J service, SIS, CMF

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by mac657, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Hello all, i've just found a bit of information regarding a relative of mine and his wartime service. He comes from a Royal Signals background and one of his units listed is 'J service, SIS, CMF'.

    Now i know what SIS and CMF stand for but has anybody heard of 'J service' ? I can't seem to find anything about them.

    Many thanks,

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    J service could mean 'Jedburgh' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Jedburgh - check this out on google - search for 'jedburgh teams'

    They were affiliated to SOE/SIS/OSS etc

    If you post his name, number, regiment etc we might be able to find out more about him - if you wish

  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Since there have been few replies I offer the following.

    I know little about units outside 21 Army Group but Phantom employed 'J' Patrols in its squadrons. They were listening and intelligence units. They listened to transmissions from own forces, especially armoured divisions, and reported back to whichever higher formation they were attached to. This allowed commanders to receive intelligence about own and enemy forces much more quickly than would otherwise be the case. It also allowed the intelligence officers with the patrol to select information which would be of interest to the commander.

    Details of 'J' service activities in 21 Army Group can be found in the 21 Army Group section of this forum. Look under RAC/Phantom since Phantom was an RAC unit rather than signals.

    I know there was a similar 'J' organisation in 8th Army but know no details.

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Another thread on the same subject. I've posted some info on your other thread.
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I find that 'J' service was formed in N. Africa to listen in to armoured formation wireless nets. They seem to have been formed in autumn 1942 and were used at El Alamein. Never a large organisation they seem to have had only two 3 ton signals lorries, each with four receivers, plus two transmitter trucks. By the end of the campaign they had twelve receivers and were using some smaller vehicles.

    Since the role of 'J' Service was complementary to that of Phantom the two were merged later in the war.

  6. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Mike, thank you very much for that information. I posted in the R Sigs forum as it was a bit quiet on this forum and i thought that one was more suitable, maybe they could be merged ? I was heading down the wrong track thinking that the 'J' may have been wrongly transcribed but thanks to you it seems that 'J service' was in fact correct all along. Your information is particularly helpful as it relates to the theatre (CMF) my relative was posted to. Although, he still has a strong Belgian connection that i need to bottom out, what with the radio transmission document and Belgian navy photo ? I know that the original Phantom units used the Belgian forces as a cover in occupied europe so that is probably the obvious answer !

  7. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Well Mike, i took your advice and checked the 21st Army group forum and would you believe it.....there he is named !!!!!
    Signals Officer.
    The Signals Officer was Major Haylock and he was responsible for the coordination of communications, for the Liaison Officers and eventually for GHQ Liaison personnel at Tactical Headquarters."

    ........conclusive proof !

    I am absolutely gobsmacked.
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    Glad you found it helpful.

    Re the Belgian connection. Could this be the Hopkinson Mission/No 11 Mission of 1940. This was a forerunner of Phantom. Its main purpose was to liaise with the Belgian Army and find out where forward troops were. This information was particularly needed to avoid the RAF bombing own troops. Wireless intercept was not used at the time. I can look into this when time allows. Bit busy this weekend.

    Not sure but could SIS be Signals Intercept Service rather than MI6.

    Finally a useful book if you can find it. 'Phantom was There'. RJT Hills. Written in 1951 by one who served in Phantom. It includes the Hopkinson Mission and the MEF 'J' Service.

  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I have found my own reference to Major Haylock. I have been looking in Phantom/GHQ Liaison Regiment but he is mentioned in 21 Army Group Tactical Headquarters. This was a small and handpicked headquarters so Major Haylock must have been good at his job. Montgomery had no idiots at this headquarters and being responsible for the elite Liaison Officers and Phantom puts him right at the heart of matters.

    My information is not from a published source but from Geoff Lacey who was a great Monty fan. I have not heard from him recently.


    Of course if he was good Monty would have taken him with him from 8th Army to 21 Army Group. Many of Montys staff had been with him since the desert days.
  10. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Mike, thanks again. I have just ordered a book 'phantom at war' but will look for the one you've mentioned due to the 'J service' mention.
    Firstly, it looks like i've jumped the gun a bit with 'Major Haylock'. After a bit of digging this is not my relative. Mine is in fact 'George V Haylock' what's the chances of that eh ?
    I've attached his details lifted from a Royal Signals newsletter from 1969 to see if anyone has any thoughts pending receipt of his army records.
    I thought the same re. the Belgian connection. It may be coincidence but add in the Phantom/J service connection and it goes around in a circle ! Why would he be transmitting to the Belgians in 1938 ? Was it a hobby or was he paving the way for deployment ? Also, why is he photographed wearing Belgian navy uniform ? Was it really swapped for a joke or was it a cover story ?
    You could be onto something regarding SIS. I can't believe that anybody working for the 'real-SIS' would be so slap-dash to advertise it like that. Was the Signals Intercept Service a recognised arm/unit ? Or are you thinking more along the lines of 'Y' service, ?

