Communication Zone Signal Regiment - P and HP Area
· S Communication Zone Signal Regiment -101 Communication Zone Area
· T Communication Zone Signal Regiment - HQ XV Corps
Subsequently, Q Communication Zone Signal Regiment was raised in 1966 and H Communication Zone Signal Regiment in 1971, shortly before the commencement of hostilities with Pakistan.
Air & Naval Formation Signals
Out of the six air formation signal regiments that existed during World War II, four were disbanded soon after the war ended. At the time of Partition in 1947, there were only two air formation signal regiments in
, of which
one each was allotted to the two dominions. The unit left in India India was 1 Air Formation Signal Regiment
(Modified), located at .
Its strength had been reduced to a company, which accounted for the suffix
‘modified’ in its name. It was under the command of Major K.D. Bhasin. Delhi
After a few years, it became evident that the resources of the existing unit were inadequate. It had to look after IAF land lines throughout
and cater for three IAF commands. As
part of the Radar Plan for the defence of India , radar stations were to be
set up at a number of locations during 1952.
For the installation and maintenance of land line equipment at these
stations, additional technical maintenance and terminal equipment sections would
be required. Hence, it became necessary to raise another air formation signal
regiment. However, in the interests of
economy it was not considered desirable to have two full scale air formation
signal regiments, each commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Accordingly, 2 Air
Formation Signal Regiment (Modified) was raised in 1951 at Begumpet comprising
a regimental headquarters (modified), a terminal equipment section and two wing
signal sections. India
The appointment of Chief Air Formation Signal Officer (CAFSO) at Air HQ (
) had existed during the World
War II but was discontinued after the disbandment of most of the air formation
signal regiments after the war. At the time of India Independence,
there was only an SO2 Air Formation Signals, at Air HQ ( ). The
appointment was then held by Major A.M. David who was relieved by Major D.C.
Barnett in December 1948. A few months afterwards, the appointment was upgraded
to SO1 and Major Barnett was promoted as lieutenant colonel. Subsequently, the
appointment was re-designated as CAFSO. In 1963 the rank of the CAFSO was
upgraded from lieutenant colonel to colonel. At the same time, the India COs of 1 and 2 Air Formation Signal Regiments were also
upgraded from major to lieutenant colonel.
Additional company headquarters and sections were raised in both units
and the suffix ‘modified’ was removed from their names.
During the 1962 war with
, a need
was felt for another air formation signal regiment for Eastern Command, which
had no such unit at that time. 3 Air Formation Signal Regiment was raised in China Delhi in November 1962 and subsequently moved to . Shortly before
the commencement of the 1965 war with Calcutta Pakistan,
4 Air Formation Signal Regiment was raised at in May 1965 for Central Command. At
this juncture, the establishment of Air Formation Signal Staffs was again
revised. With the appointment of CAFSO already upgraded to colonel, a new
appointment of Deputy CAFSO in the rank of lieutenant colonel was created at
the Air HQ. In addition, one GSO 3 each
was provided at HQs Eastern, Western and Central Air Commands. The appointment
of GSO 3 in HQ Maintenance Command was upgraded to GSO 2. Lucknow
At the time of Independence, no Signals staff was authorised at Naval HQ. In 1956 it was decided to authorise a Naval Formation Signal Officer (CNFSO) of the rank of major at Naval HQ. In 1971, the appointment of CNFSO was upgraded from major to lieutenant colonel in Naval HQ. This was subsequently disbanded after the Navy took over the task of dealing with the P&T department directly for its land line requirements.
Air Support Signals
After the end of World War II, all air support signal units were disbanded, except for some contact cars (air), control detachments and airfield detachments which were grouped to form one air support signal company for each dominion at the time of Partition. 2 Air Support Signal Company that remained in
re-designated as 162 Infantry Brigade Signal Section on 1 April 1948. Shortly
afterwards, 1 Air Support Signal Company was raised on 15 September at Delhi by
Major Lachhman Singh, who was relieved in early 1949 by Major Didar Singh. This was followed by the raising of 2 Air
Support Signal Section in 1950, which was subsequently reorganised as 2 Air
Support Signal Company in 1961. India
Though air support was not utilised in the 1962 war, it was felt that the existing resources were inadequate. Accordingly, 3 Air Support Signal Company was raised in April 1963 at
afterwards, it was decided to raise two air support signal regiments from the
assets of the three existing air support signal companies and the fourth air
support signal company (4 Air Support Signal Company) that was raised at that
time. The two units raised were 1 Air
Support Signal Regiment at Delhi Delhi and 2 Air
Support Signal Regiment at . Calcutta
In 1967 two independent air support signal companies were a raised. These were 5 and 6 (Indep) Air Support Signal Companies. After the 1971 operations, another unit - 3 Air Support Signal Regiment - was raised in June 1972 at Udhampur, where HQ Northern Command had recently been created.
Signals Intelligence Units
During World War II, signal interception was carried out by the Tactical ‘Y’ Service, for which there was no sanctioned establishment. This service was manned exclusively by British personnel. After the war ended, the organisation was disbanded and all documents related to the service were destroyed. After
, the Censorship Sub Committee,
which had representatives of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Information and
Broadcasting and Communications, recommended that a strategic and tactical
organisation should be set up. The
Chiefs of Staff, at their meeting held on 13 October 1948 decided that the
organisation should be run by a Joint Signal Intelligence Board (JSIB) with the
Director of Military Intelligence as Chairman and that each Service should have
its own tactical units. Consequently,
three special wireless sections under the Military Intelligence Directorate
were sanctioned by the Ministry of Defence in October 1949. A fourth wireless
section was added in 1951. Subsequently,
the Strategical ‘Y’ Service was also set up under the JSIB. From the experience gained and results
achieved there were constant demands for enhancing this organisation. However there were only minor increments in
personnel and equipment up to 1962, when the Sino Indian conflict resulted in a
review of the entire defence set up in the country. Independence
The credit for creation of the Signal Intelligence Directorate in 1963 goes to the then SO-in-C, Major General R.N. Batra, and his cousin, Brigadier M.N. Batra who had assumed the appointment of Director of Military Intelligence after attending the first course at the
The appointment was later upgraded to major general, and M.N. Batra continued to
hold it, on promotion. Being signal officers, both of them were convinced of
the immense potential of signals intelligence, and the need to upgrade our
capability in this field. As a result of their deliberations, in 1963 the
SO-in-C sponsored a case for establishment of a Directorate of Signals
Intelligence, to function under the Director of Military Intelligence, which
was accepted. The new set up was an inter services organisation, which covered
intercept units of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. The Signals Intelligence
Directorate started functioning under the Military Intelligence Directorate at
Army HQ with effect from 10 September 1963.
