Signal Department

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Signal Department
Board of Admiralty Flag 20th Century.png
Active1918-1920, 1942-1964
CountryFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
RoleMilitary Staff
Part ofAdmiralty Naval Staff
In CommandDirector of the Signal Department
FirstActing Captain Henry K. Kitson
LastCaptain John R.G. Trechman

The Signal Department was a staff department of the Admiralty Naval Staff of the Royal Navy responsible for responsible for naval ship to shore communications. It followed a renaming of the earlier Signal Division. In 1942 when it was renamed back to the Signal Division. It was administered by the Director of Signal Division.


In 1906 the Admiralty set up a Signals Committee to initially investigate signalling between Royal Navy vessels and Merchant Navy vessels, in 1914 the Admiralty War Staff had established an expanded Signal Section to deal with all shore to ship communications following the abolition of the war staff function. The Signal Division was established on the 18 August 1917. The divisions primary role was for receiving and sending signals to ships at sea and stations ashore, but also for the coding or ciphering of the signals. In January 1918 the section was renamed the Signal Division until 1921 when it was again re-styled Signal Department still within the Naval Staff until 1942 when it reverted to Signal Division, it continued as a component part of the Naval Staff until 1964 when the Admiralty Department was abolished and replaced by a new Navy Department within the Ministry of Defence.

Director of the Signal Department


  • Captain Henry K. Kitson, July, 1921 – February, 1923.
  • Captain Raymond Fitzmaurice: February 1923-February 1925
  • Captain James F.Somerville: February 1925-February 1927
  • Captain Charles E. Kennedy-Purvis: February 1927-March 1930
  • Captain James W.S.Dorling: March 1930-April 1932
  • Captain Arthur J. L. Murray: April 1932-September 1934
  • Captain Guy W.Hallifax: September 1934-October 1935
  • Captain W. Tofield Makeig-Jones: October 1935-September 1937
  • Captain Philip F. Glover: September 1937 – 1939
  • Captain Philip F. Glover: September 1940 – 1941


  1. Mackie, Colin. "Senior Royal Navy Appointments from 1865" (PDF). Gulabin. Colin Mackie, p.55, January 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2020.