History Overview

Royal Australian Corps of Signals in Vietnam

We get a number of enquiries and confusion from Signals Veterans on which unit they served with in  Vietnam.  The confusion comes from the fact that the Royal Australian Corps of Signals (Signals) was using the “Brick System” for Force Signals.  In many cases, Soldiers were posted to a Troop which was under the Administration and Operational control of a Squadron.  Unfortunately the records only reflect the Troop not the Squadron and therefore some books and the Vietnam Veteran Roll don’t reflect the Signals units correctly.  Signal units in Vietnam with Administration and Operational Command, are detailed as follows:


 709 Signal Troop (Composite including Heavy Radio, Med Radio and Sigcen)

“First Signals Unit in Vietnam”
(Self-contained from 25 May 1965 until absorbed into 145 Signal Squadron)
 527 Signal Troop (Additional Signals manpower)
From 14 September 1965 and under command of 709 Sig Troop until absorbed into 145 Signal Squadron

Australian Army Assistant Group Vietnam (AAAGV) Signal Detachment

“Last Signals in Vietnam”
(12 March 1972 - December 1972)

Force Signals


145 Signal Squadron

The first elements of the Squadron arrived in South Vietnam, 1st April 1966.  The unit was formed on the "brick" system and had a headquarters and a number of Signal Troops as follows:
506 Signal Troop (Med Radio Relay)
520 Signal Troop (Tech Maint)
552 Signal Troop (Light Sigcen)
581 Signal Troop (Med Sigcen)
Plus 527 Signal Troop and 709 Signal Troop were absorbed into the Squadron structure.

110 Signal Squadron

2 March 1967 - 12 March 1972, replaced 145 Signal Squadron with the following Troops:

503 Signal Troop (Med Sigcen)
532 Signal Troop (Med Radio)
557 Signal Troop (Tech Maint)
561 Signal Troop (Light Sigcen)
704 Signal Troop (Med Radio Relay)
709 Signal Troop (Base Comms Sig)

Individual replacements into 110 Signal Squadron became the norm after 1967 effectively replacing the “brick” system.

Special Signals


547 Signal Troop

Electronic Warfare (EW) from 1 April 1966 - 23 December 1971

Det 152 Signal Squadron

Special Air Service (SAS) from 31 August 1966 - 15 October 1971

Det 127 Signal Squadron

Members worked on fixed communication installation tasks but were normally detached to HQ AFV or Force Signals for temp duty in Vietnam.

Task Force Signals


103 Signal Squadron

April 1966 - July 1967

104 Signal Squadron

March 1967 - December 1971 replacing 103 Signal Squadron
Individual replacements into 104 Signal Squadron became the norm after 1967.

Note:  A number of 145 Signal Squadron members served with 103 Signal Squadron and deployed with them on operations.  Up to forty members of 110 Signal Squadron served with 104 Signal Squadron at any given time, with some deployed on operations also.

Other Signals

Signals members also served with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), on Small Ships (Engineers) and in Headquarter roles.



3 August 1962

Captain B. R. Tinkler arrives in South Vietnam to serve with AATTV - First member RA Sigs deployed in the war.


RA Sigs re-organised and re-equipped with US Radios (AN/PRC-25, AN/VRC-12 and AN/TRC-75) and Shelter Equipments.

8 July 1964

Warrant Officer Class Two Kevin Conway becomes the first Australian to die on active service in South Vietnam.

10 November 1964

The Prime Minister announces introduction of national service to increase the Army's strength from 22,750 to 37,500.

April 1965

2 Signal Regiment in Watsonia, Victoria, received warning order to form a composite troop of 50 to move to a concentration area in Ingleburn, NSW - The start of the deployment of 709 Signal Troop to South Vietnam.

29 April 1965

The Prime Minister announces the dispatch of an infantry Battalion to South Vietnam, with an armoured personnel carrier (APC) troop, a signals troop and logistic support company.

25 May 1965

Captain Twiss, OC 709 Signal Troop, arrives in Saigon with small Force reconnaissance party.

June 1965

709 Signal Troop advance party arrives in Saigon by RAAF C130 aircraft - 7 members in South Vietnam with two AN/TRC-75’s and four Generators.

June 1965
(Next day)

First communications (CW) by 709 Signal Troop to Australia (6 Signal Regiment - Melbourne, Victoria) day after arrival.

8 June 1965

Main body of 709 Signal Troop arrive in Vung Tau, South Vietnam with the bulk of the 1 RAR Group on HMAS Sydney.

30 June 1965

First intake of National Servicemen starts recruit training in Australia.

July 1965

709 Signal Troop having trouble manning rear and forward links (Saigon) and providing services to 1 RAR Group at Bien Hoa.

July 1965

Major W.R.T. Bodger sent to South Vietnam to assess the Signals situation.

14 Sept 1965

527 Signal Troop arrives with 2nd Lieutenant Jock Lonie and 29 NCO’s and other ranks to assist 709 Signal Troop.

October 1965

HQ AAFV moved into the Free World Military Assistance Organisation building - New Communications Centre required but installed to fixed station standards by detachment from 127 Signal Squadron.

