Army

Army's NATO-Exclusive Unit Rebranded

628 Signal Troop has been renamed 280 Signal Squadron in recognition of its high operational tempo.

Soldiers from the British Army’s only unit permanently assigned to NATO have gathered to mark its rebranding.

Meeting for the last time as 628 Signal Troop at base at Dorset's Blandford Camp, the group has been given a new name and officer commanding.

Lieutenant Colonel Torsten Peters, Commanding Officer, 1st NATO Signal Battalion, travelled from Germany to watch the group become 280 Signal Squadron.

Recognition as a squadron is a step up reflecting the high operational tempo and work done by its men and women.

The unit is held at readiness, regularly leaving behind its Blandford base in for NATO duty, with deployment to Romania, Lithuania and Afghanistan in recent years.

It contributes to the NATO Response Force and joins many multinational units to make up 1st NATO Signal Battalion.

A Deployable Communication Module, its role is to install and control strategic communication and information systems supporting a deployed NATO headquarters.

The unit regularly leaves its base in Dorset, but will soon move to a purpose-built barracks in Stafford.

The name change is "partly a formality" to "bring them in line" with the other NATO sub-units forming the Signal Battalion, suggest Colonel Jason Gunning, Corps Colonel, Royal Signals.

"The significant change will be when they move to a purpose-built barracks in Stafford, which is due to happen in 2023," he added.

The overcast ceremony also marked a change in leadership, Captain Will Higgins, Officer Commanding 628 Signal Troop for the past two years now reaching the end of his tenure.

Capt Higgings says it is "hugely significant" that the new label recognises a unit output which is "just a bit more than what could be considered a troop".

Regardless of the name-change, the role of the unit remains the same - likely to deploy to Afghanistan once more next year as 280 Signal Squadron.