  11. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Extract attached from Royal Signals newsletter 1969.
  12. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Take two !!!!

    Attached Files:

  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Pity it was not your relative. If it was that easy it would not be fun.

    I take it that the serials, PA9 DHV etc., are amateur wireless station identifiers. In the 1930s amateurs had to buy a licence, pass a test in theory and Morse and be allocated a transmission frequency and call sign. Since your relative has several call signs perhaps he had several frequencies.

    Difficult to imagine now, when one can call anyone, anywhere in the world, on a small mobile handset, but searching the airwaves in hope of finding a transmission from such an exotic place as Belgium was a popular hobby. On the outbreak of war transmitters had to be handed in but receivers could be kept and used.

    Such a wireless amateur would be a natural candidate for a listening unit.

  14. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    His amateur radio interest probably went back well before WWII, as the "G2DHV" at the start of the entry is what was called an "Artificial Aerial" callsign issed to under 21 year old experimenters pre-war who were allowed to build and test transmitters but not actually go on the sir with them, a peculiarly British requirement. The other callsigns listed are for Holland, Belgium, W. Germany, UK, France and Monaco, so he got around! His access to amateur frequencies would vary depending on the rules and regs of the country he was in at the time but generally amateurs have access to large chunks of spectrum, usually only exceeded by the military.

    Not very relevant to J Force but a bit of background.
  15. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

  16. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thank you very much for this. I've just bought it ! I had actually been looking recently as i already have a copy of a previous QSL card from 1938 which i'll post here. I appreciate the background sigs info which is exactly what i've been looking for to try and gain an insight into theat world andwhere George would have featured. Please feel free to contribute more, it's great to hear.
  17. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Mike, i have actually found out a bit more about J service. They were indeed a signals unit in the middle east monitoring friendly comms. They were deployed to Sicily where they were absorbed into Phantom/GHQ liaison. The Americans particularly liked J service and set up their own version called 'Signal, Intelligence and Monitoring'.
    I do have a history of 2 GHQ and J service by Asher Pirt on order. " GHQ was the battalion/regiment that operated in the middle east and Italy that took over J service.

  18. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    1938 QSL card to Belgium, if anyone can add any info i would greatly appreciate it.



    Attached Files:

  19. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Hello Mac,

    I just managed to draft a reply to this and then promptly lost it before posting! Here goes for a second try!

    To digress a little from the military side, the callsign 2DHV on the card sent to Belgium is that of an "Artificial Aerial" licence (AA) and, as I mentioned above, AA permits didn't allow transmitting so your relative was a short-wave listener in 1938, a good apprenticeship for a RS operator. The AA callsigns were in the sequence 2AAA-2ZZZ but only reached to around 2HAA before the government revoked all amateur licences in Sept 1939, as Trux mentioned.

    After WW2, when licences were re-issued and qualifications formalised to take account of military training and experience, 2DHV automatically become a full transmitting callsign, with the addition of "G" for the country ID, hence G2DHV. New post-war callsigns were in the sequence G3AAA-G3ZZZ, lasting until the late 1960s. I'm intrigued that your relative also held G3HEV at some point, as it was (and still is I believe) very unusual for a person to have two UK callsigns of the same class, maybe it was the callsign for a club or organisation that he held on ther behalf?

    One interesting thing about the post-war QSL card is the equipment used. The transmitter was obviously home-made with two valves but the receiver was a "B2", a now famous "suitcase" transmitter/receiver used by SOE and others. They were common post-war on the surplus market so I don't see any connection with his military background. Finally, the post-war contact was with your relative operating from Wales, hence the "GW" handwritten on the card, as the licence requires a prefix change to indicate the area of operation, e.g. GW for Wales, GM for Scotland, etc.

    Hope this provides a bit more background and glad you were able to buy the QSL card to add to the family history. Radio amateurs on all sides played an important part in WW2 and there is quite a fund of info on the Net, on subjects like the Voluntary Interceptors.

    73, (best regards) :)

  20. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    There was a lot of army surplus wireless equipment available after the war. When I was at school in the 1950s most of the science sixth form had their own sets either made or modified using surplus parts. I don't think they bothered with licences and were known to use GPO telephone lines as aerials. A Very Bad Thing. My neighbour used a Canadian No9 set as a receiver at home. Better than most commercial products I would think.


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