November 1965

104 Signal Squadron raised for service in South Vietnam at Wacol, Brisbane, Queensland.

December 1965

103 Signal Squadron raised by 1 Signal Regiment for deployment to South Vietnam at Ingleburn, Sydney, New South Wales.

April 1966

Australian forces in South Vietnam increased to a Task Force (1 ATF) with two battalions with supporting combat units plus RAAF Iroquis helicopters, Caribou Transport aircraft and Canberra bombers.  Also RAN maintained a destroyer on station off Vietnam.

1 April 1966

First elements of 145 Signal Squadron arrived in South Vietnam. - 145 Signal Squadron included a HQ Troop, 506, 520, 552, 527, 581 and 709 Signal Troop's.  Note:  527 and 709 Signal Troop's already in South Vietnam.

May 1966

103 Signal Squadron, commanded by Major P.D. Mudd, arrive in South Vietnam by air and HMAS Sydney and set up at Back Beach, Vung Tau.

26 May 1966

First National Serviceman KIA.


103 Signal Squadron deploys to Nui Dat by road and Chinook helicopters.

June 1966

The Australian signal centre and switchboard at Bien Hoa closed and SDS from Saigon to Bien Hoa ceased.

4 June 1966

Concentration of 1 ATF at Nui Dat is completed.

8 June 1966

547 Signal Troop advance party arrives in Vung Tau.

14 June 1966

547 Signal Troop arrives and deploys to Nui Dat.

17 June 1966

3 SAS Squadron with its Signal Troop from 152 Signal Squadron deploy to Nui Dat.

24 June 1966

547 Signal Troop starts EW operations.

July 1966

145 Signal Squadron installed VHF radio relay trunks using the AN/MRC-69 system interconnected HQ AFV at Cholon to 1 ALSG at Vung Tau via a repeater at VC Hill in the Vung Tau area.  Another link from Nui Dat to Vung Tau provided channels from HQ 1 ATF to I ALSG and HQ AFV.

7 July 1966

Communications centre opened at Vung Tau by 581 Signal Troop (part of 145 Signal Squadron).  At Nui Dat, the task force signal squadron (103 Signal Squadron) opened its communications centre, along with cipher, radio, switchboard and SDS services.

29 July 1966

547 Signal Troop detect enemy 275 Regiment transmitter moving towards Nui Dat.

14 August 1966

547 Signal Troop detect enemy 275 Regiment transmitter in the area of Long Tan.

18 August 1966

Battle of Long Tan - Task Force, 6 RAR and Artillery Command Radio Nets provided good communications to support the battle.

January 1967

SAS RA Sigs members now Detachment 152 Signal Squadron. Note:  152 Signal Squadron part of SAS Regiment.

March 1967

139 Signal Squadron raised as a reinforcement unit for 104 Signal Squadron at Enoggera, Brisbane.

March 1967

Elements of 110 Signal Squadron, commanded by Major E.H. Hynes, arrived to begin the relief of 145 Signal Squadron and by end of May, 110 Signal Squadron had taken over all responsibilities for force signals.

28 March 1967

Signalman B. A. Logan of 552 Signal Troop, 145 Signal Squadron KIA whilst attached to US 11 ACR on Operation PORTSEA.

16 April 1967

104 Signal Squadron Farewell Parade part of the Corps Day Parade by 4 Signal Regiment, 7 Signal Regiment and 129 Signal Squadron at Wacol.

April 1967

104 Signal Squadron deploys to Vietnam under the command of Major G.L. Lawrence to replace 103 Signal Squadron at Nui Dat and takes over the 1 ATF signals communications.

July 1967

Signalman Reginald Armstrong from 104 Signal Squadron WIA at FSPB Bill, Thua Tich while work as LO Radio Operator attached to the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division (US Army) on Op Paddington.

August 1967

547 Signal Troop starts ARDF missions in Cessna 180A aircraft.

9 August 1967

Corporal D. J. Donnelly of 104 Signal Squadron accidentally killed cleaning F1 Sub Machine Gun in unit lines at Nui Dat.

September 1967

6 Signal Regiment (Melbourne, Australia) converted their end of the link to AFV to fully automatic operation.

6 May 1968

Viet Cong force reached the north west corner of the Phu Tho compound (Saigon) and rear link communications to Australian cut.

11 May 1968

The AUSTCAN Receiver Station located at Long Binh (with US STRATCOM receivers) was attacked with 120mm rockets.  Signalman James Cole 110 Signal Squadron WIA.

12 May 1968

Elements of 104 Signal Squadron with advance party of HQ 1 ATF deployed to FSPB Coral.

13 May 1968

Main body of 1 ATF arrives at FSPB CORAL to bring the 104 Signal Squadron signals group to 51 including two 3 man detachments from 110 Signal Squadron and the 7 man detachment of US 53 Signal Battalion. Signalman Rowan Gamble 104 Signal Squadron WIA.

