History of the Royal Military Police

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The history of military policing in Great Britain dates back to the middle ages. The post of Provost Marshal has existed since William of Cassingham was appointed by Henry III on 28 May 1241 (the original title was Sergeant of the Peace).

During the Peninsula War from 1809–14, the Duke of Wellington asked for a Provost Marshal to be appointed to hang looters; by the end of the Peninsula War the Provost Marshal controlled 24 Assistant Provost Marshals. Members of this Staff Corps of Cavalry were identified by a red scarf tied around the right shoulder; whilst some consider this to have been the origin of the famous 'Red Cap' of the Royal Military Police and its forebears, it was more likely a precursor of the 'MP' armband (and now the Tactical Recognition Flash), which identifies the modern Military Policeman or Policewoman.

Although disbanded in 1814 at the end of the Peninsular War, the Duke of Wellington re-formed the Staff Corps of Cavalry to police the occupying British Army in France following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Later, in the Crimean War, a Mounted Staff Corps of almost 100 troopers from the Police Constabulary of Ireland, with some recruited from the Metropolitan Police, was established to prevent the theft of supplies, and to maintain discipline in camps. This 'Corps' was disbanded with the cessation of hostilities.

The Provost Marshal has always had men detached to assist him, an arrangement formalised by the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War; but only since 1877 has there actually existed a regular corps of military police. In that year, the Military Mounted Police (MMP) was formed, followed by the Military Foot Police (MFP) in 1885. The Military Mounted Police first engaged in combat in 1882 at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir.[1] Although technically two independent corps, the two effectively functioned as a single organisation. In 1926 they were fully amalgamated to form the Corps of Military Police (CMP). In recognition of their service in the Second World War, they became the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP) on 28 November 1946 under Army Order 167.

On 6 April 1992 the RMP lost its status as an independent corps, and together with the Military Provost Staff Corps, became the Provost Branch of the Adjutant General's Corps. It was, however, permitted to retain the name "Royal Military Police", together with its cap badge and other distinctive insignia including the red cap.

On 5 March 1995, the Mounted Troop was disbanded after 118 years of service to the crown and the colours.[2]

Significant dates[edit]

1511 First Provost Marshal of whom a personal record is known

1813-14 Staff Corps of Cavalry raised by Wellington for Peninsular War

1815-18 Staff Corps of Cavalry reformed for Waterloo Campaign

1854-55 Mounted Staff Corps formed for service in the Crimea

1855 Military Mounted Police (MMP) formed to police the new military cantonment at Aldershot

1877 MMP established as a Permanent Corps

1882 Military Foot Police (MFP) formed for campaign service in Egypt

1885 MFP established as a Permanent Corps

1918 Royal Air Force Police and Royal Air Force Police Special Investigations Branch formed

1926 Corps of Military Police (CMP) formed with amalgamation of MMP and MFP

1937 Field Security Police (FSP) Wing formed

1940 Army Special Investigation Branch formed - FSP joins new Intelligence Corps

1946 Royal Prefix granted to CMP

1953 First RMP Direct Entry Officers accepted

1977 HM The Queen becomes Colonel-in-Chief

1992 Formation of Adjutant General's Corps of which RMP forms a part of the Provost Branch

First World War[edit]

In 1914 the Corps of Military Mounted Police and the Corps of Military Foot Police had a total establishment of nearly 5000 men. When the British Expeditionary Force was sent to France in that year, each division had one Assistant Provost Marshal in the rank of Major and several NCOs. The Provost Marshal was a Colonel until 1915, and a Brigadier-General thenceforward.

During the retreat from Mons the MPs were busy dealing with soldiers who, through exhaustion or the general confusion of battle, had either lost or became detached from their units. By operating stragglers' posts, the MPs were able to return soldiers to their units. These posts were also well placed to pick out deserters and those Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL).

The First World War was the conflict where traffic control became an important function. This was identified particularly after the Battle of Loos, when there was a lot of confusion involving two British divisions. As well as traffic control, the BEF provost units dealt with the maintenance of law and order (i.e. the detection of crime and the arrest of offenders), custody of prisoners of war until handed over to detention facilities, surveillance, control and protection of civilians.

The work undertaken by MPs was not all carried out behind the lines, and sometimes they came under heavy fire. During this conflict, the Military Police suffered 375 casualties. Sixty-five received the Distinguished Conduct Medal and 260 received the Military Medal.

