The battalion departed for England aboard the Susan B Anthony on 12 January 1944.
They arrived in France 30 days after the initial D-Day landings and immediately set out on its mission on cable construction across Northern France to support the breakout. From France, the battalion supported missions in Luxembourg, Belgium, and Holland, before entering Germany on 8 December 1944, where it stayed until the end of the war.” – Excerpt from the 40th Signal battalion website.
The 40th consisted mainly of Afro-American Soldiers that distinguished themselves through excellence during the Second World War. Most of them survived the experience and returned home to their families. Sadly to say, there is very little information of these soldiers brave contributions to the war effort, but if there is any consolation to those who served in the 40th, less than 10% died during the European Theater of Operations.
If you wish to read more on African American soldiers in World War Two, feel free to check out my links page.
Description of the Insignia Shield: Sable, on a bend tenne’ fimbriated argent between in chief a peach leaved and in base a horse’s head coupled two telegraph poles of single arm each pale wise of the third. On a wreath of the colors argent and tenne’ a mural crown of the first masoned sable and charged with a lion passant guardant azure, armed and lanued gules and enfiled by an oriental polearm of the last. Motto: Bene Factum (Well Done).
Shield: The background of the shield is black. The bend is orange bordered silver for Signal Corps. The silver peach is symbolic of the state of Georgia, the origin of the cadre and original officers of the 29th Signal Construction Battalion. The horse’s head represents the state of activation – Kentucky. The telephone poles are symbolic of telephone construction, the type of work done by the unit; the two poles represent the second unit from one origin – the 29th Signal Construction Battalion.
Crest: The lion adapted from the arms of Normandy commemorates the unit’s initial combat service, while the mural crown with its five embattlements represent the total combined campaigns credited the organization for service in France and Europe during World War II. The polearm is indicative of service in Vietnam and its two outer scarlet blades allude to the Meritorious Unit Commendations awarded during that period.
I hope that this website educates the young and reminds elder generations of what it was like during World War Two. If any survivors of this battalion do exist, please contact me as soon as possible. I would love to hear from you. I have sourced most of website through material available from what I’ve read through transcriptions and records held in The NARA Archives in Maryland.