16 May 1968

Signalman A.H. Young from 104 Signal Squadron KIA at FSPB Coral and two other 104 Signal Squadron Signalmen WIA (John Koosache and Ian Crosthwaite).

1 June 1968

Signalman John Veall from 110 Signal Squadron WIA at the Canberra BEQ in Saigon.

August 1968

110 Signal Squadron relocated its HQ and Q Store from Saigon to Vung Tau.

9 August 1968

AUSTCAN Transmitter Station installed and began continuous operation from Nui Dat.

29 September 1968

Signalman D. E. Abraham from 104 Signal Squadron, KIA near Blackhorse (Long Khanh Province) in US Huey Helicopter.

September 1968

AUSTCAN Receiver Station installed and operating Type 1 Rhombic Antennas at Long Binh.

October 1968

547 Signal Troop deploys experimental DF equipment at Nui Dat.  Known as 'The Cell'.

November 1968

104 Signal Squadron deploys COMMCEN to FSPB Lion in ACV for the first time.

27 December 1968

104 Signal Squadron started section patrols for one or two days outside the 1 ATF base perimeter.

6 May 1969

Warrant Office Class Two M.W.T. Gill a member of RA Sigs KIA while serving with AATTV.  Warrant Office Class Two Simpson received the Victoria Cross trying to save Gill.

November 1969

AUSTCAN Receiver Station relocated from Long Binh to Vung Tau.

February 1970

547 Signal Troop new ARDF equipment located in Pilatus Porter aircraft.

June 1970

104 Signal Squadron patrol under the command of SSM WO2 A.B. Huston engage 20 enemy 4 kilometres east of Nui Dat.

25 August 1970

Signalman S. T. Moore from 110 Signal Squadron dies of neuroblastomma in Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria after becoming ill in Vietnam in September 1969.

September 1970

Signalman D. A. B. Wallis from 110 Signal Squadron returns to Australia and died on the 17 March 1972 in the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria.

30 October 1970

MRS Vung Tau activated with MRS Saigon closing a few days later.

November 1970

Call home service opened for Australian Soldiers using 4 wire telephones.

January 1971

AUSTCAN Transmitter Station relocated from Nui Dat to Vung Tau.

February 1971

EMU Switchboard (Vung Tau) TC-10 replaced with an AN/MTC-1.

May 1971

110 Signal Squadron handled 156,000 messages of which 117,800 passed through the MRS, the greatest number ever handled by RA Sigs MRS in Vietnam.

August 1971

EMU Switchboard handled an average of 8,000 calls a day - the highest load ever.

August 1971

547 Signal Troop relocate to Vung Tau with only the ACV detachment remaining at Nui Dat.

18 August 1971

The Prime Minister of Australia announced that the Vietnam Force would be withdrawn.

October 1971

104 Signal Squadron relocated to Vung Tau with a few detachments remaining at Nui Dat to help complete the withdrawal.

October 1971

Last members of Detachment 152 Signal Squadron (SAS) leave Vietnam.

17 October 1971

547 Signal Troop - AVC last vehicle to leave Nui Dat.

6 November 1971

104 Signal Squadron main body boarded HMAS Sydney for the return trip to Australia and its new home in Ingleburn.

13 December 1971

547 Signal Troop stops operations in South Vietnam.

16 December 1971

HF rear link to Melbourne was formally closed at 0005z after 61/2 years of continuous operations and carrying 1.3 million messages.

23 December 1971

547 Signal Troop departs South Vietnam for Australia.

19 January 1972

MRS Vung Tau closed and reopened in Saigon.  EMU switchboard cut over to SB-86/PT.

1 February 1972

Vung Tau Area COMMCEN (110 Signal Squadron) closed at 2400z.

February 1972

AUSTRALIAN ARMY ASSISTANCE GROUP VIETNAM (AAAGV) - Signal Detachment formed and starts taking over communications to Australia from 110 Signal Squadron.

February 1972

EMU switchboard (110 Signal Squadron) closed.

29 February 1972

SDS and ADS (110 Signal Squadron) discontinued.


12 March 1972

110 Signal Squadron leaves Vietnam.

17 December 1972

Last message transmitted from South Vietnam by AAAGV.  Total of 1,790,000 messages transmitted by RA Sigs during the war.

18 December 1972

Australia's military commitment to South Vietnam ends with AAAGV leaving Vietnam, with its Signal Detachment.

30 April 1975

North Vietnam Army tanks smash through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon - The war is over.

18-24 November 1979

The remarkable and striking painting 'Signals in Vietnam' is hung in the foyer of the School of Signals at Watsonia and dedicated by Brigadier K. P. Morel during RA Sigs Corps Week.

3 October 1987

25,000 men and women of the Australian Vietnam Veterans community march through Sydney, which marked their 'Welcome Home' from Vietnam.

3 October 1992

Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial is dedicated at its sacred site on ANZAC Parade in Canberra.

19 August 2008

RASigs South Vietnam Plaque dedicated at the Australian War Memorial