Second World War[edit]

(from left to right) WWII Vulnerable Points shoulder badge as worn by VP Wing, WWII Traffic Control shoulder badge as worn by TC Wing, CMP armband as worn during WWII, present-day RMP Flash.

During the Second World War the Military Police grew from 4,121 all ranks to over 50,000 all ranks within six major branches of specialists:[1]

Provost Wing - Responsible for general policing. Provost Companies were included in the order of battle of Home Commands, Armoured, Infantry and Airborne Divisions, as well as at Army and Corps level and with independent Brigades. From 1942, "Ports Provost" Companies were raised, consisting of a mix of Provost and Vulnerable Points Sections, which were deployed on security and policing duties within ports and docks.

Field Security Wing - First formed in 1937, personnel of the FSW wore Lincoln green cap covers and brass shoulder titles on their tunics with the letters "FSP", to distinguish them from the rest of the Corps. They wore the standard CMP cap badge, but unofficially ground down the wording "MILITARY POLICE" from the lower scroll of the badge. In July 1940 the Wing was absorbed into the new Intelligence Corps.

Vulnerable Points Wing - Formed in 1940 to provide security of static locations and establishments. They were known as "blue caps" from the Oxford blue cloth covers worn on their service dress caps. Originally intended to act as static Companies and detachments, VP Coys were later deployed in North West Europe, guarding prisoner of war camps and other static installations. The VP Wing was quickly phased out at the end of the war, but re-appeared briefly in the Supplementary Reserve/Army Emergency Reserve between 1950 and 1961.

Special Investigation Branch - The SIB. was first formed in 1940, with 19 detectives from the Metropolitan Police transferred to the Army for deployment in France. From this small beginning the Branch expanded into numerous Sections which were deployed both in the UK and overseas, providing the Corps with its own criminal investigation Department to conduct more detailed and protracted investigations into organised crime and serious offences such as murder.

Traffic Control Wing - Formed in 1941, TC Coys were deployed throughout the United Kingdom, releasing Provost Companies from the tasks of traffic control. TC Coys were later deployed in the Middle East, Italy and North-West Europe. The Wing was phased out of the Corps by 1946.(Many sources over the years continue to erroneously state that personnel of the Traffic Control Wing wore white cloth cap covers. This is not the case. CMP (TC) personnel did not wear cap covers when on duty, unless they had undergone a basic course in police duties, in which case they were authorised to wear red top covers as per the Provost Wing).

Some 950 Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks of the Corps of Military Police were killed in action or died in service; a high proportion of the latter in traffic accidents and several were murdered whilst carrying out their duties. In addition, 28 Officers were killed or died whilst serving with CMP units.

Operation Overlord[edit]

On 6 June 1944, the Allies launched Operation Overlord, the invasion of the European mainland. CMP units taking part included:

  • 101st Provost Company, CMP (On 18 July 1944 this company landed, under enemy attack, at Courseilles-Sur-Mer)
  • 150th Provost Company, CMP

"The Battle of Normandy and subsequent battles would never have been won but for the work and co-operation of the Provost on the traffic routes." (Field Marshal Montgomery, 1945)[citation needed]

Operation Market Garden[edit]

In 1944, the Allies launched Operation Market Garden, the airborne assault to capture bridges over the Lower Rhine in the Netherlands. The 1st (Airborne) Divisional Provost Company, CMP captured the police station in Arnhem, but then suffered heavy losses when the II SS Panzer Corps counterattacked.

Operation Varsity[edit]

On 24 March 1945, the British 6th Airborne Division successfully launched Operation Varsity at Wesel, Western Germany. This airborne operation was part of the bigger Operation Plunder, the crossing of the Rhine.

CMP units taking part in Operation Varsity were:

  • 6th (Airborne) Divisional Provost Company, CMP
  • HQ, 245th Provost Company, CMP

CMP units taking part in Operation Plunder included:

CMP units also served with British units of the 14th Army in the Burma campaign 1944-1945 (e.g. 2nd Division)

At war's end, General Sir Miles Dempsey paid the following tribute: "The Military Policeman became such a well known figure on every road to the battlefield that his presence became taken for granted. Few soldiers as they hurried over a bridge which was a regular target for the enemy, gave much thought to the man whose duty it was to stand there for hours on end, directing the traffic and ensuring its rapid passage".[citation needed]

Supplementary Reserve and Territorial Army[edit]

Supplementary Reserve[edit]

In 1938, the Secretary of The Automobile Association (AA), Sir Stenson Cooke, a former member of the Military Foot Police, approached the War Office with an offer to raise a Supplementary Reserve for the Corps of Military Police, from employees of the AA. This offer was quickly accepted and 850 AA patrolmen signed on as members of the CMP (SR) by 1939. These were mobilised in September 1939 and used to raise new Provost Companies for the British Expeditionary Force in France and for Home Forces in the United Kingdom. In March 1940, 151 Provost Company, CMP was formed in France, predominantly from AA Supplementary Reservists, as the first Traffic Control Company in the British Army. It distinguished itself during the Battle of France but due to its high casualties was disbanded on returning to England in June 1940.

