RCCS Living History

The Toronto Garrison Officers’ Ball is proud of our nation’s military history. A key component of this history is the ability to communicate “orders” in a strategic and timely fashion – enter the Signaller! Since 1907, today’s 32 Signal Regiment, which perpetuates the 2nd Signalling Company, 2nd Signal Regiment, 8th Signal Regiment, Toronto Signals Regiment, 709 (Toronto) Communication Regiment and 700 Communication Squadron, is pleased to provide guests of the Ball an opportunity to witness firsthand the “Signaller from yesterday to today” in the great hall of the Allstream Centre. Below is a message from The ‘Vintage’ Signals Team, who will bring you back 100 years to the battlefields of World War I.
vintageAbout The ‘Vintage’ Signals Team

The bright flash of a Signals Mirror across the pock-marked mud of a Flanders Field; a warship’s brightly coloured Signal Flags, whipping on the mast ,as it crashes through the frozen icy sleet of an Atlantic storm – both of these statements evoke a vision of “how it was done”. These and many other stories are brought to life and preserved in our memories by the volunteer members of The Vintage Signals Team.

Experience how Canada’s Navy and Army relayed messages long before the advent of computers and satellites. Come and discover how to send a message over 70 miles without using electricity. Try our ‘Morse Code Challenge’, or learn how to use a Heliograph “in the trenches”. Experience using Magneto Phones, or learn how to work a Field Switchboard, send a message by Naval Semaphore or a Signal Light. Our uniformed volunteers are always ready to help you discover what it’s like to be a “Signaller” from the past.

At The Vintage Signals Team, we find and share stories about Canada’s Signallers, of coded messages during the ‘Siege of Ladysmith’; of the brave Signals Linemen at Hill 60 on Vimy Ridge; the amazing story of the ‘Enigma’ Machine and the great D-Day deception plan. We work closely with Veterans, and their families, to collect and research the Veterans’ memories and record interviews. We commemorate and share such stories of Dispatch Riders during the CAEN and the SHELDT campaigns; or, the WREN who was “a secret listener”, engaged in fighting the war against the U boats in the Battle of the Atlantic by listening and communicating the “signals” from the sea.

We honour and share their stories. Alas, as our Veterans age they are passing away. Before history is lost for all time, we continue to perform interview and research the stories. To keep up with the pace, we could always use more volunteer interviewers and researchers…would you like to help?

The Vintage Signals Team visits schools and attends community events to share the proud legacy of Canada’s military Communicators. We work with schools, event co-ordinators, or groups that we visit, to provide a ‘hands on’ learning experience, for participants who gain a familiarity of our vintage Signals equipment, providing a historical overview through the retelling of factual stories and personal interaction to make the whole experience truly come alive. To find out more, please visit us at www.hamiltonsignals.com or www.hmcshaida.com .

The Hamilton Signals Association also lends supports our Veterans, serving Reservists, and their families, by providing a support system where “official” help may unable to reach. Whether it is helping Veterans and their families handle life changes; or, to be recognized and receive honours such as the French Legion of Honour; or, to provide professional advice for serving Reservists to make informed choices, find employment, or providing a final military presence to honour a Veteran’s funeral, our volunteers work to fill the gap. And, we continue to provide assistance until the member, or the family, says that our assistance is no longer required. This service is private and confidential. For further information please visit us at www.hamiltonsignals.com.

The Vintage Signals Team is proudly presented by The Hamilton Signals Association and the Friends of HMCS HAIDA, both Canadian registered charities. Our membership is composed of unpaid volunteers who wish to serve those who have served Canada. Donations are graciously accepted to support our programmes and are solely used to maintain our equipment and provide support services.