215 Signal Squadron

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215 Signal Squadron
Sigbadge.jpg
Active 1959 - Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Brigade level Command Support
Size 130 people
Part of 1st Mechanized Brigade
Garrison/HQ Jellalabad Barracks
Tidworth, England

215 Signal Squadron (215) is a Squadron of the British Army's Royal Corps of Signals. It is responsible for installing, maintaining and operating all types of telecommunications equipment and information systems in support of 1st Mechanized Brigade.

History[edit]

The title 215 Signal Squadron was first used in 1959 when it was formed from 51 Infantry Brigade Signal Squadron in the Middle East. During the Squadron's short time with 51 Infantry Brigade, it served in Cyprus and Oman. After a life of only one year, 215 Signal Squadron was amalgamated with 201 Signal Squadron, now part of 1st (UK) Armoured Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment, and dropped its number.

On 16 December 1983, 1st Infantry Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (216) relinquished the tradition of wearing the Airborne Lanyard and changed its number from 216 to 215. It was during this transition that the Squadron was first issued with the new Clansman range of radios. The Squadron then settled into its new home in Tidworth. Up until 1 April 1993, the Squadron exercised in many countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Cyprus.

On 1 April 1993, the Brigade was given the new title and role of 1 Mechanized Brigade. On this change, the Squadron was able to keep its identification and stayed in Tidworth with the title 1 Mechanized Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (215).

The major change for the Squadron was the issue of ASV 436, a reflection of its mechanized role. The Squadron was also issued with trunk communications equipment in the form of Ptarmigan, fitted in ASV 439. It was at this time that the Troops changed their names from simply Alpha and Charlie to Bengal and Sabre. The following year, the newly re-roled Brigade was tested to its limit while on Exercise FIRST CRUSADE. At the time, this was the largest exercise to take place within the UK for 30 years: over 800 armoured vehicles were deployed on Salisbury Plain. This training led to the Squadron being more than up to the task when the Brigade was deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in 1996. During this tour, the Squadron was based in Šipovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On its return, the Squadron started back into its exercise routine, deploying on Brigade exercises and conducting adventurous training in countries such as Italy, Switzerland and Cyprus. In 1999, the Brigade was once again called on to deploy to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, this time deploying to Banja Luka on Operation PALANTINE. Once again the Squadron professionally carried out its duties and received commendations from various organisations.

After two cold deployments to the Balkans, the Brigade Headquarters and elements of the Squadron finally had a reprieve with an operational tour to Sierra Leone, on Operation SILKMAN at the end of 2000. The Squadron's involvement in this operation came to a close in May 2001.

In April 2002, the Squadron deployed to Kosovo on Op AGRICOLA 8 to provide CIS infrastructure and command support to Multi National Brigade (Centre). The Squadron returned at the end of October 2002 and commenced the Training Year as part of the Formation Readiness Cycle. This culminated with the Brigade and Signal Squadron deploying to BATUS in Canada in August 2003.

Following on from the training in BATUS, the squadron deployed to Iraq, and was situated in the compounds of Saddam Hussain's former palace, where it continued to help the Iraqi people rebuild their country. In 2008, the Squadron was due to deploy to Iraq again; however, UK Forces had pulled out of Iraq by that point and so the Squadron was set on a training standing.

In early 2010, the Squadron was paired with its sister squadron 216 Parachute Signal Squadron to provide support to it for their coming deployment to Afghanistan for Operation Herrick XIII. A number of Signallers were attached to 216 for the duration of the tour.

Today[edit]

215 Signal Squadron is an independent squadron supporting HQ 1st Mechanized Brigade at Tidworth, Wilts, operating within 3rd (UK) Division.

Located in the heart of Salisbury Plain Training Area, the Squadron deploys on exercise several times each year. In the last 12 months, exercises have taken a number of forms including Squadron deployments aimed at practising basic communications skills; command support to the Brigade staff in order for them to conduct planning and execution of Battle group operations; the provision of the Exercise Control facility to a Divisional level exercise and support to the annual Tidworth 10 charity run.

The future holds no less variety of tasks and the next few months will see the Squadron providing command support to 16 Air Assault Brigade as they prepare for operations; a comprehensive leadership exercise for the Defence Sixth Form College Welbeck and ongoing support to HQ 1st Mechanized Brigade. In addition, a significant number of personnel will deploy to locations including Afghanistan, Kenya and the Falkland Islands.

215 Signal Squadron is a Mechanized unit albeit it is currently re-balancing in order to provide support that more closely reflects that found on operations. The Headquarters operates primarily using Bowman equipment though the Squadron is capable on other communications systems used on operations.

See also[edit]

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