Royal Signals Watch

DANNY_ADL
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Hi I am looking to join the Royal Signals as signals installation technician or communication systems operator

I was just after a bit of advice if anyone has been or currently in the Signals

What is a general day like, either deployed out or not?

Does either of the two roles see combat? or are they more staying back roles? for example staying back at Camp Bastion fixing/maintaining systems or is it more going on patrol/operations?


Thank you, any advice would be appreciated
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Ikaruss
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(Original post by DANNY_ADL)
Hi I am looking to join the Royal Signals as signals installation technician or communication systems operator

I was just after a bit of advice if anyone has been or currently in the Signals

What is a general day like, either deployed out or not?

Does either of the two roles see combat? or are they more staying back roles? for example staying back at Camp Bastion fixing/maintaining systems or is it more going on patrol/operations?


Thank you, any advice would be appreciated
Danny, first things first. I'm not Signals so can't answer your questions about a daily routine. I have worked closely with them though. Mrs Ikky was previously married to a Signals officer and confirms the general maxim that they would be the first troops into a hostile zone and last out when the unpleasantness is all over. Another maxim which can be applied to all elements of the Armed Forces is that there is no such thing as a routine day, although, depending on your current posting you may have more homeland stability which looks like a 9-5 Mon-Fri existence - just don't bank on it though. Finally, the Armed Forces are now cut to the bone, so where there was often spare capacity and er, units in reserve, those days are long gone. You should therefore expect to be put in harms way whichever service you join. Some jobs are more risky than others, and certainly if you choose to join the Army, then you'll have a personal weapon and be expected to use it when necessary. I haven't seen any contributors to this TSR thread who appear to be Signals, so to get it from the horses mouth, you'll have to talk to Army Careers (see sticky above) and maybe see if you can get a famil visit to a Signals intensive barracks. I take it you've been through the Careers website http://www.army.mod.uk/signals/signals.aspx ?
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NFI
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(Original post by Ikaruss)
Mrs Ikky was previously married to a Signals officer and confirms the general maxim that they would be the first troops into a hostile zone and last out when the unpleasantness is all over.
Did she leave him because he was a liar? Because that is quite clearly a lie 😂
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DANNY_ADL
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(Original post by Ikaruss)
Danny, first things first. I'm not Signals so can't answer your questions about a daily routine. I have worked closely with them though. Mrs Ikky was previously married to a Signals officer and confirms the general maxim that they would be the first troops into a hostile zone and last out when the unpleasantness is all over. Another maxim which can be applied to all elements of the Armed Forces is that there is no such thing as a routine day, although, depending on your current posting you may have more homeland stability which looks like a 9-5 Mon-Fri existence - just don't bank on it though. Finally, the Armed Forces are now cut to the bone, so where there was often spare capacity and er, units in reserve, those days are long gone. You should therefore expect to be put in harms way whichever service you join. Some jobs are more risky than others, and certainly if you choose to join the Army, then you'll have a personal weapon and be expected to use it when necessary. I haven't seen any contributors to this TSR thread who appear to be Signals, so to get it from the horses mouth, you'll have to talk to Army Careers (see sticky above) and maybe see if you can get a famil visit to a Signals intensive barracks. I take it you've been through the Careers website http://www.army.mod.uk/signals/signals.aspx ?
Thank you for the reply, I am going to contact the careers tomorrow, monday - thanks again I appreciated the message, all the best
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DANNY_ADL
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(Original post by NFI)
Did she leave him because he was a liar? Because that is quite clearly a lie 😂
Hi thanks for the reply, so is it not true that Signals are first on/first off? thanks
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moonkatt
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(Original post by DANNY_ADL)
Hi thanks for the reply, so is it not true that Signals are first on/first off? thanks
No, it's the RLC chefs that are first in :ahee:

