31 Signal Regiment - History

Our History

Although the name 705 (Hamilton) Communication Squadron is relatively new, the history of military signalling in Hamilton began over 85 years ago, when the 1st Wireless Detachment, CE was form in 1912. This was the only militia radio unit in the Canadian Army until the outbreak of World War I.

After the war, the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (which had first been established in 1903 as the Canadian Signalling Corps) established a Militia component (called the Canadian Corps of Signals) in 1920.A Hamilton company was formed, and was known as the 14th Company, 2nd Battalion, CCS. Its administrative headquarters was in Toronto, and the first CO of the Battalion was LCol Malloch, a native Hamiltonian.

The unit changed names many times, depending on how ambitious the War Department’s plans were for the Militia. The unit became an independent entity and was renamed to No 1 Company, 8th Divisional Signals, CCS on 1 April 1929. In April of 1936 the militia was granted the title “Royal”, thus now sharing the name of their standing army compatriots. Shortly after, as plans for mobilization were scaled back to better reflect reality, it was renamed to No 3 Company, “A” Corps RCCS in 1936.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the militia RCCS was mobilized and was assembled in Barriefield Camp, near Kingston Ontario. The Hamilton Contingent was led by Major H.D. Rice. In Barriefield, sections of the corps were detailed for attachment to Artillery regiments, companies allocated to Infantry Brigades and regiments assigned to Divisional Headquarters. The Corps served in every theatre of war, in base units, and also with formation in Canada. Meanwhile, back in Hamilton, the unit remained as a reserve Company for reinforcement and replacement purposes. Late in the war the unit was upgraded to a Regiment (1st Division Signals (Reserve) RCCS) with Headquarters and a company in Hamilton, and administrative control of two subordinate companies in London and Windsor, and a section under the London company in Stratford.

After the war the unit was re-named once again as 1 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment. As well, the British system of unit identification was implemented, so the subordinate companies and sections now became squadrons and troops.

Between 1945 and 1950 the War Department investigated how to organize the Militia in view of the lessons learnt from the W.W. II mobilization. Official policy became that Militia Signal units would be viewed as training units, and thus provide personnel on an individual basis as opposed to a complete unit during mobilization. Thus on 3 March 1950, the unit was reformed as the 1st Independent Signal Squadron. Shortly after that, a section of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) was recruited and became an efficient part of the Squadron.

Army, Naval and Air Force Communications Systems were combined in 1964 into one organization know as the Canadian Forces Communication System. With the advent of the integration of the Canadian Forces, the 1st Independent Signal Squadron came under command of the Army component (Force Mobile Command).

Command of 1st Independent Signal Squadron was transferred on 1 March 1974 from FMC to the Canadian Forces Communication Command. Being located within the geographical boundary of 70 Communication Group, it was assigned the title of 705 (Hamilton) Communication Squadron. This change brought in landline teletype as part of Squadron training. This changed also allowed the Squadron to request a unit crest, which was granted Royal approval October 1979, giving it the motto Excellentia in Opera.

On 1 February 1991, the unit took command of the Communication Detachment located at CFRB Hamilton, meaning that for the first time in the unit’s history it had full time civilian employees as part of its establishment. With the elimination of teletype from the communication system, the detachment was closed in July 1995.

In 1994, CFCC was replaced by the Defense Information System Organization (DISO) and the Squadron was transferred to it, where it still stays.

The unit has seen much change during its existence: from training with carrier pigeons, heliograph and telegraph to frequency hopping radios, satellite ground links and computer nets. The unit has gone from just preparing for war, to going on U.N. peace missions and aiding the country during disaster. However, no matter the task or what changes the future might bring, members of the unit will perform with the professionalism and ability that has been the hallmark of signals in Hamilton.

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