Royal Signals Museum Presentation

Although the Army had been developing wireless for 10 years the General Staff still treated it with suspicion at the start of WWI.  We would like to explore the theme of Usage and discuss how the development of wireless telegraphy and telephony responded to and enabled changes in the conduct of warfare at both the strategic and tactical levels.

We are interested in examining how:

  • an inability to communicate with its Armies impacted on the German advance at the start of the War,
  • during the 4 years of largely static position warfare, wireless showed its value in aerial, artillery and tank warfare,
  • wireless technology evolved from spark through continuous wave telegraphy to telephony,
  • warfare was transformed during the last 100 days of the War giving wireless communications a central role,
  • the use of wireless to gather intelligence of enemy locations and activities evolved.

We are also interested in exploring the themes of Secrecy and Innovation. In particular the impact of the growing need for encryption and how progress was impeded by prejudice against the new technology inside and outside the Signal Service as well as by the poor skill levels of the available operators.

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