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The End of an Era of Royal Signals White Helmets

Recognised by many as the best in the world the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team has been performing for over 80 years.

We had the pleasure to watch their performance at Abbey Hill Steam Rally 2017 and unfortunately it's their last year of existence. The reason for disbanding the team as mentioned online is that “It looks old fashioned”. From what we learned from the team they will be replaced by a more technologically centric recruitment team who will work around the country to demonstrate their capabilites in communications and cyber activities.

The Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team, also known as the White Helmets, is a group of serving soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals of the British Army, who give public displays of motorcycling skills, acrobatics and stunt riding.

The team's origins lie in precision motorcycling and horseriding demonstrations given by instructors and students from the British Army Signal Training Centre in Yorkshire, beginning in 1927. Riders were normally employed as despatch riders. They have had many names in the past including 'The Red Devils', before the Parachute Regiment team of the same name existed, Mad Signals (a nickname given on account of the poor brakes on the motorcycles) and only adopted the name 'White Helmets' in 1963.

Today's team consists of 22 soldiers and 1 officer, all serving within the Royal Signals. Potential new members begin with a two-week selection course in October and the whole team spends the winter learning routines and stunts, culminating in an opening display in April where white motorcycle helmets are ceremonially presented to successful new recruits by the Signal Officer-in-Chief. The remainder of the summer is spent touring, giving public performances at events throughout the United Kingdom and abroad.

I haven't heard of them before this very day but there is something majestic in White helmets, Triumph motorcycles, army uniforms, stunts , fire and their unique history. Its sad to think that 90 years of existence has come to an end.

Of course this does not mean that the heritage of the Team will be forgotten with memories and equipment being moved into the Corps Museum to immortalise the Team.

If you're interested in to finding out more about White Helmets or checking out some amazing pictures, posters and articles, Facebook Page here you can find it all.

[ image added by Milly Milburn ]


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