Glossop Heritage Trust

WW2 The Royal Signals - Glossop's own regiment

Members of Glossop's own Royal Signals regiment served in France in 1939/40, some returning by Dunkirk and others by the west coast of France. The unit (two McMylor brothers among them) was represented on the Lancastria, sunk by enemy air attack on 17th June 1940 off St Nazaire (with the loss of over 4000 lives). Fortunately the McMylor brothers survived and got back. One section was sent into Calais days before its fall on 26th May 1940, Leslie Wright being one of the last of the British troops to be evacuated. Members of the unit also served with the 1st Army in North Africa and Italy, providing vital support for the 8th Army, and within the UK.

Opening of the TA Centre, Dinting, July 1939 Opening of the TA Centre, Dinting, July 1939.

15 TM Section of Signals, 1940.
The handwritten caption on the border of the original photo says "15 TM Section of Signals, Minley Manor, Hampshire, 1940" with a note "Some local lads".
Fourth from the right on the middle row, is Signalman Noel F.Hadfield.
15TM Section of Signals, 1940

The article below has been reproduced by kind permission of Ian Kelly

No.2 Squadron, 42nd (Lancashire) Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment, TA.

Dinting Lane, Glossop.

In the early part of 1939 when the Territorial army was being duplicated, the Derbyshire Territorial Army Association decided to form the duplicate or 'second-line' unit of Signals in North Derbyshire with Headquarters at Glossop. This was initially known as the second line, North Midland Corps Signals.

Colonel GJ Underwood TD was asked to form the unit by Brigadier GD Goodman, Chairman of the Derbyshire Territorial Association. He was well qualified having recently relinquished command of the parent North Midland Corps Signals unit.

In order to assist the formation of this new unit, No.2 Company of the parent unit was affiliated, their Headquarters being at Chesterfield. An officer of the parent unit, Captain AK Hazlehurst from Derby was granted a full-time Temporary Commission as Adjutant.

In April 1939, Brigadier Sir Godfrey Goodman (Chairman) and Brigadier RJ Wilkins (Secretary) of Derbyshire Territorial Army Association and Colonel Underwood visited Glossop and had an interview with the Mayor, Alderman R Sellars JP to discuss formation of the unit. The welcome with which they were received foreshadowed the tremendous help that they were given by the Corporation and the Borough. The Borough Surveyor, Mr George Faulds was untiring in his efforts in arranging for buildings to be taken-over and land to be leased in order that the Headquarters could be built in the Dinting District.

The 'Big Day' arrived when recruiting was to start. The old Labour Exchange near the Town Hall was taken over as the Recruiting Office. Technical equipment such as a mobile wireless set and various military vehicles were paraded round the town that evening and finally at 7.00pm an open-air meeting was held outside the Recruiting Office. Speeches were made by the Mayor, Brigadier Goodman and others, and at 7.30pm the doors were opened for recruits. A red-faced stout lad by the name of W Hall was the first recruit of the second line North Midland Corps Signals. This unit was to become famous in various theatres of war from Burma, the Middle East and France, finally becoming Signals to the 11th Armoured Division which fought right through from the beaches of France to Germany.

The recruiting that night started with a small queue which grew as the evening wore on. Half-hourly reports were sent to the Mayor's parlour where His Worship the Mayor entertained a 'most jovial' party. The doors of the Recruiting Office had to close at midnight, having already enrolled around 300 volunteers, with more wanting to join.

Commissions were arranged and Non-Commissioned Officers appointed. Throughout that summer training and fitting-out went on every night until a very late hour. Two Signals Companies were based at Glossop and No.3 Company was based at Chesterfield.

A fortnight's camp was held at Skegness during 13-27 August 1939 and 100% attendance was recorded. War broke-out less than a week after they returned from Camp. The second-line unit became known as 4th (North Midland) Corps Signals, and the parent unit became 3rd (North Midland) Corps Signals. The unit was embodied for war and moved to a Bakewell in Derbyshire which had better scope for billeting and more extensive training.

The unit was warned to deploy to Norway in April 1940, but was not sent. Thereafter it served Headquarters 4th Corps in the United Kingdom until late 1941, when 4th Corps Headquarters was broken up. Part of the unit went to form 'Q' Armoured Divisional Signals which later became 11th Armoured Divisional Signals, this unit was later commanded by Lieutenant Colonel JL Harrison who was one of the original officers to join in Glossop, having transferred from the 42nd (East Lancashire) Divisional Signals. Another part of the unit was later used to re-build a new 4th Corps Signals, which joined the reconstituted headquarters in Iraq, whence it proceeded to India. This new unit served in Assam and Burma for the remainder of the war. Both units were disbanded at the end of hostilities.

When the Territorial Army was re-constituted after the war, it was found advisable for the Glossop district to be administered by the East Lancashire Territorial Army Association. In May 1948 it was decided that the call for volunteers from Glossop had been so great before the war, that the new No.2 Squadron of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Divisional Signal Regiment would be established in the Glossop area.

The announcement had the immediate effect of producing 6 volunteers -1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal and 4 Signalmen, most of whom were linemen. By 1949 this had risen to 2 Sergeants, 1 Corporal and 12 Signalmen. Captain Wilson was selected to command the Squadron.

There was no Drill Hall in Glossop at the time and transport was limited in those days, so it was arranged that a truck would go to Glossop each Drill Night to collect the No.2 Squadron personnel, take them to Regimental Headquarters at Manchester, and return them to Glossop after training.

Meanwhile, arrangements were in hand for building the new premises at Glossop. These were completed in 1951 on exactly the same site as the original huts in 1939. The official opening took place in September 1951. Captain G Horsfall took the parade and Commander of 42nd (Lancashire) Division, Major General V Blomfield CB DSO took the salute.

In 1953 No.2 Squadron at Glossop consisted of 4 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, 4 Sergeants, 2 Corporals, 5 Lance Corporals, 29 Drivers, 53 Operators Wireless & Line, 18 Linemen, 9 Radiomen, 1 Telecommunications Mechanic, 2 Despatch Riders, 2 Operators Switch-board and 1 Operator Keyboard.

Under the Territorial Army reorganization of 1961, the Glossop Squadron left 42nd Signal Regiment to become part of 64th Signal Regiment TA. It was shrunk in the process from squadron strength to become just a detachment of the Nottingham Squadron of 64th Signal Regiment, TA. By coincidence the Nottingham Squadron was also called No. 2 Squadron.

At the time, the Regimental Headquarters and No.1 Squadron of 64th Signal Regiment TA were based at Sheffield.

In the 1967 defence cuts, 64th Signal Regiment, TA reduced to become a squadron of the newly formed 38th Signal Regiment (Volunteers) and the Glossop detachment closed. The Drill Hall was sold and is now part of an industrial estate.

Medals These medals were awarded to Signalman Noel F.Hadfield who enlisted on 10th May 1939.
From left to right the medals are The 1939-45 Star, The Africa Star, The Italy Star, The War Medal and The Territorial Efficiency Medal.
The ribbon of the War Medal bears an Oak Leaf signifying a Mention in Despatches.

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Page last updated: 25 September 2017.
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