South Africa National Defence Force
Army Battle School Signal Unit 1977 - 1991
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA 0414]
The Army Battle School Signals Wing at Lohatlha began with the appointment of the first signals officer, Major N. J. Vercuiel, on 28th October 1977. Major N. J. Vercuiel took up post at Lohatlha on 9th January 1978. The role of the Signals Wing was to provide effective communications training to formations, units and officers through task orientated exercises. Though the first task for Major Vercuiel was to install a telephone for OC Brigadier van de Berg and establish radio communications. The Army Battle School Radio links were established on 9th January 1978 at 10:00 with North West Command and the Chief of Army in Pretoria and by 11:00 the OC’s home telephone was operational.
The Signals Wing was a small formation of approximately 10 men in the early 1980’s. During Exercises the Wing was supported by detachments from 2 Signal Regiment’s 23 Signal Squadron and later 22 Signal Squadron.
The Army Battle School Signals Wing became the Army Battle School Signal Unit in 1985. And between 1985 to 1990 the unit expanded from the small core of approximately 10 to 250 men.
With the withdrawal of the SADF from South West Africa in later 1989 several units were redeployed within the Republic of South Africa or were disbanded, and some units went to the Army Battle School. 61 Mech Group, was stationed at Walvis Bay from 1989 to 1991, was one these units to be rehomed here.
With the reorganisation of the SADF, post Project SA Army Ontwerp 2000, was the establishment of a Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). The Army Battle School role changed, becoming the HQ for the new formed RDF. With effect from 1st November 1991 8 Signal Group became part of the RDF falling under the command of the Army Battle School. The Army Battle School Signal Unit merged into 8 Signal.