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Fort Lytton Historical Association

Special Signals Display

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Author's Notes

Author Jim Meehan with sons Geoff and Steve at Fort LyttonThe author of this website, Jim Meehan, wishes to thank the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service for providing an area to display various Signals equipment as used in Fort Lytton from the 1880s until 1963 when the property was sold to Ampol. I have waited 15 years for this to happen and I am very pleased that at last it is a reality and we have the basis of an excellent display.

Please visit our Links page to find out more about Fort Lytton on the QPWS website, as well as links to other useful information about Fort Lytton and the role of Signals.

Many thanks are extended to Peter Dunn for hosting this web site on his "Australia @ War" web site. This benefits not only the museum but all the people who visit the site and learn something of the history of the area and the part played by Signals and Artillery from the Boer War until 1963.

Author's Association with Army Signals.

View of the fort in 1952My interest in Signals began after I completed my Rookies' training in 1948 at Greta, N.S.W. and was posted to School of Signals at Balcombe, Victoria in the middle of winter with wind ripping through the bayonet holes in the corrugated iron walls of our hut.

After learning all about telephones, Morse code to 16-24 words per minute, laying cables, and operating various wireless sets, we were posted to 1 Line Troop. Here we set about constructing a permanent overhead line between the transmitters at Diggers Rest and the receivers at Rockbank. Talk about being thrown to the lions or the blind leading the blind, but we made it.

As seasoned Signalmen or "Sigos" we were now sent to the Woomera rocket range after signing our life away and formed the new 1 Line Construction Project Squadron to build the best carrier line ever in Australia, and it did work a treat eventually. It was a shame that one of the rockets had to be terminated or malfunctioned and melted about 5 kilometers of our special work.

Many of us were then posted to the new 1 Signal Project Squadron and proceeded to refurbish all the old wartime aerials on Australia's east coast from Melbourne to Fort Lytton.There we spent about 5 months living on Signal Hill but did not know of the significance of the Signals training area which was set up on the transmitter hill and down on the flats. Subsequently when I joined Fort Lytton's uniformed guides in 1989, I gathered information on the wartime activities at Lytton and learned more and more about the role of Sigs. It was then that I realised just how many men were trained here, over 1000 at a time, and then posted to units all over the world.

See also the page on this site devoted to the role of Signals at Lytton for the use of pigeons there.

It was not only men in Signals at Lytton - many A.W.A.S. were trained in operating all the various wirelesses, despatch riding, the teleprinter, switchboard and other Signal centre tape work. In May 1945 A.W.A.S. were allowed in New Guinea and this permitted more men to go to the front. Most women preferred to wear Signals badges and this led to some words at times.

Sigs in a Japanese tank, Rabaul, New GuineaAfter a stint of hard and boring work re-drumming underground cable at 1 base Signal Park, Kingswood, N.S.W., we went overseas for the first time, to New Guinea to repair and replace all aerials for the 3BZ teleradios of the P.N.G.V.R.* soldiers . These old radios required an absolute 13.2 volts power supply - often no transmission could be made unless it was exactly 13.2 volts. It was amazing the amount of military junk that was still around 10 years after the war.

Signals soldiers in the Korean WarA cadre of 1 S.P.S. was sent to B.C.O.F. at Kure Japan for 6 weeks training before flying to Korea as part of B.C.F.K.* peacekeeping duties. As a line corporal I was tasked with designing an overhead line from Inchon to Seoul and had 25 Katcoms (Korean Army soldiers) to do the laboring for me. All went well off the roads but as soon as we connected with the existing American telephone line we ran into trouble. On any bend in the line the civilians would cut the stay wires with rocks or pliers they stole and the whole line with about 100 D8 cable pairs etc all came down. We had a riot on our hands until I told our troops to cut all cables and clear out before they stole all our tools, cable and even the truck itself .

After returning to Australia and a bout of malaria I was posted to 1 Antenna Construction Troop, located at Bringelly E-Comd., N.S.W., to start a brand new antenna farm. So after 12 years of fearless canteen service and eating my own and other countries' dust I finally quit; yet somehow I'm still in the same business as though nothing much has changed, except I'm now a lot older and the equipment is a lot newer.

The Special Signals Display was officially opened by the Colonel Commandant, Lt Col Willoughby in November 2004, during Signals week.

Abbreviations used on this page: 

* P.N.G.V.R. = Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles.
** B.C.F.K. = British Commonwealth Forces - Korea



Site last updated 16 March 2013

This site is dedicated to those soldiers who trained at Lytton and gave their lives for our freedom .

  2007 Fort Lytton Historical Association
Fort Lytton Historical Association and Fort Lytton Signals Display accept responsibility for all information provided in these pages
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