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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Solely About "Sigs"

Solely About "Sigs".

A pre-war impression of the signaller was that of a person whose duty was to select a conspicuous hill, erect a station upon it, and provide "Abdul" with an excellent target, and incidentally the casualty list with an addition to the "Killed in Action" column. Actual experience has enlightened many of us on this subject, and the following are my impressions, after a couple of years in a unit of the Signal Service.

As a trooper in a Light Horse Regiment, I looked on the signaller with eyes of envy and admiration. I envied him for the fact that he appeared to be ever ready with a reason for not doing picquet; I admired him because, when working a helio, he eloquently and vividly discussed the signaller at the other end; expatiating upon the qualities so evidently wanting on the other station, referring to the lamentable lack of training some signallers exhibit, and generally introducing colour and force into his remarks. The Signal Service has it particular phases and the following are common ones:—

A visual station consists of three men, mercilessly laden with equipment, and supposed to be able to read anything, from a flash of sun on a biscuit-tin to the dusting of a blanket by an energetic trooper. Some signallers prove themselves capable of rising to this emergency. I once knew a message containing such words as "patrols" and "wad is" flashed from a fantassy on a camel; as it was read by a signalling sergeant, no notice was taken.

D.S. is something that happens to a telegraph line when the receiving operator, like Homer, nods. It usually results in a long ride for a linesman, and a rude awakening for an operator.

Reversed signals occur when an operator gets overboard.

Fullerphone—Sorry, I can't do justice to this, without making the Censor work overtime.

Commutator is an instrument by means of which A, wishing to speak to C, is connected to B, who requests that he be put on to D, who orders C off the line. This sounds like Algebra, but it's nothing so simple, it's the working of a COMMUTATOR.

Cable waggons reel of cable that is useful if you are short of a head-rope or material for fastening your bivvy together. On a cable waggon are sappers, on the horses are drivers. The sappers have unprintable opinions of the drivers, and the roads they choose, and if a driver were permitted to "deal with" every one that annoyed him, the waggon would be a brakesman and odd sappers short.

In conclusion, let us consider the part signalling has in warfare. It makes coordinate action possible in an army, that without communications would soon resolve itself into so many groups acting independently, and without unity of action; a state of affairs impossible in a victorious army.