The Second World War Roll of Honour

The Royal Signals Second World War Roll of Honour

Locations: The Royal Signals Memorial Chapel at St. Martin and St. Oswald’s Garrison Memorial Church, Catterick and The Royal Signals Chapel at All Saints Church, Blandford.

The process to compile a Roll of Honour for the period of the Second World War began in 1947 in parallel with consideration of an appropriate Royal Signals War Memorial (see here [to follow]). In early 1948 Army and Navy Stores Ltd.[1] was approached to provide a quote for several ‘albums’. Two vellum ‘albums’, measuring 15 inches by 12 inches, bound in dark blue Moroccan leather and embossed in gold were procured subsequently.

Handwritten on the vellum pages are the surnames, initials, ranks, and numbers of 4,630 all ranks who died between 3 September 1939 and 23 February 1946.[2] It does not record 115 all ranks who died up to February 1946 (many of whom were non-battle casualties in the United Kingdom and not recorded at the time of its production), 14 locally enlisted personnel from Cyprus, Iraq, Palestine, Singapore, and Southern Rhodesia commemorated by the CWGC as Royal Signals, and a further 366 casualties commemorated by the CWGC after February 1946. The Roll is not in strict alphabetical order—in general, those with the same surname are recorded in order of death, earliest first.

In 1949 the Rolls were placed on display in Mercury House, the Royal Signals war memorial ‘holiday club’ at Boscombe in Bournemouth, and in St. Martin’s Church, Catterick at the Signal Training Centre (see the section below dealing with war memorials). When Mercury House at Boscombe was closed in late-1958 its Roll of Honour was looked after by the Royal Signals Association until the establishment of the School of Signals at Blandford in 1967, when it was lodged in the garrison church. All Saints Church in Blandford Camp was dedicated as the Corps chapel in 2010 and the Second World War Roll of Honour is displayed there alongside the Campaigns Roll of Honour (see here [to follow]). The second Roll is displayed in the Royal Signals Memorial Chapel at St. Martin and St. Oswald’s Garrison Memorial Church, Catterick, where there is also a Campaigns Roll of Honour on display.

Facsimile of the Royal Signals Roll of Honour Title Page

A typewritten copy was displayed at Mercury House on Brackley Avenue in Colwyn Bay, the second of the Royal Signals war memorial houses, until it closed in September 1954 and the Roll was moved to the chapel at Blacon Camp in Chester, the site of initial training for National Service soldiers and of Headquarters Army Emergency Reserve Royal Signals. In turn, as conscription came to an end, that typewritten roll was moved to Blandford with Headquarters Army Emergency Reserve in 1961 but it was destroyed in a fire that gutted the garrison church in May 1964. Several small facsimile copies were made, one of which may be found in the Royal Signals Museum Archive.

There is no intention to amend the Royal Signals Second World War Roll of Honour.

1. (Back) Acquired by House of Fraser in 1973.

2. (Back) A decision was taken to omit a record of the theatre of operations in which the casualty died. The last casualty commemorated is 2382503 Company Quartermaster Serjeant Kenneth Cecil John Gasson of No. 310 (Indian) Special Wireless Section who died in Burma on 23 February 1946.