In the Summer of 1940, rumours abounded that German forces were poised to invade Great Britain…
Brigadier Harry Thomas of the Intelligence Corps believed in hard facts and those came from proper intelligence, reported by seasoned professionals.
Aerial reconnaissance photos, for example, were valuable, of course, but they were no match for a couple of his finest operatives who were in the thick of the action. But would Captain Frank Draper and Sergeant Ollie Wentworth live long enough to deliver their vital reports?
Intelligence. The word conjures up a mental picture of fast cars, snappy dressing and the latest gadgets. The reality is somewhat different and military intelligence, far from being a contradiction in terms, can trace its roots to biblical times when Moses was told "go spy the land" (Numbers 13:17).
Prior to the Boer War the British Army tended to form ad hoc intelligence organisations during campaigns in order to provide the commander with the necessary information and intelligence to defeat our enemies. After each campaign the military intelligence organisations were disbanded.
Steps were taken to raise an Intelligence Corps on the outbreak of the First World War. Following the expiry of the British ultimatum to the Germans on 5th August 1914 some fifty or so individuals received a telegram inviting them to join the newly formed Intelligence Corps.
Former metropolitan Police Officers operated, as field security police, to great effort behind our own lines identifying enemy agents, capturing mutineers and protecting the Royal Family. Despite the good work by members of the Corps, by 1929 the whole of the Intelligence Corps was disbanded.
On the outbreak of war on 04 September 1939 the British Expeditionary Force deployed to France with 31 Field Security Police Sections and upon this small foundation the Corps eventually grew to 3040 officers and 5930 other ranks. The Corps was formally constituted with the consent of King George VI on 15 July 1940, with the formation being notified on 19 July 1940 in Army Order 112.
Post war the threat was from Communism and the Corps has played a major role in the games of counterespionage, intelligence and counter-intelligence that characterised the Cold War in Europe and Asia in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Since the Second World War, the Corps has deployed with the British Amy all over the world and in recognition of its meritorious service the Corps was declared an 'Arm' on 01 February 1985. An 'Arm' is defined as those Corps whose role is to be close in combat with the enemy.
The Intelligence Corps, to fans and detractors alike is known as the Green Slime due to the distinctive colour of its beret. It has always attracted unique soldiers in terms of temperament, character and demeanour; in the Intelligence Corps today you are likely to meet soldiers with advanced degrees.
Manui dat cognitio vires