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The book, entitled ‘ARMY SIGNALS IN SOUTH AFRICA. The Story of the South African Corps of Signals and its antecedents’ is impressive work of epic proportions, and together with its two companion volumes, will most probably become the primary reference work on army signals in South Africa.

It is a compilation of some previously published material, but consists mainly of new material never before published, large parts which have come from verbal recollections, rather than documentation. It is the result of thorough and meticulous research, including over two hundred personal interviews, stretching over a period of many years. Interviewees range from a number of generals to the lowest troop, to ensure a level of authenticity and reality in all aspects of this history. The effect of including numerous personal accounts sprinkled throughout the pages of the book is that the history literally comes alive and creates a sense of personal experience and interest, rather than just a record of dry facts. The author has also ensured that names and places are mentioned wherever possibly, not just dates and events – again this serves to give the account a greater level of human interest.

The book consists of  a chronological sweep of the history of land-based signals in South Africa, starting with the role of the British army signallers and those of the independent Boer Republics before and during the Boer War, through the two world wars, then on through its climax during the Border War (1966 to 1989), the involvement of Military Intelligence in setting up the first Electronic Warfare stations, through to the modern era of incorporation of the liberation forces and independent homelands. The transformation resulting from being a part of the newly post-1994 SANDF is also covered in detail.

The books also contains one of the most comprehensive studies of ceremonial matters as far as they relate to the SA Corps of Signals and related signal units – covering badges, flashes, mottoes, songs and traditions.

What makes this a worthwhile addition to the library of any student of military history, is the fact that the signals/communications role is relevant to almost every part of the military machine; as a consequence it provides a good overview of operational aspects as well as behind-the-scenes developments in terms of Electronic Warfare. The book also contains one of the most comprehensive lists of border operations yet published.

Softcover, 694 pages. FIRST EDITION - FIRST PRINT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Walter V. Volker is the Chief Executive Officer of the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA). Prior to this, he worked for Absa Bank for seventeen years, and before that he was with NCR Corporation for seven years.

Walter was born and grew up in the south-eastern Transvaal town of Piet Retief. He started his national service in 1981 with basic training at 3 SA Infantry Battalion, but was later transferred to the Army Gymnasium in Heidelberg, where he also received his officer’s commission. He was then transferred to 2 Signal Regiment at Wonderboom as a Command and Control Communications officer. He continued being involved with 2 Signal Regiment during his Citizen Force years, with the last major operation being two months border duty in mid-1988 during Operation Prone, based at Ondangwa.

He holds a B.Sc and an MBL degree, and  is married to Trudie (nèe du Toit). Walter has already published a number of books on genealogy, including The Cotton Germans of Natal (2007); this series represents his first published work in the area of military history. In 2012 he published Piet Retief Commando – the Story of a Border Commando 1880 – 2007 and Boer War Stories of the Piet Retief Commando and District.


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steven linington

ARMY SIGNALS IN SOUTH AFRICA: The Story of the South African Corps of Signals and its Antecedents - Walter Volker


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