The appointment of Director of Signals Intelligence was initially tenable
in rotation by officers of Army, Navy and Air Force of the rank of colonel and
equivalent. Colonel Tej Sarin was the first officer to hold this appointment. National
It was decided to create a new category of ‘operator special’ in Group A, for employment in wireless experimental units under the Signals Intelligence Directorate. Personnel for the new category were to be recruited by re-mustering volunteers from operator wireless and keyboard (OWK) and operator wireless and line (OWL), class 2. Initially, four centres and signal intelligence units were placed under command of the Director of Signals Intelligence. In 1966 further re-organisation was carried out and two new units were raised. The appointment of Director of Signals Intelligence was also upgraded from colonel to brigadier.
Details of the operations of the Signals Intelligence organisation cannot be revealed due to security considerations. However, the wireless experimental units proved their worth in the 1965 and 1971 operations, providing valuable intelligence of enemy deployment and plans. A major success was the interception of the message regarding the conference to be held in Government House at
on 14 December 1971. The Indian Air Force bombed the venue,
causing a lot of damage. The Governor, Dr. A.M. Malik was badly shaken. He immediately wrote out his resignation and
accompanied by his cabinet and other civil servants, moved to the Hotel
Intercontinental, which had been occupied by the International Red Cross and
was treated as a neutral zone. This accelerated the surrender of the Pakistani
forces in Dacca East Pakistan. 7
Central Monitoring Organisation
After the 1962 operations, an Expert Committee was constituted by the Government of India to analyse the reasons for the debacle. It was revealed that
had gathered most of the
intelligence about our infrastructure, dispositions and build up from
interception of defence and civilian radio networks. In 1964 it was decided to
raise a central agency to monitor domestic radio networks to ensure security.
Since adequate resources in terms of equipment and manpower were not held with
the Ministry of Communications, the Army was entrusted with the task.
Accordingly, the Central Monitoring Organisation (CMO) came into being in 1964,
under the Ministry of Defence. The manpower, equipment and transport were to be
provided by the Corps of Signals, until the Wireless Planning Committee (WPC)
Wing of the Ministry of Communications could create its own resources. China
Raising of the first three radio monitoring companies commenced in November 1964. No. 1 Radio Monitoring Company was raised at
No. 2 at Simla and No. 3 at .
Subsequently 4 and 5 Radio Monitoring Companies were raised in June 1966 at Lucknow Poona and
respectively. Shortly before the commencement of the 1971 war with Delhi and
creation of Northern Command, No. 6 Radio Monitoring Company was raised at
Udhampur in October 1971. Brigadier Ajit Singh who was Director CMO from 1969
to 1976, was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 for his services during the 1971
Border Scouts Signal Company
The Border Scouts Signal Company was raised in March 1951 at
under the command of Major Mahinder Singh, with Captain Bhudrani as the
second-in-command, Second-Lieutenant Agarwal as the adjutant and
Second-Lieutenant G.L. Nanda as the communication officer. The company
comprised three wing signal sections, located at Gurdaspur, Amritsar and
Ferozepore, which were commanded by Second-Lieutenants R. Choudhary, P.C.
Chatterjee and Sukhjit Singh respectively. By September 1951 the company
headquarters and sections were fully raised and had taken over the
communications on the border from the respective brigade signal sections. Jullundur
When the Border Scouts were raised in 1951 it had been decided that all personnel for the signal company, totalling 345, would be seconded from the Corps of Signals and subsequently transferred to the Border Scouts. Volunteers were called for and in August 1952 the first batch of 154 was transferred from the Corps of Signals to Border Scouts. However, after reporting to the unit 67 personnel represented that since the terms of the transfer had not been fully explained to them, they did not wish to be permanently transferred. This was taken up with Army HQ and it was then decided that all personnel would be treated as ‘seconded’ from the Corps of Signals as opposed to ‘transferred’ to Border Scouts.
The Border Scouts Signal Company comprised seven officers, five JCOs and about 300 OR. It was under the command of Commander Border Scouts, Brigadier A.S Sodhi, while technical control was exercised by DCSO East Punjab Area, Lieutenant Colonel Bijai Singh. In July 1952 Major Mohinder Singh was relieved by Major W.S. Ambardekar as the OC. The Border Scouts Signal Company was disbanded in July 1954.
Border Roads Signals
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was raised in 1960 to coordinate construction of strategically important roads in the border regions of the country, in the North and North East, where civil agencies were not available for such tasks. The General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) was also raised as the executive arm of the BRO. The personnel for the force were provided from the defence services, with some being recruited directly. The first Director General Border Roads was Major General K.N. Dubey, who assumed charge in April 1960. The appointment of a CSO was also created in HQ DGBR in June 1960, the first incumbent being Lieutenant Colonel S.N. Atal. He was assisted by one staff officer, who was designated SO2 (Communication & Cipher Security).