Spoiler:
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Think about it, as an installation tech, you're essentially a BT engineer for the army. Would you send a telephone engineer into a battlefield or an infantry soldier first
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Ikaruss
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In trying to help the OP I wasn't expecting to start a bun fight over which cap badge the first boots on the ground wears. It doesn't really matter except to people who enjoy a bit of willy waving! However, as a general rule in warfare, it's a good idea to prepare your battlespace before committing the main body of fighting troops. To do this you need enabling support services providing the logistics, infrastructure and comms which ensure your fighters have what they need to achieve the task. Hence why Engineers, Loggies and Signals are among the first to be mobilised to a theatre eg Iraq, Afghanistan to set up at the start and to pack up when your leader declares the war is over. Haha, LOL etc

However, post Iraq / Afg, the mass mobilisation of UK forces to a major conflict looks remote in the foreseeable future ( mainly because we haven't got many people any more) so the model of smaller, focused, specialist deployments to areas such as Iraq./ Syria seems more likely.

Danny, I can't work out from your post if you actually want to be in a combat zone, or sit at home base and be referred to as a REMF (ask NFI, I'm sure he'll happily explain!), but all I'm saying is it would be a gutsy move to join up expecting to do a decent and worthwhile technical job, in the hope you'll never have to face angry people who want to kill you.

Just something to think about.

Good luck for the future mate, I'm sure you'll choose wisely and set yourself up for a brilliant career in the forces and outside.
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Duncan2012
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Sappers are the first in. So they can build a bar.

But seriously, as the British Army seem unlikely to do any more war-fighting for a while (though I wait for events to prove me spectacularly wrong...) R Signals are likely to be manning and maintaining comms systems wherever larger formations are deployed. While you might be working 8-5 Mon-Fri in barracks, you could well find yourself out on patrol when you're on operations.

As well as the 'normal' regimental units there are Special Forces and Special Communications signals units which may be of interest to some.

OP - there's plenty of information available online, through the careers office and on ARRSE, but if you've got any specific questions post them here and maybe you'll get someone knowledgeable who can help you out. Good luck.

ex-RE officer
ex-R Signals (TA) officer
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NFI
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(Original post by Ikaruss)
However, as a general rule in warfare, it's a good idea to prepare your battlespace before committing the main body of fighting troops. To do this you need enabling support services providing the logistics, infrastructure and comms which ensure your fighters have what they need to achieve the task.
It's not willy waving, it's basic doctrine that the men and women of the Royal Signals are not sent in to seize and hold the ground...then set up the Paradigm network so they can put a Facebook status letting the infantry and armoured types know it's safe to come in.
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Ikaruss
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Mate, I'm not a pongo, so have little idea what doctrine you guys work to; however, from the R Sigs own careers website:

The Corps have spear-headed operations, including: Afghanistan, Iraq ,the Falkland Island campaign; peace-keeping in the Lebanon; the transition of Namibia to independence; and Operation Granby in the Gulf.

They have been deployed to East Timor, Kurdistan, the states of Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, the Sahara, Cambodia, Rwanda, Angola Zaire and Sierra Leone.

The Corps now moves into developing Information Warfare of the future.


I'm no expert on weaponry, but I always thought spear head was like at the front of the pointy thing. It could of course be that the Sigs are just blowing their own trumpet and are lying. They will be the masters of psyops after all

PS Hurrah for Paradigm. Their facilities facilitated me and the present Mrs Ikky getting together, despite the meagre bandwidth and patchy satellite footprint.
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moonkatt
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(Original post by Ikaruss)
Mate, I'm not a pongo, so have little idea what doctrine you guys work to; however, from the R Sigs own careers website:

The Corps have spear-headed operations, including: Afghanistan, Iraq ,the Falkland Island campaign; peace-keeping in the Lebanon; the transition of Namibia to independence; and Operation Granby in the Gulf.

They have been deployed to East Timor, Kurdistan, the states of Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, the Sahara, Cambodia, Rwanda, Angola Zaire and Sierra Leone.

The Corps now moves into developing Information Warfare of the future.

