J service, SIS, CMF

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

  1. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member


    Finding this quite an interesting topic!

    Take a look at this page:-


    Scroll down to VK4BB.

    If you read the bit underneath you will see that the two Belgium amateurs ONL362 and ONR357 (who appear on the 2DHV QSL card) are mentioned as being involved in illegal radio operations durng the Occupation. I'm not sure what the "QRA ONR357" on the QSL means, but it may be that 2DHV was hearing ONL362 and ONR357 working each other and giving them a signal report. If I was asked what ONL and ONR plus 3 numbers meant I would say Belgium SWLs, as opposed to transmitting stations, so if your relative heard them talking then probably they were operating illegally.

    "QRA" is a prosign for "what is your station name?" or "my station name is..." but amateurs sometime use the international Q-Code to mean other things, in this case I suspect "QRA ONR357" coud mean "when I heard you, you were in contact with ONR357". In the article, "QRA" is used again but this time I think it means "my operational situation" is 100% SWL, which may mean that he and his pal are no longer transmitting on the amateur bands and are short-wave listeners only. Given the connection of these two Belgiums with clandestine radio work and the restrictive attitude that the Belgium authorities had to hams for a while after WW2 (one ham I read about got 3 months jail for illegal radio in 1945) then maybe they felt it was time to hide their transmitters until better times came around.

    Did you inherit the 2DHV QSL card or was it an ebay find?

  2. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    A lot of schools had Army Cadet Force (later CCF?) units and they had their own radios, usually ex-army kit like the WS-12 and WS-19. Typically British, it was illegal to operate a radio without a licence but not illegal to own the equipment or use it for receiving only, so of course there was always that temptation to "fire it up"! I think the law has changed now.

  3. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    You're finding this fascinating ? You're not the only one ! i must say that last post/ link from you is stunning, ! What a great piece of information! The 1938 card did come from ebay but i'm pleased to say that it is in the hands of a family member in Canada.
    The Belgian plot thickens ! This makes my need to dig into why he was photographed wearing a Belgian navy uniform even stronger. I remember finding a reference to George being involved in radio work for the scout movement, could this be the second callsign? Although i'm pretty sure (not 100%) he was using G2DHV for that.
    As i mentioned to Mike, i've got a book on it's way with the history of J service in it which may shed a bit more light on things.

    Thanks both for such interesting posts.

  4. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member


    It's unlikely that he was issued with G3HEV for Scouting purposes; Scouts have a long association with ham radio but I think they use regular callsigns alloacted to HQ stations and a smaller local station would just use his/her own callsign. In the UK, amateur callsigns are personal, once you've reached the full licence your callsign will stay the same for life. It's fairly common for deceased amateurs to have their callsign re-issued to relatives or someone with a close relationship, like a respected club member's call being issued to the club in his memory.

    Do you know much about the travels your relative made on the Continent? Nowadays, due to EU and other agreements it's relatively easy to take a ham radio abroad and your callsign is simply adjusted for the country you're in, so G2DHV in Spain would be EA/G2DHV. However, in the post-40s getting a licence to operate in say Belgium would probably involve you in a bunch of paperwork, customs checks and a certain amount of suspicion from the local authorities, so the fact that your relative held several Continental calls implies he spent some time in each.

    Anyway, glad to hear this stuff is useful, it's a bit away from WW2 but glad to be able to help out.


  5. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Gents, i've just received a copy of the book 'History of 2 GHQ liaison regiment' by Asher Pirt about that particular Phantom regiment.It also contains the short history of J service in the Middle East which is pretty much as you said Mike. It turns out that 'SIS' in this context stands for ' Staff Information Service'. They were a small comms unit that operated at the front edge of the battlefield in N Africa monitoring the transmissions of Allied and Axis forces and provided a direct link , in 'real time' back to Army and Corps HQ. They bypassed the traditional radio net whch often became unworkable and allowed commanders to make timely decisions based on accurate updates. J service went to Sicily where it became apparent that they were duplicating roles with Phantom and the two merged under the Phantom organistaion. Interstingly, 'J' was formed after analysis of German signals capability during the Crete invasion where it was discovered that their monitoring of their own signals enabled them to be far more flexible and accurate in their decision making than the Allies.
    ash0212 likes this.
  6. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member


    OK on receiving the book and that it has confirmed what Mike has said. I've not read anything on Phantom so will Google them.

