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The Insignia of 367 Signals Unit, RAF

This is the 367 Association's 'Archive' website

367SU

Royal Air Force

ARCHIVED INFORMATION

The 367 Association was

officially disbanded at the AGM held on 13th October 2018

 

The following notes have largely been compiled from the recollections of ex-members of 367 Signals Unit, supplemented with information now available from the National Archives, Kew.

History of 367 Signals Unit, Royal Air Force
  • Information from some of our oldest ex-members indicated that the Unit began life in late 1942 as 367 Wireless Unit, based at Newbold Revell near Rugby.  The trained operators left the U.K. in January 1943 sailing from Liverpool for Cape Town as part of a large convoy aboard The Duchess of Richmond.  After a couple of months in Cape Town, they embarked for  Bombay on board HMT Dilwara

  • Draft 4663 arrived at Worli, Bombay on the 18th March 1943.  After a short stay at Worli Camp,  they made the 6-day train journey to Calcutta, stopping briefly in transit at St. James' School, Howrah, en route for villas at Ballygunge.  Operations commenced as 367 Wireless Unit based in tents on the Chindwin River and some operators ended up at Rangoon in Burma.   367 WU was joined by 368 WU in May 1943, and together with 355 WU formed the valuable WU Link monitoring Japanese military activity in the Kohima and Imphal regions of northeast India, bordering on Burma, prior to the sieges of those two towns.  The Unit was recorded as operational at Chittagong on 24th July 1943.

  • There were probably three mobile D/F Units operating in Burma supporting the main intercept station in Ceylon.  367 WU combined with 368 Wireless Unit at some point.

  • The units were part of the UK's military signals intelligence (Sigint) set-up, more popularly known as the 'Y' Service

 

  • In 1945, 367 and 368 Wireless Units moved from Burma to Hong Kong, with operations and billets at Wang Fung Terrace, Tai Hang (Happy Valley)

  • Aerial photographs taken by the RAF in 1945 show that a military building existed at Little Sai Wan (Hong Kong) at that time and was fairly certainly of pre-war origin.  It is now believed that this was a signals station operated by the Army, most probably the Royal Signals.  However, an RAF Signals presence at the site in late 1941, comprising one officer, Flt Lt. Hector (Dolly) Gray, the Signals Officer from RAF Kai Tak and several other ranks is recorded in the diary of Squadron Leader Donald Hill - see Dr Philip Aston's web-site relating to "Russell's Mathematical Tables" - entry for Saturday, 13th December 1941. The aerial photographs are now held by the Map Publications Centre, Lands Department, North Point, Hong Kong.

  • Based on the aerial photograph taken in 1945, it is believed that, during the period of the Japanese occupation, the site at Little Sai Wan was used by the Japanese for their own radio communications activities.

  • In 1946, 367 and 368 Wireless Units merged to become 367 Signals Unit, and in late 1948, operations moved to Tai Po Tsai with billets at Kai Tak

  • In 1950, the first members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) joined the unit with temporary billets at Lye Mun, and in July 1951, operations began at Little Sai Wan alongside the existing unit at Tai Po Tsai, and billets were established at Cape Collinson.

  • In 1952, 367SU linguists were operating from Batty's Belvedere atop The Peak, with billets at Lye Mun, but in the Spring of 1953, all billets moved to RAF Little Sai Wan

  • The unit insignia was designated in July 1953 - 'Out of water barry wavy argent/azure a rock proper (grey) thereon a double headed dragon passant Or' with the motto 'Nihil celerius' - nothing swifter.  The rock on water symbolises the location of the unit - Hong Kong - at the time of the award in 1953.  The double headed dragon is also associated with the area and is symbolic of watchfulness.

  • Between 1953 and 1958, Little Sai Wan was developed as a fully integrated operational and residential site, with all the facilities of a non-flying RAF camp.  There were operational outstations at RAF Kong Wei (in the then New Territories) and RAF Detachment Labuan (in then British North Borneo).  Also in 1958, the first MOD civilian operators commenced work at Little Sai Wan and Batty's Belvedere.

  • In January and February, 1962, the remaining RAF personnel of 367 Signals Unit were re-billeted at Kai Tak. The Little Sai Wan base was taken over by civilians as 'Composite Signals Organization, Little Sai Wan' - part of GCHQ. 

  • In May, 1980, penetration of Little Sai Wan by hostile agents was alleged in the book 'GCHQ: The Negative Asset' by former civilian operator, Jock Kane. His book became the subject of a High Court injunction in May, 1984, effectively preventing its publication in England (see p.353 'GCHQ: The Secret Wireless War 1900 - 1986' by Nigel West)

  • In 1982, the Composite Signals Organisation moved from Little Sai Wan to Chung Hom Kok, west of Stanley, and the buildings at Little Sai Wan were used by a variety of Government organizations, including the Fire Training School.  In early 1987, the base was used as a temporary camp for Vietnamese boat refugees, and further land reclamation for the building of a new housing scheme was underway.

  • Finally, in 1988, the RAF buildings at Little Sai Wan were demolished.

  • The land has now been redeveloped as the community of Siu Sai Wan, although some remnants of the previous occupation can still be found on the hillside above the area.

  • To see many photos taken by members of 367SU and others, relating to Hong Kong and RAF Little Sai Wan, follow this link:

 

https://gwulo.com/image?field_gallery_tid=12709&items_per_page=All

  • If any ex-member of 367 Signals Unit, RAF, would like to share memories of their time in Hong Kong and at RAF Little Sai Wan or any of the outstations, they can use the Gwulo 'Comments' link at:

https://gwulo.com/comment/reply/5713#comment-form

  • The 367 Association was formally wound up on October 13th, 2018  A service of Dedication for a replacement floor tile recording the existence of 367 Signals Unit, Royal Air Force, was held at St Clement Danes Church in The Strand, London, on October 12th, 2018

Photos from this event can be viewed at:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/bbZLLGdeJpYUmLRB8

 

  • Here's a link to an interesting video about the early days of wireless intercept:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwbzV2Jx5Qo

75th Anniversary of VJ Day, 15th August 2020

During the excellent BBC coverage of this event centred on the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, there were brief film clips shown of wreath laying at various Commonwealth War Graves around the world.  The extensive site at Sai Wan featured.  In the later evening programme presented by Joanna Lumley, a lady who was interned at Stanley as a child, gave a very stark description of life as an internee.

lswpano.jpg
 

For more information about 367SU or the 367 Association, contact the Webmaster

Site updated

16th August 2020