The Supplementary Reserve was restarted in 1949 and renamed as the Army Emergency Reserve in 1951. Numerous RMP (AER) units were raised, administered by HQ RMP AER at Inkerman Barracks, Woking; these included Army and Corps Provost Companies and Vulnerable Points Companies as well as SIB Sections. The RMP AER recruited heavily from ex-Regular and National Service RMP personnel, as well as the civilian Police and Automobile Association. The annual training commitment of the AER units was lower than that of the TA, with personnel only required to attend one 15-day camp each year, with no weekly or monthly continuation training. In 1951 the composition of RMP AER was as follows;

The RMP (AER) Pool - comprising an establishment of 44 Officers and some 830 NCOs and Other Ranks, who would reinforce Regular Army and TA units in the event of mobilisation for war.

Seven General Headquarters Provost Companies (240 - 246 (GHQ) Pro Coy, RMP (AER).

Two Home Command Provost Companies (153 and 154 (HC) Pro Coy, RMP (AER).

Two Port Provost Companies (2 and 3 Port Pro Coy, RMP (AER).

One Provost Signal Company (1 Prov Sig Coy, RMP (AER).

Eleven Vulnerable Points Companies (300 - 310 V P Coy, RMP (AER).

Six Special Investigation Branch Sections (81 - 86 SIS Sec, RMP (AER).

By 1961 this had been reduced to 243 (GHQ) Pro Coy, 161 Force Pro Unit, 162 and 163 Rear Area Pro Unit, 1 Port Task Force Pro Coy, RMP (AER), plus 81 and 82 Det (Rear Area) SIB, RMP (AER).

Territorial Army[edit]

In February 1939, as part of the reorganisation of the Territorial Army Field Forces announced the previous Autumn, the formation of thirteen Territorial Army Companies of the Corps of Military Police was authorised, on a scale on one for each TA Division. These Companies were raised from April 1939 onwards as follows;

The Mobile Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - St Pancras, London; in November 1939 this was converted to No.2 Line of Communications Provost Company, CMP.

42 (East Lancashire)Division Provost Company, CMP (TA)- Manchester.

43 (Wessex) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Salisbury and Bournemouth.

44 (Home Counties) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - St Pancras, London.

48 (South Midland) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Birmingham.

49 (West Riding) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Leeds.

50 (Northumbrian) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA)- Hull.

51 (Highland) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Dundee. The bulk of this Company was captured at St Valery in June 1940 and a new Company under the same title had to be formed back in England.

52 (Lowland) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Glasgow.

53 (Welsh) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Llanelli. This converted to form 105th Provost Company, CMP in 1941 and a new 53rd Div Pro Coy was then formed.

54 (East Anglian) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Chelmsford. In 1943 this converted to Beach Group duties and was redesignated 242 (Headquarters) Provost Company, CMP.

55 (West Lancashire) Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Southport.

The London Division Provost Company, CMP (TA) - Finsbury, London. In late 1939 it became 1 London Div Pro Coy and then 56 (London) Division Provost Company, CMP in November 1940.

The TA was mobilised on September 1, 1939 and on September 6 ceased to exist, as it was merged with the Regular Army for the duration of the war. Early in 1940, each of the former TA Companies formed a second, duplicate, Company, normally by detaching one or more Sections to form the nucleus of the new unit, and in this way the 9 (Scottish), 12 (Eastern), 15 (Scottish), 18 (Eastern), 23 (Northumbrian), 38 (Welsh), 45 (Wessex), 46 (North Midland), 59 (Staffordshire), 61 (South Midland), 66 and 2 London (later 47) Division Provost Companies were raised. Not all the former TA Companies survived the war intact but by April 1946 the remaining units had been stood down.