    I have a CD of wartime editions of "The T & R Bulletin", which was the house journal of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). From late 1939 they ran a monthly feature called "Khaki & Blue" which reported (censored) news of radio amateurs in military service. I scanned through a few editions and in December 1940 found:-

    "Sig G V Haylock 2DHV (Royal Signals) sends greetings to old friends in the Sidcup, Medway and Gravesend areas. He has met several ZL amateurs, whilst on active service. He would like to hear from G3OW and 2DOH via his home address, 28, Longlands Road, Sidcup, Kent."

    The interesting item there is "He has met several ZL amateurs....." "ZL" is, unsurprisingly, the country prefix for New Zealand, so perhaps your relative spent some time there during 39-40? More likely he was training with or stationed with New Zealanders.

    I will look through a few more magazines as the mood takes me and copy any finds t this thread.


  7. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thank you very much, i really appreciate your contribution. This is an interesting avenue to look into. It seems obvious from what you have found that George was a well travelled man. I wonder how much was military or how much was pleasure ?
    Does the article give any indication where he was located when he met the New Zealanders ?

  8. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member


    The entry I copied above from December 1940 is all there is. Really, I am surprised at the details the RSGB were allowed to print. There is quite a lot of info about the postings of their membership and although the magazines were members-only they do contain quite a lot of details that I would have thought the authorities wouldn't want known. I couldn't find any earlier mentions of his name in pre-Dec 1940 editions and although he does appear in later editions there's little information on what he was doing, the entries are more of a simple sending of regards to ham friends in the Services. I will continue looking for references to him post 1940 as the "Khaki and Blue" column has some interesting snippets from hams I have met or spoken to.

    Do you have George Haylock's service record? That is a possible source of where his postings took him. You mentioned J Service as being formed in 1942 and I believe New Zealanders were involved in the N African Campaign - but as early as 1940...?


  9. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member


    Follow-up entries for 2DHV in "Khaki & Blue":-

    June 1941 - probably in Ipswich area, looking for a couple of pals.

    Nov 1942 - "serving abroad". Report of loss of his brother B T Haylock on RAF operations over Germany and that brother had shared ham interests (so possibly was Wop/AG?).

    Dec 1942 Reported at Doolali, India. Enjoying all the fresh fruit not available back in the UK!

    Jan 1942 - Reported to be with Persia-Iraq Force, "under canvas in the wilds".

    Apr 1943 - In the "On Active Service" list there is a Lt. D W J Haylock RS listed, with a pre-war BRS number (BRS - "British Receivng Station"). Possible relation or maybe the officer you mentioned some time back?

    More if I find it,

  10. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Again, i thank you very much. I don't have George's army records yet, in my experience they take at the least a couple of months to get back (without the christmas period !). However your info has given me something to work on in the meantime.

    Some interesting leads in your last post, particularly the Indian connection, that's a new one that we never knew about. It's sad that he mentioned the loss of his brother Basil, i wonder how he dealt with that miles away from home? You're right Basil was indeed an AG on Wellington bombers. Would that have been a signals related role then?

    I think the last entry may be someone else, the initials don't match anyone i know.

