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 Post subject: Linesmens equipment
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 0:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 20:52 pm
Posts: 5
Hello all,

I am currently working on my linesmens impression, as a signaler attached to 3rd Div, 1944-45.

What was some of the equipment normally carried by linesmen? I know the 1903 belt with a frog and pliers were often carried, but does anyone have any pictures of said frogs and pliers? What else? Model L Telephone?

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Linesmens equipment
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 20:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 22:03 pm
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Location: Hemel Hempstead & Derby
Real Name: Rob Fenn
Group: Poor Bloody Infantry
Welcome to McVickers' very hastily put together guide to portraying a RCoS linesman!

The all following is as it was officially done, but never-the-less in the theater you were posted, things may have become impractical or easy to get away with not doing - I'll try to highlight these.

Basics:
Apart from your usual battledress, you'd be issued a set of '37patt webbing with cartridge carriers, not basic pouches.
You'd also be issued denims to wear as you are a working party if you are laying a line, and working parties wore denims to protect their battledress. Naturally, no insignia on denims.
Royal Signals arm bands would be worn, officially on both arms (don't believe the folk who said both arms was only dispatch riders), though when in theaters of action it's most common to see none being worn.
You'd be predominantly vehicle reliant, and most kit listed would be carried with you on your vehicle until required for each particular job.
As you've said, an '03 pattern belt was worn to support your "Frog, Tool" and a "Pouches, Tool, Line-man" predominantly used when laying on-foot further away from your vehicle as so carried jointing tools with you.

Personal Tools:
The pliers for the "Frog, Tool" were a particular pattern with removable/replaceable blades known as the "MkIV" pliers, and not the standard 8" long 'linesman' ("Pliers, Side-cutting" type) pliers and definitely not 'combination' pliers.
The "Pouches, Tool, Line-man" officially carried the following:
"Screwdrivers, R.E., 6" "
"Screwdrivers, Watchmakers, 1/4" "
"Screwdrivers, Watchmakers, 1/8" "
"Nippers, Side-cutting, 5" "
"Case, Tool, Telegraph Instrument"
"Cleaner, Contact, Telegraph Instrument"
"Pins, Adjusting, 4" "
"Pins, Adjusting, 2 1/2" Stout"
"Pins, Adjusting, 2 1/2" Fine"
"Pliers, Side-cutting, 5" "
"Tweezers, Small"
"Scissors, 5" "

Line Laying Tools (Not carried about your person, only carried when being used):
A standard line laying party consisted of 4 men; One to dictate the course of the line and clear a way for it to be laid, one to dispense the line, one to lay the line in place, and finally one to ensure the line is laid securely, tied back where needed and labelled.

To clear the path, a machete was issued, and the route would have been provided on a map of the locality. The map would either be held by the first man of the line laying party, or by the section officer in charge of the party if more than one party was working on the line.

By hand, the cable would be dispensed from a hand-held cable drum reeler called an "Apparatus, Cable Laying, No.2" or just "A.C.L. No.2" for short. It was the most common winder of the period and had an ash wood frame. It was an old interwar design (1920s) that went on being used well into the 1960s. Introduced in 1943, there was also the "A.C.L No.6" ("Apparatus, Cable Laying, No.6") which was a back-pack cable drum carrier and dispenser for manual line laying. It's design was based on the 'Everest' carrier framework. These are rather rare and I've only ever seen photos of one real one which some chap was restoring. Never seen one in a museum and never seen any period photos of them in use. American DR-8 reels mounted on US DR-39 hand reelers are also known to have been used by both British and commonwealth troops after D-Day.

By vehicle, the "Cable Layer, Mechanical, No.1" was used mounted in the back of a truck. This machine physically threw the cable (like 'silly string' spraying from a can) onto the branches of trees, tops of hedges, and sides of verges.

