1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron History

In 1958, the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade was re-designated the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade Group and its headquarters was relocated to Calgary from Edmonton. On May 15, 1958 as part of this reorganization, 1 Signal Squadron was formed from elements of the 1 Canadian Divisional Signal Regiment in Borden Ontario. 1 Signal Squadron was garrisoned in Calgary.

Initially, Brigade Group Headquarters was a separate unit from 1 Signal Squadron. At that time, the Brigade Group Headquarters had its own integral administrative support section.  In 1968, for reasons of efficiency and cost effectiveness, the Brigade Group Headquarters and 1 Signal Squadron were combined into 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron.

1 Signal Squadron traces its heritage back to the formation of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals on October 24, 1903. In the early years of technical communications, small signal sections provided tactical communications for the Canadian Army’s various brigade headquarters. After the Second World War, communication requirements expanded greatly and the technical complexity of tactical communications increased significantly, necessitating the Army to expand the brigade-level signal sections into signal squadrons.

In July 1997, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters (1 CMBG HQ) and Signal Squadron (Sig Sqn) moved with most of the units of the Brigade to Edmonton. All elements of the unit are housed in Building 400 in the Steele Barracks of the Edmonton Garrison. 

The year 2008 marked the 50th anniversary of 1 CMBG HQ and Sig Sqn. The highlight of local celebrations of this national event occurred on Thursday, May 1st 2008 when the unit exercised its Freedom of the City of Edmonton. The Freedom of the City parade included an official ceremony where Mayor Stephen Mandel and Major Gary Whelan re-enacted the historic rite of allowing a formed military unit to march through the city with  “Drums Beating, Bayonets Fixed and Colors Flying.” The Freedom of the City activities will also included a military parade, military band, historic vehicles as well as displays of old and new military communications equipment.  

As the largest source in the Brigade of communication professionals, the unit regularly dispatches members on tours and tasking across Canada and around the world. Unit members have deployed with every operation mounted by the Brigade, both internationally (e.g. Operation PALLADIUM to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation KINETIC to Kosovo, Operation APOLLO and OP ATHENA to AFGHANISTAN) and domestically (e.g.  Operation RECUPERATION during the ice storm in Ontario and Quebec, Operation ASSISTANCE during the Manitoba floods, and Operation GRIZZLY during the G8 Summit in the Kananaskis Valley). Unit members have also deployed on operations that have otherwise not impacted directly the units of the Brigade (Operation ADDITION to Ethiopia-Eritrea, Operation DANACA in the Golan Heights).

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1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron


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