I'm no expert on weaponry, but I always thought spear head was like at the front of the pointy thing. It could of course be that the Sigs are just blowing their own trumpet and are lying. They will be the masters of psyops after all

PS Hurrah for Paradigm. Their facilities facilitated me and the present Mrs Ikky getting together, despite the meagre bandwidth and patchy satellite footprint.
I'm a former infantryman, who was in an armoured infantry regiment for the invasion of Iraq. Our signals platoon (that I was part of) provided the support and maintained the comms network for the battle group. We were at the front of the invasion, radio operators for the royal signals used to communicate with our rear echelon and would be further behind the with brigade HQ and div HQ. I've worked with the signals in the past and their radio operators like to think they're combat troops but they're usually a considerable distance from where the fighting is. (Talking from a conventional warfare perspective).

I've spent time working with installation techs in the past, they're basically green telephone engineers and tbf a pretty good job to go into as you're trained up and can walk into a pretty well paid job with BT on leaving the forces, same goes for technician roles (even more so if they've got riggers training). On reflection, while I had an awesome time in the infantry, I wish I'd been in a regiment that offered me a trade (I'm a nurse now and was offered QARANC when joining up).

DANNY_ADL , it all depends on what you want from an army career. LIke others have said, we're unlikely to see any major operations like Iraq or Afghanistan in the immediate future, however the army will take what it can from you, it's wise to go into a role you'll get something out of the army for the future. You won't be a squaddie your whole life, consider when you're on civvy street afterwards.
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Ikaruss
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Respect Moonkatt. You're obviously the sort of person the OP needs to speak to, although the way that UK Armed Forces operate now is almost certainly different from when we were both in our respective services. That's why I can't give up to date and relevant advice to wannabees, as their careers will be significantly different to mine.

My advice to anyone aspiring to a military career would be exactly as you've said ie look beyond life in uniform and work out where you want to be in 5 / 10 / 20 years time. Then use all the transferable skills the military will teach you, add in educational and/or vocational courses, and you'll be in a good place for the next chapter of your life. I've seen plenty of former junior ranks punch well above their weight in civvy street, where military rank counts for little, but actions, experience, self discipline and confidence will get you noticed.

To the OP , good luck buddy, have a great time in whatever service and branch you choose, but think of it more as a finishing school rather than as a job for life.
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MattPalgrave
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I'm ex R'Sigs and was deployed to Afghan twice and Iraq between both deployments to Afghan (Iraq 2003) As a battle field Com's specialist I can tell you i was deployed with some of the firsts on the ground and assigned to an American unit during my first deployment to Afghan for de-confliction purposes. "our comms didn't squark to theirs" so depending on your roll, deployment and what your good at depends on where you go and why (basically)
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Richard0328
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(Original post by NFI)
Did she leave him because he was a liar? Because that is quite clearly a lie 😂
nothing moves without communication so it is correct that the R Sigs goes in at the start and leaves last. We set up comms so that all the other groups can communicate over longer distances than their equipment would manage.
I am an ex TG op so I will answer the OP when I get home from work
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NFI
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(Original post by Richard0328)
nothing moves without communication so it is correct that the R Sigs goes in at the start and leaves last. We set up comms so that all the other groups can communicate over longer distances than their equipment would manage.
I am an ex TG op so I will answer the OP when I get home from work
Communications and the Royal Signals are not synonymous with each other. The infantry, armoured, artillery, engineers and logistics have their own signal trade streams. To say the Royal Signals go in first to set up the FEPs and get all the combat terminals running while the rest of the battle group is sat at the line of departure is a false representation of what the Corps does.
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Richard0328
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(Original post by NFI)
Communications and the Royal Signals are not synonymous with each other. The infantry, armoured, artillery, engineers and logistics have their own signal trade streams. To say the Royal Signals go in first to set up the FEPs and get all the combat terminals running while the rest of the battle group is sat at the line of departure is a false representation of what the Corps does.
are you somehow not seeing my profile picture?

a typical day in the life of a Signaller is similar to a normal job. in barracks we do work (reasonably) fixed hours but they are set by your unit. we worked from 0830 to 1630 with an hour for lunch plus a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon. the day is normally a parade to address any business that needs to be done then you go to work which is usually maintenance on vehicles and equipment. sometimes there are inspections (aside from the periodic inspections) or other jobs that need doing. clearing out stores for example. you do not always do your job and other departments (SQMS especially) will need some additional hands to shift equipment around. other than duties (guard etc) you would normally have the weekends to yourselves to go home or do whatever you want.

