South Africa Defence Force
71 Signal Unit 1975 - 1992
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA72-REP]
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA 0344]
The history and designations of 72 Signal Unit began in WWII with 5 Brigade Signal Squadron, 6 Armoured Division Signal Unit. The South African 6th Armoured Division was the first armoured division in the South African Army and was formed during World War II. The Division was established in 1943 from the former South African 1st Infantry Division that returned to South Africa after the Second Battle of El Alamein. The Division was sent for training to Egypt and operationally served in Italy during 1944 and 1945.
The 5 Brigade Signal Squadron was re-designated 76 Signal Squadron with its HQ at Forest Hill, Johannesburg in 1970. With the establishment of 72 Motorized Brigade in October 1974 from the former 18 Brigade, saw 76 Signal Squadron become the Brigade Signal unit in October 1974 and re-designated 72 Signal Unit on 1st August 1975.
72 Motorized Brigade became operational in January 1976 and 72 Signal Unit provided operational communications for the Brigade deployed in Angola until April of that year. 72 Signal Unit had its second operational deployment with the Brigade from April to June 1979 on the South West Africa border.
1st December 1991 72 Motorized Brigade and 7 SA Infantry Brigade were merged and designated 7 SA Division and 7 Signal Group as formed. 7 Signal Group comprised 7 Division HQ Signal Unit, 71 Signal Unit, 72 Signal Unit and 73 Signal Unit.
In 1998 there was reorganisation of the SANDF and 72 Brigade was re-designated 46 Brigade but 72 Signal Unit retained its name.
SA 0344 is an example of 72 Signal Unit flash that was believed to have been worn. SA 72-REP insignia was designed as the Unit flash with the ‘72’, on a shield of the vertical Signal Corps colours of Green, light Blue and Dark Blue. However as far as anyone knows it was never used and the Signal Unit likely wore the 72 Brigade HQ Flash as SA 0344.