Kiwi Div Sigs

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by signalmansdaughter, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Hello Everyone, my father left NZ in December 1942 on the Aquitania. He trained in Egypt at Maadi Camp and joined NZ Div Sigs. He travelled to Bari, Italy with the vehicles and spent the rest of the war working as a signalman with B (cable) section.
    Are there any Kiwis that can answer a few questions about signals. Dad died 35 years ago, before I wanted to know about his war service.
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    That would place your father at Monte Cassino if he was in 2 NZ Div.

  3. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Hi Signalmansdaughter,

    Welcome to the site, it is always good see another Kiwi join up.
    If you weren't already aware the Official Histories are all online and there is one for Division Signals.
    If you go to the right hand side you will see the search field. Select 'this document' from the drop down arrow next to the search button and if you would like you can search for your father's name (probably best to use his surname as they are always refereed to by that). Hope this at least gives you somewhere to start.
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    the NZ Division entered Italy in time for the Moro River battles and the Sangro before Cassino but what you should do is get his

    service records from Glasgow - that will tell you all you want to know…

  5. Thank you for these posts. I can find out from the Div Sigs Diary where he was, but there are a few things about his job I dont understand.
    For example, why did he have to learn the phonetic alphabet?
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The phonetic alphabet was used in order to have everyone using the same words in the same way - cutting out all dialects, and slang….the most famous example

    was the WW1 instruction of ' send reinforcements we are going to advance"…finished up as " send three and fourpence - we are going to a dance '

    cuts out a lot of trouble…

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Tom , NZ service records wouldnt be at Glasgow .
    They'd be in NZ.
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    soon as I sent it..knew it was wrong - and someone was sure to point it out - so you get first prize…

  9. Thank you Tom. I laughed a lot about your example!
  10. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    Nothing special about the phonetic alphabet, it is fundamental to voice procedure, and even more important in WW2 when HF radios were the norm and voice quality often poor, and line circuits were probably often not much better. We're not talking mobile tellingbones here!
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Would disagree with you on the Phonetic Alphabets importance as we had to change it when the Americans showed up in 1942 - just in case there were difficulties

    with speech…

  12. How much would be speech and how much morse code?
  13. Thank you Andy. I had a look at that but they dont put names in unless the person died. Can I have a bit of your history please?
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Tom , there is an 'edit' button. ;)
  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    NOW you tell me …didn't want to spoil your fun

  16. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    In the past century UK has used four different phonetic alphabets, WW2 using the 2nd and 3rd.

    Percentage of voice and CW is a tricky one and I doubt if anyone knows. In RA the operators did a 30 week course and could change very easily from one to the other, other parts of the army were not as well trained. I suspect voice was used until conditions prevented it, conditions being both atmospheric and distance.
  17. At Cassino Dad was looking after a line that was 100 miles long. Would that have only been used for Morse do you think?
  18. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    No that would have been for voice. Morse tended to be used at night when HF was at its most challenging.

    Cassino was quite unique from a NZ point of view. Bernard Freyberg, as commander 2 NZ Div was pushed up to command II (NZ) Corps which consisted of 2 NZ Div, 4 Indian Div and 78 British Inf Div.

    The problem was that the staff to run II (NZ) Corps came from 2 NZ Div so had two jobs - running Corps and running 2 NZ Div. That would explain why your father's line was 100 miles. It would have linked HQ II (NZ) Corps with HQ US Fifth Army at Caserta which is half way to Naples.

  19. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    Telegraph and telephony could both be used over line. Not sure if distance limited the use of telephony, but I suspect not if the line was a pair, but the cable grade may have been an issue, I'd guess use of an earth return might have limited telephony distance but am not sure.
  20. Thank you for this information.

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