Effective means of communication has been essential since the earliest days of society. Nowadays we can just pick up a cellphone, or open a messenger app on the computer, but in the past communication was more complicated, with a limiting factor being the distance and time with which messages could be sent and received. Messengers on foot or horseback, fire torches, smoke signals, the sounding of horns and drums, fire beacons, semaphore, telegraph, and morse code were all ways messages were passed on. Nowadays soldiers of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals use the latest and most advanced communications systems to ensure the NZ Army stays one step ahead in the technological battle-space.
The Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals cap badge depicts the Roman god Mercury with his winged feet and helm, poised on a globe of the world with the cadueus in his left hand and his right held aloft. We have a few of these cap badges in our collection, including the winged foot of the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Corps (established in 1911 and later amalgamated into the New Zealand Corps of Signals), the ‘Jimmy’ of World War II bearing the crown of King George VI, and the more modern ‘Jimmy’ with the crown of Queen Elizabeth II (as pictured). Signallers have referred to Mercury as ‘Jimmy’ for more than 50 years; the reason why is lost to time, but it is still a tradition that lives on.
We also have some great examples of the tools-of-the-trade of the Corps of Signals, including a special Mk 1 ZC1 radio set and its successor the Mk 2 ZC1 radio set used in World War II, plus a few other handheld and tank-mounted radio sets. To round it out we have a couple of great archival photos of signallers in action in our past conflicts too.
The Corps colours are light blue, dark blue, and green reflecting the ability of signallers to communicate over sky, sea, and land. It signifies the vital role signallers play as the eyes and ears for all Arms of the New Zealand Defence Force. Soldiers of RNZ Signals are intelligent, innovative, and technically astute, providing clear and trusted communications that support commanders to lead their units and soldiers. Reliable and secure communications are a vital requirement in every possible situation within the NZ Army, and the soldiers of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals continue to deliver to a high standard; a testament to their Corps motto: Certa Cito – Swift and Sure.
So, from us here at the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa, happy Corps Day and thank you for your service.