The BRO consisted of several task forces, each of which was authorised a signal section. The first such section was raised in July 1960 for Project Tusker which was established at Tezpur for construction and maintenance of roads in NEFA. The first officer to command the section was Captain R.S. Talwar. In 1963 the Tusker Signal Section became the Vartak Signal Section after the names were Indianised. Between 1960 and 1967 several other signal sections were raised. These were Project Beacon (Ladakh); Project Dantak (
Project Deepak (UP-Tibet border); Project Setuk (Tripura); Project Sewak (Naga
Hills); Project Swastik ( )
and Project Pushpak (Mizo Hills). Sikkim
Territorial Army Signals
During World War II more than 20 L of C units were raised by drawing personnel from the P&T Department to be deployed in various theatres. The role of these units was to supplement the static communication system, to provide L of C for operations and to provide neutral Signals during training. All these units were disbanded at end of the war, only one being retained for the General Reserve. This too was subsequently disbanded. With the expansion in static communication commitments of the Indian Army after
, it was found that the existing
resources of command signal regiments and the few area/sub area signal units
that existed were inadequate. It was therefore decided to raise L of C units
again to supplement the existing static communication resources. The
nomenclature L of C was retained with the words ‘Territorial Army’ or TA being
added in their names. Apart from
providing communications to static headquarters and establishments, TA signal
sections were also raised for a few units of the Armoured Corps, and Artillery
in various stations. Independence
The first such unit was 101 L of C Signal Regiment (TA) which was raised in 1949. The regimental headquarters of the unit and 1 Company was at
Delhi with 2 and 3
Companies being located at Bombay and respectively.
This was followed by the raising of 102 L of C Signal Regiment (TA), with its
regimental headquarters and 1 Company at Calcutta Madras;
2 Company at
and 3 Company at Trichinopoly. At the same time, TA signal sections were raised
for 51 Light Armoured Regiment (Ambala), 140 Medium Regiment (Meerut); 144
Field Regiment (Nasirabad); 103, 104, 105, 106 and 107 HAA Regiments (Bombay,
Vizagapatam, Bangalore, Tatanagar and Calcutta); and 501 Coast Battery
(Bombay). The permanent staff required for these units was sanctioned for one
year in the first instance. Most of the
staff was to be provided by Indian Signals but deficiencies were expected to be
met by embodying TA personnel of equivalent ranks for full time duty. Lucknow
Another commitment was the assistance provided to the Indian Railways, especially in construction of PL routes. In 1951 a TA unit and a number of line construction sections were raised. These comprised 968 HQ Railway Engineers at Ferozepore and 969, 970, 971 and 972 HQ Railway Engineers Line Construction Sections (TA) at
Delhi and .
After the raising of 102 L of C Signal Regiment it was realised that though its regimental headquarters and most of the other companies were in Southern Command, 2 Company at
was in Eastern Command. At the same time,
the companies of 101 L of C Signal Regiment were widely dispersed, being
located at Lucknow Delhi, Bombay
It was therefore decided to interchange the companies at Calcutta Lucknow
and , for
better command and control. Accordingly, 2 Company of 101 L of C Signal
Regiment at Bombay Bombay became 2 Company of 102 L of
C Signal Regiment and 2 Company of 102 L of C Signal Regiment at was redesignated
as 2 Company of 101 L of C Signal Regiment.
In December 1951, five additional L of C (TA) signal units were raised. These were as under:-
· 105 L of C Signal Regiment (TA)
· 106 L of C Signal Regiment (TA)
· 107 L of C Signal Regiment (TA)
· 108 L of C Signal Company (TA)
· 109 L of C Signal Company (Mob) (TA) Shillong
Subsequently, there was a change in the nomenclature of these units. Instead of L of C regiments, they began to be called communication zone signal regiments, retaining their original numerals. In 1956 the regimental headquarters of 101 and 102 Communication Zone Signal Regiments (TA) were disbanded, the existing companies becoming independent companies. Accordingly, 1, 2 and 3 Companies of 101 Communication Zone Signal Regiment (TA) were redesignated as 111, 112 and 113 Independent Signal Companies (TA). Similarly, the three companies of 102 Communication Zone Signal Regiment (TA) became 114, 115 and 116 Independent Signal Companies (TA).
After the 1962 war, there was a major reorganisation of static units of the Corps. In 1964, all the TA signal regiments and companies were disbanded, their commitments being taken over by the communication zone signal regiments that were raised at that time. In a few cases, some sections of these units that were manned by Signals personnel were merged with existing units.
During the 1971 war, some TA units were embodied for the duration of the war. 107 and 109 Signal Companies (TA) P&T were embodied on 10 December 1971. These were disembodied on 5 March 1972.
The Officer Cadre
At the time of
, the number of officers held in
the Corps was 293, against the authorized establishment of 462. Taking into
account the 26 British officers who agreed to serve in Independence after 31
December 1947, the actual shortfall was 143 officers viz. almost 50%. Some of
the measures taken to make up the shortfall was the grant of regular or short
service commissions to VCOs; transfers from other arms; grant of temporary
commissions, transfer of serving and released officers of the Royal Indian Navy
Volunteer Reserve; recall of released officers, commissions to university
graduates under Army Instruction (India) 23/S/47; and employment of civilian
gazetted officers. India
A Signals Selection Board was held at
screen VCOs for grant of regular and short service commissions. On 1 January
1948 four VCOs were given direct regular commissions as second-lieutenants. In
addition, 12 VCOs were granted short service regular commissions for five years
and 11 for three years. IOR were not considered for the grant of such
commissions since a final decision on this had yet to be taken. At the same
time, 33 officers were transferred from the RIASC (Royal Indian Army Service
Corps). These officers were posted to the units after undergoing a conversion
course at the School of Signals, Mhow. With this the officer position improved
Another measure was the appointment of CTOs (civilian technical officers) in lieu of TOM/TOT (technical officer maintenance/technical officer telecommunications) and civilian Foreman of Signals, who were to be employed as instructors and in Army HQ and command signal regiments. By the end of 1948, 20 CTOs and 19 civilian Foremen of Signals had been appointed.