To lay the telecoms cable into hedges or tree-branches out-of-the-way where your hands could not reach, crook poles were used to hook and place the cable. The most common type of crook pole was the "Stick, Crook, Jointed, MkII" which were 4 inter-joining rods of wood with threaded brass ferrules on the ends. Three of the rods were 3' long, with one having only one ferrule, it being the handle end. One of the rods was 2ft long and had a C-hook on the far end. Naturally, these rods could be screwed together to form lengths of wither 2', 5', 8' or 11' long crook poles. there was also the "Stick, Crook, 14' " which were 2 inter-joining bamboo rods primarily designed and used for installing over-head crossings. The lover bamboo section was 7' 6" long, and the upper bamboo section was 6' 6" long with the crook hook on the end. Finally, there was also the "Stick, Crook, Short" which was a singular 3' long wooden crook stick which was designed to be used to guide the cable payed out of "Cable Layer, Mechanical, No.1".

The cable was tied back using twine and labelled with a wooden label called "Labels, Line" onto which an indication of the use and ownership of the line was inscribed. The shape of the wooden label also denoted the Corps or Regiment type who were using the line. Each shape was denoted an identification letter, from 'A' to 'H'. I'll try to expand of this later and provide pictures.

To Be Continued - Much more info and pictures to come....


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 Post subject: Re: Linesmens equipment
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 0:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 20:52 pm
Posts: 5
Excellent post! Thank you!

This helps immensely with my impression. I have a good number of field telephones (Model F MkI*, F MkII x2, Mod D MkV, Model L) a fullerphone, and a U/C 10 line switchboard, plus several of the small tools, but am lacking in terms of the technical and practical knowledge.

I had forgotten about the cartridge carrier pouches - one of the few pictures I have seen of their use post D-day is on a very bored looking RCoS chap wearing them and denims.

Now, to finish restoring my Switchboard.

Cheers!

Ben


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 Post subject: Re: Linesmens equipment
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 16:14 pm
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Location: Wiltshire
I have one of the early Pouches Tool which were a copy of one of the cartridge carriers used with the 14 pattern leather equipment.

Very rare now I assume and expensive. I brought it no doubt like many to build up a 14 pattern set.


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 Post subject: Re: Linesmens equipment
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 21:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 22:03 pm
Posts: 684
Location: Hemel Hempstead & Derby
Real Name: Rob Fenn
Group: Poor Bloody Infantry
phantomguitar wrote:
Excellent post! Thank you!

This helps immensely with my impression.


Oh, I nearly forgot - service whistle on pocket thong!
Seen worn by corporals, lance corporals, and ORs (ORs when they're leading a laying party).
If you do portray a cpl or l/cpl, then your signals armbands would have your rank sewn on to these, so it could still be seen when denims were worn over the top - still no insignia on denims!

Even though the Type L feild phone was originally designed and designated a linesmans phone, most period pictures show the Type D MkV/MkV* being used/prefered, with first-hand accounts from linesmen saying they preferred carrying the older leather cased Type D MkIII as it was more of a "Rolls Royce" of field telephones :lol:

I'll endeavour to take some more time out to add more to this thread for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Linesmens equipment
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 20:52 pm
Posts: 5
McVickers wrote:
phantomguitar wrote:
Excellent post! Thank you!

This helps immensely with my impression.


Oh, I nearly forgot - service whistle on pocket thong!
Seen worn by corporals, lance corporals, and ORs (ORs when they're leading a laying party).
If you do portray a cpl or l/cpl, then your signals armbands would have your rank sewn on to these, so it could still be seen when denims were worn over the top - still no insignia on denims!

Even though the Type L feild phone was originally designed and designated a linesmans phone, most period pictures show the Type D MkV/MkV* being used/prefered, with first-hand accounts from linesmen saying they preferred carrying the older leather cased Type D MkIII as it was more of a "Rolls Royce" of field telephones :lol:

I'll endeavour to take some more time out to add more to this thread for you.



I have seen accounts of one (all of?) of the mortar sections of 1st Airborne (At Arnhem) using Model L's for their communications instead of their normally issued unit, as they got better performance out of it.

There is not much information on this subject overall it seems, most people doing Signals just buy a 38 set and call it a day.

A picture of the Signals armband would be helpful as well. I appreciate all of the input.


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