Intelligence Corps (United Kingdom)
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Badge of the Intelligence Corps
15 July 1940–
|Allegiance||Queen Elizabeth II|
|HQ Directorate Intelligence Corps||Chicksands (1997–)
Templer Barracks (−1997)
|Nickname||Int Corps, Greenfly|
|Motto||Manui Dat Cognitio Vires
Knowledge gives strength to the arm
|March||Rose & Laurel (quick)
Purcell’s Trumpet Tune and Ayre (slow)
|Colonel-in-Chief||HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG, KT, OM, GBE, AC, QSO, PC|
|Colonel Commandant||General Sir Nick Houghton|
|British Army arms and services|
|Royal Armoured Corps|
|Army Air Corps|
|Combat Support Arms|
|Royal Corps of Signals|
|Royal Army Chaplains Department|
|Royal Logistic Corps|
|Army Medical Services|
|Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers|
|Adjutant General's Corps|
|Small Arms School Corps|
|Royal Army Physical Training Corps|
|General Service Corps|
|Corps of Army Music|
- For the Israel Defense Forces corps, see Intelligence Corps (Israel).
The Intelligence Corps (Int Corps) is one of the corps of the British Army. It is responsible for gathering, analysing and disseminating military intelligence and also for counter-intelligence and security. The Director of the Intelligence Corps is a Brigadier.
At the end of the 19th century, the first movements towards establishing a group specifically tasked with collecting military intelligence for the British Army were looked at, but it was viewed as not playing by the rules, and a bit underhand. By the 1900s, intelligence gathering had become better understood, to the point where a counter-intelligence organisation was formed – MI5 by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DoMI) under Captain (later Major-General) Vernon Kell. Overseas intelligence gathering began in 1912 by MI6 under Commander (later Captain) Mansfield Smith-Cumming.
First World War
Although the first proposals to create an intelligence corps came in 1905, the first Intelligence Corps was formed in August 1914 and originally included only officers and their servants. It left for France on 12 August 1914. The Royal Flying Corps was formed to monitor the ground, and provided aerial photographs for the Corps to analyse. Prisoner-of-war and refugee debriefing techniques were developed.
Irish War of Independence
During the Irish War of Independence, Intelligence Corps operatives were used in an unsuccessful battle to defeat the Irish Republican Army. The Cairo Gang were overwhelmingly Intelligence Corps operatives. On Bloody Sunday, 1920, twelve of these agents were assassinated at their lodgings by Michael Collins' Squad.
Due to this and similar failures, the Intelligence Corps was disbanded in 1929.
Second World War
On 19 July 1940 a new Intelligence Corps was created by Army Order 112 and has existed since that time. The Army had been unprepared for collecting intelligence for deployment to France, and the only intelligence had been collected by Major Sir Gerald Templer. The Corps trained its operatives to parachute at RAF Ringway, who were then dropped over France as part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Intelligence Corps officers were involved in forming the highly-effective Long Range Desert Group, and the Corps officer Lt Col Peter Clayton was one of the four founders of the Special Air Service (SAS). Around 40% of British Army personnel at Bletchley Park were in the Intelligence Corps, and another important function was analysing aerial photography for ground support.
The Corps gained its regimental march in 1956, first played at Kneller Hall, the home of the Royal Military School of Music. From August 1957, the Corps first had a permanent cadre of officers; previously all personnel serving in the corps were officers from other parts of the Army, on occasional tours. Throughout the period of the Cold War, Intelligence Corps Officers and NCOs (with changed insignia) were posted behind the Iron Curtain, in East Germany, to join in the intelligence gathering activities of the British Commanders'-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany (Brixmis).
On 1 February 1985 the corps was officially declared an 'Arm' (combat support) instead of a 'Service' (rear support).
- Major T. G. J. Torrie, August – September 1914
- Captain Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell, August – December 1914
- Major Dunnington Jefferson, December 1914 – 1918
Intelligence Corps personnel wear a distinctive cypress green beret with a cap badge consisting of a union rose (a red rose with a white centre) between two laurel branches and surmounted by a crown. (According to the late Gavin Lyall, the Intelligence Corps cap badge is referred to jokingly as "a rampant pansy resting on its laurels".) Their motto is Manui Dat Cognitio Vires ("Knowledge gives Strength to the Arm"). The corps' quick march is "The Rose & Laurel" while its slow march is Purcell's "Trumpet Tune & Ayre".
Their headquarters, formerly at Maresfield, East Sussex, then Templer Barracks at Ashford, Kent, moved in 1997 to the former Royal Air Force station at Chicksands in Bedfordshire along with the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre and the Intelligence Corps Museum, in Campton and Chicksands off a roundabout of the A507 near the junction with the A600.
Training and promotion
The corps has a particularly high proportion of commissioned officers, many of them commissioned from the ranks, and also a high percentage of female members. Non-commissioned personnel join as an Operator Military Intelligence (OPMI) or Operator Military Intelligence (Linguist) (OPMI(L)). They do basic 14-week military training at the Army Training Centre Pirbright. OPMI will complete a 27-week special-to-arm training at Templer Training Delivery Wing, Chicksands, at the end of which they are promoted to Lance Corporal. OPMI(L) will complete a 78-week language course at Chicksands, during which they will be promoted to Lance Corporal and also qualify for specialist pay.
Promotion continues to be more rapid than in most other corps. Officers complete their training at Sandhurst and then a Junior Officers Course (JOC) to qualify them as Intelligence Corps Officers.
The main formation is 1 Military Intelligence Brigade. 1 MI Brigade has responsibility for three regular and two Territorial Army battalions:
- 1 Military Intelligence Battalion – Rheindahlen
- 2 Military Intelligence Battalion – Netheravon
- 3 Military Intelligence Battalion (Volunteer) – London
- 4 Military Intelligence Battalion – Bulford
- 5 Military Intelligence Battalion (Volunteer) – Coulby Newham
The tri-service 15 Psychological Operations Group is also based at Chicksands and comes under the remit of the Intelligence Corps and 1 MI Brigade.
- Official website
- Intelligence Corps Association
- 3 MI Bn (V) – London
- 5 MI Bn (V) – Coulby Newham
- The Intelligence Corps in the Second World War The Services 1930 – 1956 at www.BritishMilitaryHistory.co.uk
- Clayton, Anthony (1996). Forearmed: History of the Intelligence Corps. Brassey's (UK) Ltd. ISBN 978-0080377018.
- Gibson, Steve (2012). Live and Let Spy: Brixmis the Last Cold War Mission. The History Press, Stroud, Glos. ISBN 978-0-7524-6580-7.
Order of precedence
Royal Army Dental Corps
|Order of Precedence||Succeeded by
Royal Army Physical Training Corps