The intake of officers from the
, Dehradun was
also increased. Whereas the 1st Course that passed out in December
1946 had just five officers commissioned into Signals, 19 officers from the 2nd
Course joined Signals in December 1947, followed by 20 from the 3rd
Course in September 1948. British officers and BOR who had remained in Indian Military
Academy India after were asked if they wished to
extend their service further. In the event, 21 British officers and eight BOR
agreed to extend their service for periods varying from three months to two
years. As a result of these measures by the end of 1948 the number of officers
in the Corps had risen to 431. Independence
To make up the shortfall of officers in the shortest possible time, a new type of temporary commission was introduced in the Indian Army in 1949 vide Army Instruction (
All serving JCOs/OR were eligible to apply including those who had been
rejected by the Services Selection Board for direct and short service regular
commissions. To provide cadet training to these officers the Officers Training
School (OTS) was set up in the premises of the India Deccan
College at . The period of training was six months
for Infantry cadets and three months for those from other arms. It was intended
to train 150 cadets every month until the peak figure of 1,000 was reached. The
first batch (OTS-1) joined the OTS in September 1948 and proceeded to the
School of Signals in December 1948, from where they were commissioned on 30
April 1949. The last batch (OTS-7A) was commissioned in September 1950. These
temporary commissioned officers (TCOs) were expected to be discharged after
serving for a year. However, due to the shortage of officers in the Army, it
was decided to grant regular commissions to those who were found
acceptable. Three screening boards were
held for these officers during 1952 and a total of 29 officers who qualified
were granted regular commissions after successful completion of a seven-week
conversion course at the Poona . These
officers lost seniority of about 18 months, to cater for the shortfall in
training vis-a-vis regular officers. After General Thimayya became COAS in
1957, he decided that all TCOs should be given regular commissions As a result,
the remaining TCOs were also given regular commissions which came to be known
as ‘Thimayya commissions’. School
Colonel M.K. Kotwal, who passed out with OTS-2 in June 1949, has described his experiences in the following words:-
The Govt of India decided as matter of policy to withdraw all British Officers from Indian Army after Independence. In order to meet an acute shortage of officers, Army established an OTS in the premises of Deccan College near Bund Garden at Pune in August 1948. Selected cadets were to undergo three months basic training and then to proceed for Arms and Services training of approximately 3-4 months. The cadets selected by SSBs (same as for Regular Officers) were to be granted one year's commission and were to be called TCOs. The first course was started on or about 23 Sep 1948. They were accommodated in the hostels of the Deccan College. The next few courses were accommodated in the newly constructed temporary barracks. After going through SSB Bangalore, I joined B Coy of OTS on 15 Oct 1948. Maj AN Mathur (later Lt Gen) Signals, was A Coy Commander. Brig Kochar (Bhalu) of Engineers was our Commandant. After three months basic training we were sent to various Institutions such as MCTE then known as School of Signals for a further period of training of approximately four months. When my Course reported to MCTE, in Jan 1949, PAT 2 was half way through and PAT 3 was almost four weeks ahead of us. In June my Course was commissioned and we joined various Units. Most of OTS officers were granted Regular Commission after screening by SSBs. A few also got Regular after appeal by the COs of the Units. Those granted Regular earlier also managed to undergo SODE Course as it was then known. Some like Brig Sibal (OTS 3) even managed to undergo Staff College.8
Apart from the cadets who were trained at the OTS, temporary commissions were also granted to 33 ex Army Ordnance Corps officers who completed their training at the
on 3 September 1949. Another 11 officers from other arms and services who were
already holding emergency or short service commissions granted during the War
joined the Corps at about the same time. After 1950, temporary commissions were
stopped and short service regular commissions began to be granted. The first
batch of 11 officers granted 7 years SSRC passed out from IMA on 27 July 1952.
Another type of entry was from the National Cadet Corps (NCC), which had been
established soon after School of Signals .
The first batch of NCC (Senior Division) comprising two officers, P.K. Banker
and K.M. Upadhyaya, was commissioned from IMA on 8 June 1952 along with the 9th
Regular course. Independence
By the end of 1949 the holding of officers in the Corps had risen to 692. However, only 238 of these were regular officers, the balance comprising short service regular commissioned (SSRC), Indian emergency commissioned (IEC) and temporary commissioned (TC) officers, in addition to several other categories. Out of the 21 British officers then serving in
16 agreed to continue serving for two years or more even after 1950. The
position of officers continued to improve and reached a figure of 701 in March
1950. After this, the intake of officers became steady and the rate of increase
tapered off. In January 1954, the Corps had 718 officers against an authorised
establishment of 830, which was over 85%. At this time, there were only a
handful of British officers left, including the SO-in-C, Brigadier Akehurst,
who left on 31 March 1954. The last three British officers left a year later in
March 1955, when the officer cadre was fully Indianised. India
Until the departure of Brigadier Akehurst, the highest rank held by Signals officers was that of brigadier. At that time, the Corps had only seven brigadiers, of which three were holding staff appointments outside the Corps. With the upgradation of the appointment of SO-in-C in 1954, the Corps got its first major general. The number of colonels (five) was also quite small, since the only appointments in that rank were in the training centres or as DCSOs of areas. However, the number of lieutenant colonels (45) was substantial as were the numbers of majors (142), captains (310) and subalterns (209). In most cases, lieutenant colonels were promoted directly as brigadiers, as was the case in all other arms and services.
