James Gerard Richard Shortt, also known as Jim Shortt, Jimbo, Seamus Shortt, Colonel The Chevalier James Shortt, James Shortt of Castleshort, or The Baron Castleshort (born Croydon, 16 September 1953), is an English born Director General of the International Bodyguard Association (IBA). In 2009 Shortt was exposed by a British tabloid newspaper as passing himself off as a much-decorated SAS and Parachute Regiment veteran.
James Shortt was born on 16 September 1953 in England, to Peter Henry and Maura Shortt. From an early age he studied martial arts and opened his first dojo at age 14. In 1970, his family moved and for a time lived in Ireland. Shortt studied in the Catholic priesthood for 5 years and entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order. In 1976, he left the order and married Georgina Barrett, with whom he had 3 children.
In 1990, Shortt became the Director General of the International Bodyguard Association, following the death of its founder Lucien Ott. Under Shortt's leadership, the IBA head-quartered at "Castle Cosey, Castlebellingham" in County Louth, Ireland. In March 2009, Irish media uncovered the fact that Shortt's baronial "castle" was in fact only a modest house built within the village of Castlebellingham.
According to his website, Shortt and his wife style themselves "Baron and Baroness Castleshort", members of the Niadh Nask, a self-styled nobiliary association devised by Terence Francis MacCarthy, the bogus Irish chieftain. Shortt's association with MacCarthy led him to send threats to critics of MacCarthy in 1999 when MacCarthy had been outed by the press as a fraud. In one such threat Shortt styled himself as "Colonel Commandant" of "The Royal Eóghanacht Galloglas Guard" which he stated was the "duly sworn bodyguard of Terence Francis MacCarthy". In the letter, he warned those who criticised MacCarthy that they had been placed under surveillance. Following the MacCarthy Mór scandal which led MacCarthy to flee Ireland after public humiliation, Shortt became a member of the "Nia Naisc"—a Scottish re-creation of the fake Irish order created by MacCarthy in the 1980s. In his biography which appears on several International Bodyguard Association websites, Shortt claims to be a member of the "Irish Papal Awards Association" and the "UK Association of Papal Knights" for having been made a Knight Commander of St Gregory by Pope John Paul II "in recognition for his work in towards moving the Cold War to an end".
Shortt has authored several books dealing with military special forces units—particularly the British SAS. He has also made appearances in several books and magazine articles. In The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons Short is described as a "British Royal Marine (TA)" and that "Shortt has other military training as well, but details of it are still classified". In Terry Whites's The SAS Fighting Techniques Handbook, Shortt is thanked by the author for his insights in close personal protection and counter-terrorism. The author also states in his acknowledgements that Shortt is a "former member of the British Parachute Regiment and Special Air Service". The Finnish martial arts magazine BudoExpress carried an interview with Shortt in which he alludes to service in Northern Ireland and the Falklands war.
In 2009, the British satirical magazine Private Eye reported in its Squarebasher column that in February 2008, Brian Ware, who headed the departmental security department at the Cabinet Office, announced that Shortt had been appointed as "Security Assessor to provide an independent overview... of the guarding function, its capabilities and performances at the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, following the privatisation of the in-house guard service and their outsourcing". Private Eye published parts of Shortt's CV in which he claimed to have been awarded 15 "honours", two Papal knighthoods, and "Military Parachute & Special Forces Awards" from 12 countries. Private Eye continued to quote Shortt's CV, which claimed that he had served in the 10th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, and B and HQ Squadron 21st Special Air Service Regiment. Another one of Shortt's claims quoted was that he was "the first outsider to train KGB (Crimea 1991)".
On 29 January 2009, the British tabloid newspaper The Sun ran an article, based heavily on the Private Eye piece which stated Brian Ware had been suspended for allowing a man on to Cabinet Office property without ensuring he had proper authorisation. The article also stated that Shortt had never belonged to either the Special Air Service (SAS) or the Parachute Regiment. According to The Sun, Shortt had only been a medic in the Territorial Army and had left within months of joining. The following day The Sun quoted several claims listed on Shortt's CV including his claim of being a Gant d’Or ("golden gloves") in French Savate and a 9th Dan black belt in traditional Japanese Ju Jutsu from the "Dai Nihon Seibukan in Kyoto, Japan".
In the 13 March 2009 issue of the Irish magazine The Phoenix, it was reported that Shortt was preparing to take legal action against ARRSE (The Army Rumour Service)—a website largely made up of serving and retired members of the British Armed Forces. Members of the website had previously been looking into Shortt's military credentials and claims of participation in various counter-terrorist operations. According to The Phoenix, Shortt has informed IBA members that he is being besieged by a hate campaign orchestrated by jealous business rivals and disillusioned former students. In consequence, Shortt has informed colleagues that his lead solicitor has several court cases in preparation. In July 2009, The Dundalk Leader reported that Shortt had contacted Dermot Ahern, the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, concerning what he called "cyber stalking". The Irish newspaper reported that the man whom Shortt claimed as a stalker had also been in contact with Ahern's office over concerns of alleged paramilitary training conducted by Shortt during his bodyguard classes conducted at Castlebellingham. Also in July, The Phoenix reported that IBA videos recorded at Castlebellingham, viewable on YouTube, show Shortt demonstrating the use of an assortment of firearms, including a Kalashnikov assault-rifle.
- The Special Air Service with Angus McBride (Illustrator), Osprey Publishing
- British Special Forces, 1945 to the Present (Uniforms Illustrated)
- Beginning Ju-jitsu: Ryoi-shinto Style with Katsuharu Hashimoto, and James Short
- British Parachute Regiment (Uniforms illustrated)
- "The Lordship of Castleshort". www.ibabodyguards.com. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Squarebasher. "Private Security: Soldiers of misfortune". Private Eye.
- Lewis, Jack; Campbell, Robert K; Steele, David (2007). "The Combat Training Team". The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons (7th, illustrated, revised ed.). Gun Digest. p. 129. ISBN 0-89689-498-3.
- "The Honourable Society of the Irish Brigade". Retrieved 15 February 2009.
- Dunn, Tom Newton (29 January 2009). "Fake SAS man given Cabinet security job". The Sun. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- "Ryoi Shintô Ryû Clubs Worldwide". www.rsrjujutsu.com. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
- Goldhawk (13 March 2009). "Baron Castleshort's Legal Threats". The Phoenix.
- Murphy, Sean J. "Irish Chiefswatch". Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Murphy, Sean J. "Niadh Nask: An Alleged Irish Order of Knighthood". Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Goldhawk (19 September 2008). "The Baron and his bodyguards". The Phoenix.
- "The Whip". The Sun. 30 Jan 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
- White, Terry (2007). "Acknowledgements". The SAS Fighting Techniques Handbook (revised ed.). Globe Pequot. p. vii. ISBN 1-59921-081-9.
- BudoExpress, number 1/94.
- Squarebasher. "Cabinet Security A Shortt story". Private Eye (Issue 1228).
- Jackman, Nicholas (15 July 2009). "Cyber-stalkers push local man to action". The Dundalk Leader.
- Goldhawk (17 July 2009). "Baron Castleshort's Lessons". The Phoenix.