When the TA was reconstituted in January 1947 Provost Companies were once again formed for each Armoured, Airborne and Infantry Division in the TA, plus three Corps Provost Companies and several independent Brigade Provost Units. Successive reorganisations during the 1950s and 1960s altered the composition of the RMP (TA, units being raised as follows;

16 Airborne Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - London. In 1956 this became 44 Independent Parachute Brigade Group Provost Company, RMP (TA), with Sections in London and Liverpool.

42 (Lancashire) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Manchester. It became North-West District/42 Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1961.

43 (Wessex) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. In 1961 it was split to form 43 (Wessex) Division/District Provost Company, RMP (TA) and The Aldershot District Provost Company, RMP (TA).

44 (Home Counties) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Maidstone, later moving HQ to Tunbridge Wells. In 1961 it became 44 (Home Counties) Division/District Provost Company, RMP (TA).

49 (West Riding and North Midland) Armoured Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Leeds. In 1956 this became 49th (West Riding and North Midland) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA)and then North Midland District/49 Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1961.

50 (Northumbrian) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Hull. It became Northumbrian District/50 Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1961.

51/52 (Scottish) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Dundee. In 1950 it became known as 51st (Highland) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) and HQ moved to Perth, becoming 51 (Highland) Division/District Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1961.

53 (Welsh) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Cardiff, becoming 53 (Welsh) Division/District Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1961.

56 (London) Armoured Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Stoke Newington. In 1956 it became 56 (London) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) and when this Division disbanded in 1961, re-roled as 251 (GHQ) Provost Company, RMP (TA).

9 Independent Armoured Brigade Provost Unit, RMP (TA) - Birmingham. In 1956 it became 2 Port Task Force Provost Company, RMP (TA)

23 Independent Armoured Brigade Provost Unit, RMP (TA) - Southport.

30 (Lowland) Independent Armoured Brigade Provost Unit, RMP (TA) - Glasgow. In 1949 it became 52 (Lowland) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA) and split in 1961 to form 52 (Lowland) Division/District Provost Company, RMP (TA) and The East Lowland District Provost Company, RMP (TA).

107 (Ulster) Independent Infantry Brigade Provost Unit, RMP (TA) - Belfast. This was redesignated in 1961 as The Northern Ireland Command Provost Company, RMP (TA).

161 (East Anglian) and 162 (East Anglian) Independent Infantry Brigade Provost Unit, RMP (TA) - These two separate units were formed in 1950 at Chingford and Hemel Hempstead respectively. In 1956 they amalgamated to form 54 (East Anglian) Infantry Division Provost Company, RMP (TA), becoming 54 (East Anglian) Division/District Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1961.

120 (Northern) Corps Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Leicester. Renumbered as 21 (Northern) Corps Pro Coy, RMP (TA) in 1951, then again as 252 (GHQ) Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1955.

121 (Western) Corps Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Wolverhampton. Renumbered as 22 (Western) Corps Pro Coy, RMP (TA) in 1951, then re-roled as 1 Corps Provost Signal Company, RMP (TA) in 1955.

122 (Southern) Corps Provost Company, RMP (TA) - Finsbury. Renumbered as 23 (Southern) Corps Pro Coy, RMP (TA) in 1951, then again as 253 (GHQ) Provost Company, RMP (TA) in 1955, relocating to Tulse Hill, London.

Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve[edit]

On April 1, 1967 the TA and AER were amalgamated to form the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (T&AVR), becoming simply The Territorial Army in 1978. The following RMP (Volunteers) units were formed;

163 (A.A) Ports Provost Company, RMP (V), 1 Port Task Force Provost Company, RMP (V) (later renumbered as 164 Provost Company) and 83 Section, SIB RMP (V). These were all located at Central Volunteer HQ RMP (V) at Rousillon Barracks, Chichester, and were successors to the former RMP AER units. The units continued to recruit heavily from the Automobile Association (163) and the civil Police (164).

243 Provost Company, RMP (V) - HQ Edinburgh, Sections at Southampton and Belfast. Raised from 51 (Highland), 52 (Lowland), East Lowland District, Aldershot District and Northern Ireland Command Pro Coy, RMP (TA). In 1975 Southampton Det transferred to 253 Pro Coy and Belfast Section formed a new Company, 254 Provost Company, RMP (V).

252 (GHQ) Provost Company, RMP (V) - HQ Stockton-on-Tees. Raised from NM Dist/49 Div, Nbrian Dist/50 Div and Yorks District Pro Coy, RMP (TA).