During the Emergency that was declared after the 1962 war with
, the intake of officers saw a
substantial increase. In December 1962, 23 officers of the 30th
regular course who had completed their training were given regular commissions
when they passed out. In addition, 31 officers of the 31st regular
course who had still six months of training left also passed out, with
emergency commissions. They were later given regular commissions, without loss
of seniority. China
Though the Chinese had declared a unilateral a cease fire war on 21 November 1962, the Government decided to increase the intake of officers. The Officers Training Schools (OTSs) at
began to turn out emergency commissioned officers after three to six months of
training. The training period of the regular courses at the IMA was also
curtailed by periods varying from six months to one and a half years. In
addition to the OTSs, short courses for emergency commissioned officers were
conducted at the IMA also in 1963-64. These measures were implemented without
adequate thought being given to the long term effects on the officer cadre
which became apparent with time. Madras
In March 1963, three regular courses - 32nd, 33rd and 34th – passed out from the IMA together. In the normal course, they would have passed out in December 1963, June 1964 and December 1964 respectively. After undergoing training at the IMA for periods varying from three months to fifteen months, 85 of them were sent to the
underwent the Signal Officers Cadet Course of approximately ten weeks, before
being granted permanent commissions on 30 June 1963. The first batch of 55
emergency commissioned officers of EC-1 course, which had joined them after
three months of training at the OTS Poona, was also commissioned on the same
date. During the period 1963 to 1965, twelve emergency courses passed from out
the IMA and the two OTSs, in addition to the regular courses. After completing
five years service, the ECOs who wished to be retained had to undergo screening
by the Services Selection Board. Those who were found fit were given regular
commissions after adjusting their seniority by the shortfall in training, which
was about one and a half years. However, the regular officers commissioned in
1963 and 1964, many of whom had undergone the same period of training as
emergency commissioned officers, did not lose seniority. This caused a lot of
heart burn, not only among the ECOs but also the ex-NDA regular officers, who
became junior to the direct entry officers who would otherwise have been
commissioned along with them or later. For the ECOs who were not found fit or
left voluntarily there was a silver lining - many were inducted into the
Central Services such as IAS and IPS, reaching top positions by virtue of the
fact that the Government agreed to count their Army service while deciding
their seniority in civil services. School
Colonel B.V Shirali, has described the situation in the following words:-
I am one of the officers commissioned on 30 June 1963. I joined 34th Regular (Direct Entry) course at Indian Military Academy on 06 Jan 1963 or so as Gentleman Cadet (GC). After 3 months of basic military training at IMA, I was sent to School of Signals, Mhow along with other GCs of 32nd, 33rd and 34th Regular courses, who had by then completed basic military training of 15, 9 and 3 months duration respectively, in end of March/first week of April 1963 for undergoing YOs course. This YOs course was called/ known as Signal Officer Cadet Course No.1 (SOC-1) of 12 weeks duration from April to end June 1963. GCs of EC-1 course after 3 months basic military training at OTS also joined us at Mhow in first week of April 1963 and underwent 12 weeks of SOC-1 course. We all GCs of 32nd, 33rd and 34th Regular courses and EC-1 course were commissioned on 30 June 1963 at School of Signals ,Mhow.
Officers of 32nd, 33rd and 34th Regular Course were granted Permanent Commission (PC) while officers of EC-1 course were granted Emergency Commission. We all were allotted IC number arbitrarily irrespective of Course. For example, although I was allotted IC- 15415 being from 34th Regular Course, some officers of 32nd and 33rd Regular course were allotted IC numbers greater than mine but that did not imply that such officers were junior to me. The seniority of officers of above courses was subsequently adjusted/ regularized as per the period of pre-commission training actually undergone by each by publication of necessary Gazette of India.
It is, indeed, unfortunate that EC-1 officers who were found fit were given PC after adjusting their seniority by shortfall in training where as regular officers of 32nd, 33rd, and 34th course did not lose seniority in spite of shortfall in their training. The reason for that may be due to the terms of engagement of regular course coupled with sanction of COAS to grant PC to GCs with shortfall in training due to exigency of service after 1962 Chinese Aggression.9
After 1965 the grant of emergency commissions was stopped. However, short service commissions began to be granted to officers passing from the OTS at
from April 1966 onwards. An interesting sidelight is that from the first short
service non-technical course (SSNT-1), no officer was commissioned into
Signals. However, it was later found that many of them were post graduates in
science with specialization in electronics. When asked if they wished to join
Signals, many volunteered. As a result, a number of officers were transferred
to Signals after having spent about a year in units of Infantry, Cavalry and
Artillery. However, from the next batch (SSNT-2) onwards, which passed out from
the OTS in April 1967, officers began to be sent to Signals. Officers granted short service commissions
who were found fit were subsequently granted permanent commissions after loss
of seniority equal to the shortfall in training, which was about 14 months. Madras
An interesting development was the Compulsory Liability Scheme that was introduced in 1965. In order to make up the deficiency of as many as 2,500 officers in the technical corps of the Army, the Government decided that all entrants to the Government Class I and II engineering cadres, of the Centre as well as the States, will be liable to serve in the Army for a period of four years before they are appointed to civil jobs. It was expected that the Army would be offered 750 engineering graduates per year under this scheme. Out of this number approximately 500 were expected to be selected by the Army and the remaining 250 allowed to join their civil appointments. Those selected would undergo a 13 weeks basic military training course at the OTS Madras, on conclusion of which they would be granted provisional short service regular commissions in the Army. It was expected that 126 technical graduates will be commissioned annually into the Corps of Signals under this scheme. 10
Unfortunately, the results were not very encouraging. Colonel T.N. Shreevastawa, who was one of the officers who joined under this scheme, writes:-
The Compulsory Service Liability (CSL) Scheme started in 1965 with courses named as CSL-1, CSL-2 , CSL-3 etc at OTS Madras with 14 weeks duration for engineering cadres of Central/ State Govts. Later all these officers went for YOs Courses with non-technical SS officers in SSNT-I in 1967 as their numbers were not more than 5 to 6. To the best of my knowledge, only three courses from 1965 to 1966 were run at OTS. Most of these officers went back to their engineering cadre of Central/State Govts after serving for 4 years in the Army. Only few selected to get permanent commission after going through SSB.11
During the 1971 war with
the courses at the IMA and OTS were curtailed. The 46th regular
course passed out from the IMA on 14 November 1971, a month earlier than
scheduled. The next course at the IMA was shortened by three months, passing
out on 31 March 1972. The duration of the courses at the OTS was also shortened
from ten months to six months. After 1972 the situation returned to normal, and
regular courses began to be conducted at the IMA for permanent commissioned
officers and at the OTS, which was later redesignated as the Officers Training
Academy (OTA), for short service commissioned officers. Pakistan
JCOs & Other Ranks
During World War II and the period preceding it, personnel for the Indian Signal Corps were recruited from four castes - Punjabi Mussulmans, Sikhs, Dogras and Mixed Madrassis. In 1946 it was decided that instead of being caste based, recruitment would be based on religion. At the time of
, the ratio of Muslims to
non-Muslims in the Corps was 44:56. With the departure of the Punjabi
Mussulmans to Independence
at Partition, the percentages were revised as shown below:- Pakistan
· Mixed Madrassi - 56.5%
· Hindus - 30%
· Sikhs - 10.5%
· Hindustani Mussulmans - 3%
Soon after the revision of the new percentages, it was realised that this has resulted in considerable dissatisfaction among Sikhs. There was a large number of very senior Sikhs in the Corps, who could not be promoted within the class percentage laid down for them. At the same time, other classes did not have enough qualified personnel to fill the vacancies authorized for them. It was decided that promotions to NCO/JCO ranks will be based on the following percentages:-
· Sikhs 30 24
· Hindus 28 28
· MMs 41.8 48
· Others .2 Nil
As a result of this decision, the class percentage for Sikhs in the Corps for promotion purposes was stepped up by 5%. However, before the impact of the decision could be felt Indian Army Order 8/S/49 was published, abolishing the system of class composition in the Indian Army. Henceforth, promotions were to be based purely on seniority and efficiency and not by classes. 12
The biggest crisis faced by the Corps immediately after
was the shortage of technical
tradesmen such mechanics, operators and draughtsmen. There was a large number
of personnel recruited during the war who could elect to be released according
to their terms of engagement. Efforts were made to defer the release of
technical tradesmen to tide over the situation. The SO-in-C wrote a personal
demi-official letter to officers commanding signal units stressing the
necessity of personal talks to the men in order to explain the needs of the
Corps for such personnel. It was also decided that technical tradesmen of
deficient trades would not be eligible to apply for cipher conversion training.
