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WW1 Photos Centenary Website: 2014-2018 By Paul Reed

Signallers on the Somme 1916

As I’m off to the Somme to make a documentary with Dan Snow this week, it will be a Somme-themed week on Great War Photos.

This image shows a group of men from a Divisional Signal Company of the Royal Engineers. There was no Royal Signals in WW1 and signalling work was done at battalion level by infantry signallers and for larger formations by the REs. Photographed amid the ruins of a typical Somme building – possibly a church or town hall by the large chalk blocks – these men have all the kit they need to carry out their signalling work. Rolls of cable allowed field telephone to be connected; some men have the tools needed to cut and trim the cable; examples of field telephones in their leather bags can be seen and the man on the front right holds an example of a British phone in his hand. Signallers wore a white and blue armband and although it is not clear on every man in this image, the armband is being worn here.

The men have obviously recently been in action and some trophies of war can be seen amongst their kit; two German Picklehaubes are visible, as is an example of a German Luger. The meaning of the caption on the board – ‘The Cherry Stickers’ – sadly appears to be lost in time.

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3 responses

  1. Steve Groocock

    My Great granddad was with 40th signal coy Royal Engineers, I’m trying to find any info possible about him.

    12/02/2014 at 13:45

    • sommecourt

      Have you looked him up on Ancestry? The RE Museum at Chatham may be able to help, too.

      14/02/2014 at 13:03

  2. Arthur

    My dad was in the RE and was at Flers which I visited in April. I am still trying to find out more about him ( my biggest regret is that I never spoke with him about it) but the RE museum at Gillingham never responds. I believe that it is manned by volunteers and fully understand that it s not always possible for people to be there.I live in Merseyside and it is too fr to go on the chance that it might be manned. Anyone out there got any ideas on ho to search the RE records

    27/07/2014 at 22:25

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