exercises do come round occasionally and they differ according to how big or small they are. a regimental level exercise would normally be 2 weeks out in the field (quite literally) where you would be given callsigns and practice your job to simulate an operational environment. my first unit was all landrovers and HGVs but my next unit was a division HQ and my squadron had the armoured vehicles which was a larger scale centralised unit rather than light vehicles being set up individually with 3 or 4 person crews. the two regiments that i served with had 3 squadrons of Signals personnel plus a 4th (HQ squadron) which were the support staff. REME, clerks, drivers, chefs etc all came under HQ squadron.

I am unable to comment on the current equipment since they switched to Bowman and it was Clansman when I served. I know landrovers are pretty much only TA now and I am assuming that the 40 year old AFV43 series tanks have now been replaced too. one thing to remember is that we do not attach to a regiment permanently like the Infantry do. we are posted to a unit for 3 years then move to a different unit for another 3 year posting. The Infantry stay together for the length of their service but not all corps do that.
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NFI
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(Original post by Richard0328)
are you somehow not seeing my profile picture?

a typical day in the life of a Signaller is similar to a normal job. in barracks we do work (reasonably) fixed hours but they are set by your unit. we worked from 0830 to 1630 with an hour for lunch plus a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon. the day is normally a parade to address any business that needs to be done then you go to work which is usually maintenance on vehicles and equipment. sometimes there are inspections (aside from the periodic inspections) or other jobs that need doing. clearing out stores for example. you do not always do your job and other departments (SQMS especially) will need some additional hands to shift equipment around. other than duties (guard etc) you would normally have the weekends to yourselves to go home or do whatever you want.

exercises do come round occasionally and they differ according to how big or small they are. a regimental level exercise would normally be 2 weeks out in the field (quite literally) where you would be given callsigns and practice your job to simulate an operational environment. my first unit was all landrovers and HGVs but my next unit was a division HQ and my squadron had the armoured vehicles which was a larger scale centralised unit rather than light vehicles being set up individually with 3 or 4 person crews. the two regiments that i served with had 3 squadrons of Signals personnel plus a 4th (HQ squadron) which were the support staff. REME, clerks, drivers, chefs etc all came under HQ squadron.

I am unable to comment on the current equipment since they switched to Bowman and it was Clansman when I served. I know landrovers are pretty much only TA now and I am assuming that the 40 year old AFV43 series tanks have now been replaced too. one thing to remember is that we do not attach to a regiment permanently like the Infantry do. we are posted to a unit for 3 years then move to a different unit for another 3 year posting. The Infantry stay together for the length of their service but not all corps do that.
My point was that the Royal Signals are not the first in...
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Richard0328
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I didn't say we were but we are one of the first in and one of the last to leave.

we are not combatants as such ie we do not patrol or seek out the enemy but we can be exposed to combat since our detachments can be on hilltops etc. There would be an HQ but there would also be outlying personnel on deployment.
another thing to note is that due to the nature of the job (passing information around) and the encryption equipment, you need to be vetted to Top Secret instead of Secret. Some criminal offences would prevent you from being cleared to that level.
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moonkatt
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Fire in last out lol.


I guess someone has to set up the rear echelon for the combat arms to talk to.
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moonkatt
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(Original post by NFI)
Communications and the Royal Signals are not synonymous with each other. The infantry, armoured, artillery, engineers and logistics have their own signal trade streams. To say the Royal Signals go in first to set up the FEPs and get all the combat terminals running while the rest of the battle group is sat at the line of departure is a false representation of what the Corps does.
Indeed. As an infantry signaller part if my job was doing the comms recces for my battle group and taking over as battle group main when they went mobile on the wacky races into Basra. We were working from Basra airport when brigade and div and their signals bods were still the other side of the Kuwaiti border.
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