By March 1948, about 700 such personnel had asked to be released and another
100 were expected to follow suit. However, in view of the shortage of technical
personnel, their release was postponed.
Sanction was also obtained to employ civilians as Foremen of Signals for
a period of three years, by which time it was expected that the crisis would be
In order to accelerate recruitment in the Corps, a Regimental Recruiting Party under Captain Gurdial Singh toured
in March and April 1948. The results were very encouraging. The party recruited
104 Sikhs (63 matric, 41 non matric) and 124 Hindus (63 matric and 61 non-
matric). In addition it recruited 32 Sikh boys (4 matric, 28 non matric) and 39
Hindu boys (3 matric, 36 non matric). The matrics included several who had
FA/FSc and even a few graduates! 13
In July 1948 a recruiting drive for ex-servicemen was launched for four months. Special allowances were offered to ex-soldiers to enrol either on short term or regular engagements. Physical and educational standards were lowered to that of war time standards. Within a month, more than 600 ex-servicemen had joined, including a large number of operators, mechanics, drivers and linemen. As a result of these measures, there was some improvement in the state of personnel. The state of JCOs and OR as on 1 December 1948 is shown below:-
Authorised Strength Actual Strength
JCOs 443 337
OR 12712 11145 Recruits 2288 2915
Boys 750 62
An important change that occurred concerned colour service. Vide Army Instruction 199/48, colour service was fixed as 10 years for operators, draughtsmen and storemen, while it was 12 years for clerks and mechanics. The total period of combined colour and reserve service was fixed as 15 years for all categories.
The National Service Ordinance (XXIII of 1948) was promulgated under which any person serving in the Indian Army whose services were required could be retained until December 1949. It also provided for the recall of any person who had been released after 1 January 1946. It stipulated that extreme compassionate cases, medically unfit persons and certain disciplinary cases would continue to be released as before. After the issue of Indian Army Order 724/48 which laid down the rules and procedure for recall of the personnel under the Ordinance, it was decided that the following numbers of personnel would be recalled:-
· Workshop trades - 196
· Operator trades - 444
· Drivers MT - 192
Within a few months, orders were received that the recall of personnel under the National Service Ordinance was to be stopped and recall notices already issued were to be cancelled. Fortunately, no recall notices had been issued to JCOs/OR. However, notices had been issued to 19 officers of which four had reported for duty.14
An important decision regarding promotion policy of JCOs was taken in 1948. It was decided that subedars of all categories, including those on special rosters, Foreman of Signals, ciphers and clerks would be eligible for promotion to subedar major provided they were willing to come on the general roster of promotion. It was also decided that NCOs who qualify in the Foreman of Signals course at the
would have to pass a Signals selection board before they are promoted to the
rank of jemadar, as was being done for JCOs of other categories. In 1950 it was
decided that qualification on the NCOs ‘S’ course would be a necessary
pre-requisite for promotion to a JCO rank, as was the practice before World War
II and for some time during the War. The first ‘S’ course of 16 weeks duration
commenced on 9 October 1950 at the STC. A year later it was decided that the
course would be run in two parts, with Part I to be conducted at the STC and
Part II at the School of Signals . This would
apply to all categories other than jemadar clerk, for which both parts would be
run at the STC.15 School
In view of the critical shortages of manpower still existing, in 1951 all releases, discharges and transfers to reserve of JCOs and OR were held in abeyance, except on medical grounds, disciplinary cases, extreme compassionate cases and JCOs who had completed their tenure or attained the service limits laid down. In 1952 these orders were modified and the personnel who had earned the maximum pensions of their rank and those on short term engagement who had completed their terms and were unwilling to serve beyond this period were also permitted to be released.
In 1952 the orders on control of postings of JCOs/OR were revised. It was laid down that the postings of all JCOs, OR and NCsE would be controlled by Officer in Charge Signals Records, except for those of subedar majors, JCOs cipher, foreman of signals and operator cipher, which would be controlled by Signals Directorate at Army HQ. In an emergency, CSOs and CAFSO could order postings within their respective commands without reference to Signals Records. Vide a subsequent order of November 1954, Signals Records was given complete responsibility for posting of subedar majors, without reference to Signals Directorate.
