Telegraph Tp & Boer War
ROYAL ENGINEERS SIGNALS
The Formation of C Telegraph Troop
In 1870 C Telegraph Troop, Royal Engineers was formed. The troop used land-speed morse sounders and recorders as well as the high-speed Wheatstone auto system.
It kept the Headquarters of an advancing force in contact with its base by laying insulated telegraph cables along the line of advance. Some of these signal systems can be viewed in the Museum including the original Wheatstone transmitter which is still in use today.
Colonial Wars 1879-1899
C Telegraph Troop first saw active service in the Zulu War of 1879. In the Egyptian campaign of 1882 the unit laid cable in no-mans land to guide advancing British troops and later sent the first victory signal ever to come direct from a battlefield.
In 1884 C Troop became 2nd Division the Telegraph Battalion. It supplied sections for the Bechuanaland, Nile and Suakin expeditions. The signallers became highly skilled operators and in one night during the Nile expedition one telegraph office handled 550 messages.
During the 4th Ashanti War 1895-96, members of the detachment reached the enemy’s capital and later their Commander was presented with the Ashanti King’s chair to commemorate the detachments excellent service. The original chair can be seen on display within the Museum along with various artefacts brought back from the Colonial Wars including a Zulu spear brought back from the War of 1879 and a Dongola Clock from the Nile Expedition in 1884.