6th Airborne Divisional Signals

6th Airborne Divisional Signals

1943 to 1946

6th Airborne Divisional Signals was formed in May 1943 using a core of personnel from 1st Airborne Divisional Signals.

It was initially commanded by Lt Col ‘Pigmy’ Smallman-Tew, who had previously been second in command of (1st) Airborne Divisional Signals, and based at Beacon Barracks, Bulford, Wiltshire.

The unit was responsible for maintaining and operating communications links for 6th Airborne Division which included links between:

  • Divisional HQ and brigade HQs under its command.
  • Brigade HQs under command and their battalions.
  • Divisional HQ and higher command.


It was also responsible for maintaining links with Allied air support, supporting artillery from outside of the division, and the divisional base in England.

Prior to Normandy the unit had an official establishment of 540 men which comprised a headquarters and three companies.

6th Airborne Divisional Signals supported the division throughout its campaigns in NW Europe during 1944-45, including Normandy, the Ardennes, the Rhine crossing and the advance to the Baltic.

The unit deployed with the division to Palestine in 1945.

It was redesignated as the 6th Airborne Divisional Signal Regiment in 1946 following a restructure of all Royal Corps of Signals units. Its companies and sections were also redesignated as squadrons and troops.

Commanding Officers

1943-44 Lt Col D Smallman-Tew (KIA 22 July 1944)
1944 Lt Col ES Cole
1944-46 Lt Col PEM Bradley DSO*

*Redesignated as 6th Airborne Divisional Signal Regiment during Lt Col Bradley's command

Compiled with the assistance of Bob Hilton.

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  • Signalmen Davis and Easby admiring the French Francs issued to them, prior to D-Day, 1944

    Signalmen Davis and Easby admiring the French Francs issued to them, prior to D-Day, 1944

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  • Members of 6th Airborne Divisional Signals play cricket in Normandy, 31 July 1944.

    Members of 6th Airborne Divisional Signals play cricket in Normandy, 31 July 1944.

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  •  View inside tented accommodation, Palestine, Christmas 1945.

    View inside tented accommodation, Palestine, Christmas 1945.

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  • HRH Princess Royal inspects the newly-formed 6th Airborne Divisional Signals, Bulford, Sept 1943

    HRH Princess Royal inspects the newly-formed 6th Airborne Divisional Signals, Bulford, Sept 1943

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  • Members of the 6th Airborne Divisional Signals with a pigeon, prior to D-Day, 5 June 1944.

    Members of the 6th Airborne Divisional Signals with a pigeon, prior to D-Day, 5 June 1944.

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  • Sgmn Tom Stevens with colleagues on leave, 1946.

    Sgmn Tom Stevens with colleagues on leave, 1946.

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  • Sgmn Tom Stevens with colleagues and Kim, 1946.

    Sgmn Tom Stevens with colleagues and Kim, 1946.

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