In 1953 it was laid down that an NCO must qualify on Foreman of Signals Course Parts I and II before he could be considered for promotion to the rank of jemadar. In view of the deficiency of qualified mechanics, it was also decided that NCOs of workshop category who were appointed CQMH, CHM, RQMH and RHM should be employed on repair of signal equipments and not on administrative duties. To implement this decision, such NCOs would be posted in vacancies of foreman of signals or JCOs GD wherever possible. 16
After the declaration of the Emergency consequent to the 1962 war, several measures were taken to deal with the situation. Jemadar (GD) of workshop categories began to be employed in lieu of JCOs Foreman of Signals. The posting out of JCOs/OR/NCs(E) on completion of normal tenure in units was suspended until 31 December 1963, except for new raisings, instructional appointments, extreme compassionate grounds and disciplinary cases. The tenure of service of JCOs was extended, with subedars and jemadars being permitted to serve up to the ages of 53 (later revised to 50) and 46 years respectively.
After November 1962, all releases/discharges/transfers to reserve were held in abeyance. Service limits and basic qualifications for promotion to havildar except map reading standards were waived. The maximum age limit was fixed as 43 years for promotion of havildars of all categories to the rank of jemadar. A new rank structure for cipher JCOs was introduced, the proportion of subedar major, subedar and jemadar being 1:8:19 respectively. There were several relaxations in the policy for promotion to naiks and havildar and appointment of lance naiks. The duration of the ‘S’ course was reduced to eight weeks from sixteen weeks.17
In 1963 Government sanction was received for the introduction of a rank structure in the Foreman of Signals category, the proportion of subedar major, subedar and jemadar being 1:7:11. A rank structure was also approved for combatant clerks and storemen technical in the proportion given below:-
· JCO - 1 in 12.
· Havildar - 3 in 12.
· Naik - 3 in 12.
· Lance Naik - 1 in 12.
· Signalman - 4 in 12.
In 1964 a new category of JCO known as Yeoman of Signals was introduced in the Corps. The new category was to be responsible for the following:-
· Detailed training and supervision of all operating tradesmen;
· Control and supervision of signal centres including switchboards and telegraph circuits at all levels;
· Setting up and operation of radio networks and the operation of line and radio systems;
· Advice on all operating techniques and procedures and communication security.18
With the introduction of the new category, the appointment of Assistant Duty Signal Officer (ADSO), hitherto being performed by young officers, began to be filled by Yeoman of Signals. Though it relieved officers of a task that they had been doing in addition to their section and company responsibilities in units, many veterans felt that it had an adverse effect of the grounding of young officers in their formative years.
During the initial years after
, the state
of manpower showed a steady rise. However, it could not keep up with the
increase in requirements due to new raisings and deficiencies remained in some
critical categories. After the 1962 war, there was a sudden spurt in the
strength of personnel due to the large number of units that were raised. In
spite of increase in intake, it was sometime before the STCs could produce
enough trained personnel to fill the vacancies in the units, which remained at
low strength for several years. Augmentation in the strength took place after
the 1965 and 1971 wars also, but these
were not as pronounced as boost that
occurred after 1962, as can be seen from the figures given below, which show
the strength of the Corps at end of the year mentioned:- Independence
1950 1955 1960 1965 1972
JCOs 375 543 665 1967 2562
OR 14042 19286 22356 46041 65890
In 1946, shortly before
it had been proposed to change the trade structure in the Indian Signal Corps
and make it similar to that obtaining in Royal Signals. Certain trades such as
lineman and operator were to be split into three or four, indicating a higher
degree of specialization. In 1947, the
New Pay Code was introduced, in conformity with the new trade structure, which
was to be introduced by the end of 1947, by which time it was hoped that the
documentation and re-mustering would be completed. However, events overtook the
planned changes. The date of Partition and Independence was advanced from June 1948 to
August 1947, leaving very little time for the new trades to be effective. Independence
A comprehensive instruction giving the new trade structure of the Indian Signal Corps was issued vide Army Instruction 39/S/47 which became effective from 1 July 1947. According to this instruction some existing trades were redesignated while some new trades were introduced. It also laid down the method of carrying out trade tests and detailed qualifications for each trade and class. The trade structures approved vide Army Instruction 39/S/47 were as given below:-
Group New ISC Categories
A Foreman of Signals (VCO only)
B Clerk GD
C Draughtsman Signals
Operator Keyboard and Line
Operator Wireless and Keyboard
Operator Wireless and Line
D Carpenter and Joiner
Lineman Permanent Line
E Despatch Rider
Driver Special Vehicle
Store Hand Technical
G Bandsman/Bugler/Piper etc
Store Hand GD
H Blacksmith (Unit)
Equipment and Boot Repairer (Unit)
In 1951, based on the Corps of Signals Categories Revision Committee Report and on subsequent recommendations received from CSOs Command, it was decided to revise the existing technical standards of the certain trades in Group B and C. The categories affected were radio mechanic, line mechanic and telegraph mechanic (Group B); and operator keyboard and line and operator wireless and line (Group C). The reason for the revision was that the qualifications laid down for the various categories from the technical view point did not cater for a progressive advancement in the technical knowledge and functions of the respective categories. It was also felt that a more detailed version of the technical standards was needed in relation to the signal equipment policy of the Corps.
It was also decided to introduce a new category called ‘operator switchboard and line’ under Group C. This would be an additional category and the existing category of operator switchboard would be allowed to remain in its present form, as it will be required to fulfil the enhanced requirement of operator switchboard during war. During peace time, however, operator switchboard category would be held in suspended animation.
Another change proposed was the upgrading of operator wireless and keyboard (OWK) from Group C to Group B. The essential difference between an OWK and OWL was that the former was able receive Morse code on a keyboard typewriter. As the requirement of this category was very small, the provision of this trade was made in affected signal units by re-mustering OWL and OWK from the same group under AI 39/S/47. It had been found from experience that only an OWL/OKL Class 2 is suitable for re-mustering as OWK Class 3. It was felt that this category, owing to its requirement of higher standard of technical knowledge and operating ability, deserved to be placed in a higher group than those from which this category was re-mustered. An amendment was suggested to the existing qualifications laid down in AI 39/S/47 under class 2 of operator wireless and keyboard to include the stipulation:-“must be able to install, test, operate and perform operator’s maintenance of a 40 line teleprinter switchboard.”19
Army Instruction 171/53 laid down revised technical standards for operator wireless and keyboard, radio mechanics high power and low power, operator keyboard and line, operator switchboard and line, operator wireless and line and lineman permanent line. The operator wireless and keyboard was also shifted from Group ‘C’ to Group ‘B’ as proposed. Fitter signals was also subsequently redesignated as electrician fitter signals and shifted from Group ‘D’ to Group ‘C’.
