The Y Service 1939-1945

Y' Sections in The Desert 1941-42

Early in 1941 after a long voyage from Liverpool down the Atlantic Ocean around the Cape (South Africa) and then into the Indian Ocean, into the Red Sea then over land to Heliopolis (Egypt) the advance party of No 2 Special Wireless Group (SWG) were bivied in the King Fuad Museum outside Heliopolis along with a similar group of R.A.F Signals personnel.

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2 SWG had three tasks.

•  To obtain tactical and strategic Enigma groups for the code breakers back at Bletchley Park.

•  To crack lower-level Italian and German ciphers and codes

•  By traffic analysis and direction-finding (D/F) to build up information on the enemy order of battle.

Special Wireless Sections with the 8 th Army supplied the SWG with transport, equipment, repairs and advice along with training courses for the Special Operators, supervisors and admin matters and keeping in daily contact with the SWS over some hundreds of miles. Number 7 Intelligence Section carried out the same role for the Wireless Intelligence Sections attached to the Royal Corps of Signals. Number 2 SWG at Heliopolis had safe wireless (radio) links with its sections and a Land-line and teleprinter link with M.I.8, HQ MEF at Cairo


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All Ultra signals for the middle East were handled by a station called The Cottage which was at Addassia near Cairo

The Cottage

The Special Wireless Sections (SWS) were manned by personnel from Royal Corps of Signals They were mobile and used wireless trucks. They monitored the stations and conversations between units such as Rommel's Panzer Corps tank commanders who would be talking to each other over the wireless sets fitted in all the vehicles. The Germans used Morse code (CW) and the messages were coded as any other wireless traffic, but sometimes in the heat of a battle they would use voice and our interceptors would hear plain language.

From late 1941 early 1942, The ATS (Royal Corps of Signals) girls were transferred to No2 SWG and stationed at Sidhi Bishr in Alexandria.

Equipment used:

Marconi Adcock (D/F) L/F and H/F units HRO'S, - S27 Halicrafter VHF sets Decca Loop D/F vans


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110 Special Wireless Section.

The following are all diary entries taken from Y Compendium by Hugh Skillen



December 1941 Liverpool docks 110 SWS boarded a ship for the 12 weeks voyage to Egypt on the 1 st of February 1942 the section disembarked at Port Tewfik and proceeded to Qassasin Camp, Strength was 2 officers and OR's

July Section moved to HQ XXX (30) Corps and leaguer SW of EL Imyad Station.

From July to late September new officers joined the unit along with Intelligence officers and OR's

20 th October 1942 All operational vehicles moved to main HQ XXX at EL Alamein. Nine (9) intercept sets and one D/F and operators prepare for battle.

23 rd October Barrage opened at 21.40 hours

24 th Oct total of 56 Messages intercepted.

25 th total of intercepted massagers 80

26 th 123 messages intercepted

27 th 245 messages intercepted

28 th 181 messages intercepted

29 th 110 messages intercepted

30 th 152 messages intercepted

31 st 148 messages intercepted

Over the next few days there was a total of 1427 messages intercepted.

6 th November Section moved to EL DA'BA hence only 23 messages men off duty attended a lecture on infantry tactics. Signals weak as enemy moves away.



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