32 Signal Regiment - History

Our History

Our Regiment’s earliest component was established in Toronto in 1907 – the 2nd Signalling Company of the newly established Signalling Corps; a component of Militia District No. 2.  The company employed semaphore flags, heliographs, and lamps.  Construction of telegraph and telephone lines was still the responsibility of the Canadian Engineers, but 2nd Signalling Company also maintained a detachment that paraded with the 2nd Engineer Company in Toronto.  In 1911 the company was renamed No. 2 Signal Company.

In August 1914, upon the outbreak of the First World War, 36 officers and signallers from No. 2 Signal Company travelled to Valcartier, Quebec to join the 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company.  During the war telephone, telegraph, runners, and pigeons became standard methods of transmitting messages on the battlefield.  In some cases radios were available as well.  Members of our Regiment, along with hundreds of other signallers, engineers, and guides served in the different companies of the Canadian Corps Signal Service during the great and terrible battles of 1915 through 1918.  All of the units of the Canadian Corps Signal Service were demobilized and disbanded in Toronto during 1919.

In 1920, the companies of the pre-war Canadian Signal Corps were reorganized into battalions, and telegraph and telephone specialists from the Canadian Engineers were transferred into the new signal units.  Along with No. 14 Signal Company in Hamilton, No. 2 Signal Company was grouped into the 2nd Signal Battalion with headquarters in Toronto.  This new unit thrived over the following two decades, moving into an armoury at 185 Spadina Avenue in Toronto in 1924, founding a Trumpet Band in 1926, joining the Canadian Signals Association, and winning the Malloch Trophy in 1930, 1932, and 1934.  In the summer of 1936, our Regiment led the largest summer training concentration of signals formations ever assembled at Camp Borden, and the Royal title was granted to the militia signals corps.  In 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals was arguably the best prepared element of the Canadian Army, and signallers were the first soldiers to be mobilized from Toronto and Hamilton to gather for war a second time.  From 1939 through 1945, members of our Regiment served in all of the signal units within the First Canadian Army in Britain and through Italy, France, Northwest Europe, and elsewhere.

The latter half of the 20th Century saw our Regiment through many successive reorganizations, in particular the unification of 2nd Signal Regiment and 8th Signal Regiment into the Toronto Signal Regiment in 1964.  This unit moved to Fort York Armoury in 1966, and was renamed 709 (Toronto) Communication Regiment during the unification and integration of the Canadian Forces in 1970.  The trumpet band was divested from the Canadian Forces in 1970, but it has sustained itself as a civilian band ever since and continues to parade with our Regiment as the duty band.  In 1962, a filter centre of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps was established at Camp Borden.  After a decade of reorganizations, this unit became 700 (Borden) Communication Squadron in 1974.  Over the following three decades, signallers from 709 and 700 served their country in Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Iran & Iraq, Central African Republic, the Persian Gulf, Croatia, Bosnia, Haiti, the Golan Heights, Afghanistan, and in Canada.

In 2011, 709 (Toronto) Communication Regiment and 700 (Borden) Communication Squadron amalgamated to form 32 Signal Regiment.  The signallers of 32 Signal Regiment continue a long and proud history, inherited from the Canadian Signalling Corps, the Canadian Corps Signal Service, the Canadian Corps of Signals, the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the Communications and Electronics Branch, and the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals over a hundred years and through to the future.

32 Signal Regiment continues the following historical units:

  • 2nd Signalling Company, Signalling Corps: 1907-1911 (Toronto)
  • No. 2 Signal Company, C.S.C. 1911-1920 (Toronto & St. Catharines)
  • 2nd Signal Battalion, C.C.S. 1920-1929 (Toronto & Hamilton)
  • 2nd Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. 1929-1947 (Toronto)
  • 2nd (Armoured) Divisional Signal Regiment, R.C.C.S. 1947-1954 (Toronto & Newmarket)
  • 2nd Signal Regiment, R.C.C.S. 1954-1965 (Toronto)
  • 8th Divisional Signals, C.C.S. 1929-1936 (Hamilton)
  • “A” Corps Signals, R.C.C.S. 1936-1948 (Toronto & Hamilton)
  • I Corps H.Q. Signal Regiment, R.C.C.S. 1948-1950 (Toronto & Hamilton)
  • 8th Signal Regiment, R.C.C.S. 1950-1965 (Toronto)
  • Toronto Signal Regiment, R.C.C.S. 1965-1970 (Toronto & Borden)
  • 709 (Toronto) Communication Regiment: 1970-2011
  • Filter Centre, Canadian Women’s Army Corps: 1962-1969 (Borden)
  • Toronto Signal Regiment/709 (Toronto) Communication Regiment – Borden Detachment: 1969-1974
  • 700 (Borden) Communication Squadron: 1974-2011
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