  11. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    OK Mac, I have made a typo on the Indian location, it may be:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deolali_transit_camp I found another entry for George in the magazines, in Sept '43 he was probably in Tripoli as there's a mention of him setting up a servicemen's radio club and by Jan '44 it had 45 members. Can't help with the RAF ranks but I've a feeling that the gunnery role was dropped from Wireless Operator/Airgunner and W/Os just did radio, mainly due to the increased complexity of the radio installations the heavier bombers carried later in the war. Looking forward to see what you uncover in the service records. Regards '610E
  12. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Just reading operation victory by Maj. Gen. De Guingand, Montys chief of staff.
    He gives a brief paragraph on J service, a means of quickly and accuratly gathering info from the front line and passing it back to corp and army HQs.
    It was formed in Aug. 1942 and perfected in time for the Alamein battles.
    He gives credit for the development of J service to his GSO1 Operations, Brig. Mainwaring. He also says it was similar to but developed separately from Phantom.
  13. muir

    muir Junior Member

    You must remember that a lot amatuers disapeard into a black hole in 1939.
  14. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Hello Mac,

    Did the service record for your relative ever turn up?


  15. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Sorry for the delay, still waiting i'm afraid !!
  16. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Sorry for the delay, still waiting i'm afraid !!

    At last, the records have arrived. There is a lot i still need to research but below is a brief summary of George's service -

    Enlisted 16/10/1939 - joined The Essex regiment.
    01/02/40 - transferred to Royal Signals, 1st London division.
    ?/07/41 - 56 London division signals.
    24/08/42 - Embarked UK.
    26/08/42 - Posted to PAIFORCE (Persia And Iraq Force)
    01/11/42 - Disembarked Iraq.
    3-5/06/43 - Admitted to hospital, 214 Field ambulance.
    10-18/10/43 - To 8th Army signals. (8th Army commonly known as 'The Desert rats').
    15/11/43 - J service section, Royal Signals.
    20/11/43 - J Squadron (North Africa). Unit re-designated.
    09/02/44 - J Squadron (8th Army). Unit re-designated.
    16/06/44 - No 1, J Squadron (Allied Army Italy). Unit re-designated.
    12/10/44 - To UK for 'A' course.
    25/10/44- To Thirsk, Yorkshire, Depot battalion.
    25/11/44- To 3 TT battalion, UK.
    09/03/45 - To Depot battalion, R Signals.
    21/03/45 - To 2 O.T. battalion, Thirsk.
    31/03 - 14/04/45 - To CRS, ??? barracks, Harborough (i think).
    17/08/45 - To 47 Division signals, UK
    19/?/45 - To 61 Division signals, UK.
    19/11/45 - 141 Field regiment (signals section), Royal Artillery - Italy.
    08/12/45 - 11 Line of Communication signals, Italy.
    29/04/46- Discharged, Italy.

    He qualified as a wireless operator B3, B2 and E. I know what B3 and 2 are but not E ?

    I'm still intrigued as to his Belgium connection, of which there is no mention, and need to research that further. I'm also intrigued by the mention of mutiple call signs mentioned by '610E. Could they have been military callsigns allocated personally for military purposes ?

    Plenty more digging to do !

  17. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Hello again, Mac.

    Can't help much with the postings and I'm not clued-up on trades and their abbreviations but it does look as though George wasn't in the countries you listed as a serviceman postwar, having been discharged in 46. I don't know if his place of discharge is significant? I would have expected a serviceman to be returned to the UK for discharge but maybe he took his in Italy for personal reasons?

    Coming back to your query about the callsigns, I think servicemen wanting to operate ham radio stations from abroad had to get permission from their CO or possibly a senior RS officer and usually the local authorities as well. In occupied countries they might get a special callsign issued to them by the British military powers but in other countries it's more likely they would get a temporary callsign issued by the local Posts and Telecoms people. I have a Kew document file that covers Army Council Rulings on amateur radio operation, it covers a wide range of topics up to the middle of the Cold War and I will see if there's anything relating to the callsigns George declared in his RS magazine note, which you posted earlier in this thread.


  18. rlyoun3910

    rlyoun3910 New Member

    It's been a couple years now, but has there been any further discussions regarding J Service/Phantom?
    ash0212 likes this.
  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Interesting thread. I have a good practical account of what kind of business these chaps got up to - from Brig. Mainwaring himself, no less (fabulous book, painfully hard to find):

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    ash0212 and 4jonboy like this.

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