There were some major changes in the trade structure after the 1962 war. In 1964 a new category of JCO known as Yeoman of Signals was introduced in the Corps. Selection of JCOs Yeoman of Signals was to be from NCOs of operator trades who had a minimum of 8 years service, holding the rank of naik or above and class 1 in their trades. The new category was to be in Group A.
Another change was the creation of a new category of ‘operator special’ in Group A, for employment in wireless experimental units under the Signals Intelligence Directorate. Personnel for the new category were to be recruited by remustering of volunteers from OWK and OWL, Class 2.
During the mid sixties the word wireless appearing in the designation of trades was changed to radio and accordingly the existing operator wireless and line (OWL) and operator wireless and keyboard (OWK) trades were redesignated as operator radio and line (ORL) and operator radio and keyboard (ORK) respectively.
Depot Regiment & Signals Records
The Indian Signals Depot and Records had come into being as separate entities in 1927, after being bifurcated from the Signal Training Battalion of the Signal Training Centre at
Jubbulpore. Both establishments were then commanded by
majors. During World War II, the ranks of the officers commanding were upgraded
to lieutenant colonel. At the end of the
war, a demoblisation centre had also been established. Hence, apart from the Signal Training Centre at Jubbulpore,
there were three establishments – the Indian Signals Depot; the Indian Signals
Demobilisation Centre and the Indian Signals Records, under the overall command
of the Commandant Indian Signal Depot & Records. In 1946, the
Commandant STC was Colonel L.C. Boyd, while Colonel R.T.H. Gelston commanded
the Indian Signal Depot & Records. The officers commanding the Indian
Signals Depot and the Indian Signals Records were Lieutenant Colonel E.W.
Anderson and Lieutenant Colonel C.M. MacDonald respectively. After the mutiny in February 1946, most of the
British officers were replaced by Indian officers.
the Demob Centre was merged with
the Depot and became the Depot and Demob Wing, Indian Signal Corps. The ranks
of the officers commanding the Depot and Demob Wing and the Indian Signals
Records were reduced and the command reverted to major. Independence
At the time of partition of the Indian Signal Corps in 1947, the Signals Records was also divided into Indian and Pakistan Signals Records. Once the division was completed, Pakistan Signal Records moved to
Until 1954, the Signals Records was headed by an officer either from the Corps
or a Civilian Gazetted Officer. After
the introduction of Special List (SL) officers, all Records began to be staffed
by officers of this cadre. The
designation of the head of the office was Senior Record Officer (SRO). Major
V.M. Anantharaman was the first Senior Record Officer of Signals Records who
took over on 1 July 1956. In 1962, this
appointment was upgraded and redesignated as Chief Records Officer (CRO), the
first incumbent being Lieutenant Colonel Makhan Singh. Pakistan
In July 1960, the Depot and Demob Wing unit was redesignated as Depot Company. After the raising of Nos. 2 and 3 STCs in 1963, a depot company was authorised to each of them. No. 3 STC was subsequently disbanded and in 1967, these three companies were re-organised as Depot Regiment, Corps of Signals, under the command of a lieutenant colonel. The first commanding officer of the regiment was Lieutenant Colonel G.D. Bhide.
When computers were introduced in the Army, one of the first establishments where it was introduced was Signals Records. In 1967, a pilot punched card machine (PCM) project was sanctioned by the Government for Signals Records to establish the viability of mechanized systems in the field of personnel management. The sanction was accorded on an experimental basis for a period of two years. The procurement and installation of the equipment was to be completed by September 1968. The project was implemented by IBM World Trade Corporation.20
The Corps of Signals was virtually transformed in the 25 year period between 1947 and 1972. In organisational terms, it grew from a small force of about a dozen units to almost a hundred. In terms of personnel, the strength increased from about 10,000 to over 65,000. The growth is dramatic when one considers it in relation to the total size of the Indian Army. Along with the growth in size, changes also occurred in the organisational structure. The types of units had multiplied, in keeping with the variety of roles that the Corps was asked to perform. The induction of new technology and communication techniques necessitated changes in the trade structure of the personnel and the level of their education and training. The Corps was able to fulfil its assigned role in all major operations undertaken by the Indian Army since
primarily because it was able to
carry out organisational changes and adapt itself to the ever changing demands
placed on it. Independence
The growth in organisations and manpower in the Corps from 1947 to 1972 are graphically shown below:-
ENDNOTES TO CHAPTER 9
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 inputs from officers. Specific references are given below:-
1. Review of Activities of the Corps of Signals, 7 October 1965. (This document was prepared under the directions of the then BSS, Brigadier I.D Verma, with the two-fold aim of maintaining a record of the developments and progress made during the four years from mid-1961 to mid-1965; and to have a comprehensive reference, which will be of value for future planning).
2. Personal account, Lt. Gen. Prakash Gokarn.
3. Personal account, Lt. Col. M. Sathesan
4. Personal account, Lt. Gen. M.S. Sodhi.
5. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 35 (October1955)
6. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 65 (January 1964)
7. Maj. Gen. V.K. Singh, Leadership in the Indian Army – Biographies of Twelve Soldiers,
, Sage, 2005, p. 208. New Delhi
8. Personal account, Col. M.K. Kotwal
9. Personal account, Col. B.V Shirali,
10. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 68 (February 1965)
11. Personal account, Col. T.N. Shreevastawa
12. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 9 (February 1949)
13. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 5 (June 1948)
14. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 9 (February 1949)
15 Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 19 (June 1951)
16. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 26 (July 1953)
17. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 61 (January 1963)
18. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 64 (October 1963)
19. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 19 (June 1951)
20. Corps of Signals Liaison Note No 80 (May 1968)