Canadian Forces Base Kingston

E Squadron, Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics

The Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics (CFSCE), at CFB Kingston, Ontario, is the location of the SRS's Communicator Research training.

The Communicator Research (Com Rsch) 291 trade was created by the Canadian Forces restructuring of 1966. On inception, the trade was made up primarily from the members of the Royal Canadian Navy Communicator (Research) trade, combined with those members of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Radio and Telegraph Operator trade and the Royal Canadian Air Force Communication Operator trade who had previously been employed in SIGINT duties.[1]

Communicator Research operators are "trained to operate many varied types of special radio receivers and transmitters, operating in Morse, non-Morse and voice modes. In addition, [they] receive training in the operation of teletype, cryptographic, direction-finding and auxiliary computer equipments."[2]

The initial trade qualification course for the 291 trade (TQ3) lasts 28 weeks and is taught by E Squadron of the CFSCE, which in 1978 had 46 Communicator Research members assigned to it.[3] In addition to the TQ3 course, E Squadron teaches TQ5, TQ6, and 3 trade specialty qualification courses: TSQ 291.09 - Linguist Operator (Russian); TSQ 291.29 - Non-Morse; and TSQ 291.11 - Signal Development. (TQ4 is acquired through on-the-job training and field exams.) Another specialty course, TSQ 291.08 - Linguist (Russian), is taught at the Canadian Forces Language School in Ottawa.[4]

In addition, some advanced courses are taught at the Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station, in Pensacola, Florida, the location of US Naval, Marine Corps and Army SIGINT technical training. "Our technicians are trained at Pensacola, Florida. 'They are initially trained here (in Canada), but for upgrading courses on very sophisticated equipment they go down to the U.S.'"[5]

E Squadron's training is conducted in the Gloucester Building, named after HMCS Gloucester, Ontario (the former location of RCN communications research training), which closed in 1972. The Gloucester Building is a 3-storey, mainly concrete structure with several small antennae on its roof, located in the McNaughton Barracks section of the base. Although it is only a training building, security is high; the site is surrounded by a barbed wire-topped fence and a guard hut controls access to the building. Signs mounted at a number of points along the fence read: "Restricted Area -- No Unauthorized Entry". The building was constructed in 1971-72 at a cost of $795,164.[6]

1 Canadian Signals Regiment

Also located at CFB Kingston, but unconnected to the CFSCE, are 2 Squadron of 1 Canadian Signals Regiment, Canada's Land Force electronic warfare squadron, and a reserve unit, the 763 Electronic Warfare Squadron.[7] As of 1978, approximately 46 291ers and an unspecified number of other trade personnel were posted to 2 Squadron.[8] As of 1989, the strength of the reserve electronic warfare squadron was set at a paid ceiling of 102 personnel. It was also reported at that time that the unit had received "all its vehicles and some major Electronic Warfare systems."[9]


[1] "Communicator Research (291)," INTERCOM: Training and Information Magazine for the Canadian Forces Communication Command, Vol. 14, Issue 2, Special Edition, April 1978, p. 20.

[2] "Trades in the Canadian Armed Forces," pamphlet, National Defence, 1978.

[3] "Trades in the Canadian Armed Forces"; "E Sqn News," Tower Times, CFB Kingston newspaper, 27 September 1989, p. 14; "Communicator Research (291)," p. 22.

[4] "Communicator Research (291)," p. 22. These are the courses as they existed in 1978.

[5] Desmond Ball and Jeffrey Richelson, The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries, Allen and Unwin, 1985, p. 318; George Oake, "Ex-Forces agent claims Ottawa spies on envoys," Vancouver Sun, 5 December 1981.

[6] Personal observations; Defence Construction (1951) Limited Annual Report 1972-1973, 1973, pp. 12-13.

[7] Defence 90, Supply and Services, 1991, p. 112.

[8] "Communicator Research (291)," p. 22.

[9] Estimates, 1989-90, Part III: National Defence, Supply and Services, 1989, p. 60.

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