The 367 Association
367 SIGNALS UNIT - HISTORY
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.
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from two of our oldest ex-members - Doug Whitehowles and Jim Sheader -
indicates 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 Doug
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, and the title was changed to 367 Signals Unit on 1st October
- the units were part of the UK's military signals intelligence
(Sigint) set-up, more popularly known as the 'Y' Service
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.
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 1945, 367 and 368 Wireless Units moved from Burma to Hong Kong, with operations and billets at Wang Fung Terrace, Tai Hang (Happy Valley)
- the two units merged in 1946 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
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.
to Albert Forsyth
for this information]
- 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. Also in 1958, the first MOD civilian operators commenced work at Little Sai Wan and Batty's Belvedere.
- there were D/F outstations of the unit at Kong Wei, RAF Sek Kong in the New Territories, and RAF
Detachment, Labuan in what was then British North Borneo - now Sabah, a
Federal Territory of Malaysia since 1963.
1961, the last Regular and
National Service wireless operators and linguists arrived
and the phasing out of RAF personnel began. Civilian operations were progressively moved to Batty's Belvedere.
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)
1982, the Composite Signals Unit 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
- finally, in 1988, the RAF buildings at Little Sai Wan were demolished.
- the physical changes occurring over the period 1957 - 2000 are clearly evident in our
collection of photos.
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14th November 2016