Gold and silver anodised aluminium headdress badge to the Royal Corps of Signals, being a Queen's crown above the figure of Mercury, right hand aloft, left hand holding a caduceus (ancient herald's wand), his left foot on a terrestrial globe with a sprig of laurel on each side. Behind the globe a scroll bearing the motto CERTA CITO (Swift and Sure). Mercury and globe in silver, remainder in gold. A slider to reverse, the top of which is attached to the reverse of the crown and a pair of lugs to the reverse of the Mercury figure fitting over the shank of the slider. The slider is impressed with the name of the manufacturer.
In 1870 the Royal Engineers formed a Telegraph Troop. In 1884 this became a Telegraph Battalion and in 1908 a separate Signals Service was formed within the Royal Engineers. In June 1920 the RE's Signal Service became the Corps of Signals, some six weeks later, in August, being granted the Royal prefix in recognition of the service performed under the RE badge during the First World War.
The figure of Mercury, messenger to the gods, was considered a suitable symbol for those involved with communications. It was first used by the Royal Engineers Telegraph Battalion as a letter-head and adopted as a headdress badge by their successors in 1920.
The Signals based their design on the bronze figure of Mercury by Giovanni of Bologna, sometimes contracted to "Giambologna", in the Pitti Palace in Florence. The figure is almost universally known within the Army as "Jimmy" and one of the explanations for this is that it was a contraction of the sculptor's name. An alternative version has it that it derived from the name of a boxer, Jimmy Emblem, a Signaller who represented the Corps between 1921 and 1924 and became British Army Champion in 1924.
The badge was initially in a single piece but it was re-designed in 1946 (sealed September 1946), losing the oval surround and having the crown as a separate piece. A motto scroll was added, bearing CERTA CITO. Invariably rendered as "Swift and Sure" it translates more accurately, if less apposite in context, as "fixed quickly". The crown changed to a Queen's crown after the accession of Elizabeth II, adopted in 1954. The anodised aluminium version was sealed in March 1955 but possibly not issued until 1958.