253 (GHQ) Provost Company, RMP (V) - Tulse Hill, London. Raised from 251, 253, 44 (HC) Div/Dist, 54 (EA) Div/Dist and 44 Para Bde Pro Coy, RMP (TA). The latter formed 1 Parachute Provost Platoon, RMP (V) which was administered as part of 253 Pro Coy but remained attached to 44 Parachute Bde (V). It was disbanded in 1978.

Cold War[edit]

A Royal Military Police soldier using field glasses to look across the Berlin Wall from a viewing platform on the western side, 1984.

In 1946 King George VI granted the 'Royal' prefix to the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP) in recognition of its outstanding wartime record. (CRMP was chosen to avoid confusion with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP)

In 1946, the Robertson-Malinin agreement introduced Military Missions into the post-war Control Zones of Germany. The Soviet Union maintained missions (SOXMIS) in the U.S., French and British zones. In the British sector the Soviet Mission was based in Bünde near Herford. British Forces maintained a mission (BRIXMIS) in the Soviet Zone (East Germany).

The RMP had the task of policing the Soviet mission in Bünde, and this was tasked to 19 (Support) Platoon RMP, who became known as "white mice". This unit's job was to wait outside the Soviet mission until a SOXMIS vehicle appeared and then follow it.

In restricted areas, Soviet vehicles were not permitted to leave the autobahns (not even in parking areas) unless accompanied by U.S., British or French military police.

The agreements remained in force until 2 October 1990, when all three missions were deactivated on the eve of Germany's reunification.

In Berlin, within 2 Regiment RMP, 247 Provost Company RMP was responsible for manning the British Sector checkpoints and Border Patrols. As part of 2 Regiment, an armed unit of German nationals, 248 German Security Unit, was maintained; its commander was a German national in the rank of Major and an RSM from a British infantry regiment acted as liaison officer. This was disbanded in 1994, when the British Garrison in Berlin was closed. A third company within the 2 Regiment was 246 Provost Company in Helmstedt.

Korean War[edit]

The Korean War was fought between 1950 and 1953. As part of British and Commonwealth Forces the RMP deployed:

  • 27 Brigade Provost Section RMP
  • 28 Brigade Provost Section RMP

The Corps had one fatality during this conflict:

  • Sergeant D. R. Kinnear

Malayan Emergency and the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation[edit]

The Malayan Emergency lasted from 1948 to 1960. The UK committed British forces (including the RMP) to combat communist guerilla forces. The Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation lasted from 1962 to 1966. Between 1948 and 1956, thirteen members of the RMP lost their lives in this conflict. Britain still maintains military forces in Brunei, including an RMP unit.

The Suez Canal Zone Emergency and Suez Crisis[edit]

Between 1951 and 1955, British forces stationed in the Suez canal zone were engaged in operations against terrorists. The RMP lost eight members during this emergency. The RMP were also involved in Operation Musketeer, the Suez Crisis in 1956.

Cyprus Emergency[edit]

On 1 April 1955 a terrorist campaign was started by the Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston (EOKA) in Cyprus. It lasted until 1959.

Units of the RMP involved which were involved during the emergency were:

  • 1st Guards Brigade HQ RMP. Waynes Keep, Nicosia
  • 1 Independent Infantry Division Provost Company (Detachment) RMP. HQ Nicosia
  • 3 Infantry Division Provost Company RMP. Famagusta
  • No 6 Army Guard Unit RMP. Lakatamia, Larnaca, Dhekelia
  • 227 GHQ Provost Company RMP. Nicosia, with detachments at Famagusta, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Kyrenia
  • 51 Brigade Independent Provost Company RMP
  • Cyprus District Provost Company

The following RMP casualties are buried at the Waynes Keep Cemetery, which is located in the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus.

  • Lance-Corporal W. R. Bell, 227 GHQ Provost Company RMP
  • Lance-Corporal W. N. Cameron, 51 Independent Infantry Brigade Provost Company RMP
  • Lance-Corporal R. J. Downing, 3 Infantry Division Provost Company RMP
  • Lance-Corporal R. B. Leitch, 227 Provost Company RMP
  • Lance-Corporal D. W. Perry, HQ 3 Brigade RMP
  • Lance-Corporal A. R. Shaw, 3 Independent Infantry Division Provost Company RMP
  • Lance-Corporal G. A. Todd
  • Lance-Corporal B. F. Turvey
  • Lance-Corporal B. D. Welsh

In 1955, Major Greenaway, who was the Officer Commanding 1 Division Provost Company (Detachment), was paralysed after being shot in the back; he was repatriated to the UK.

United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus[edit]

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions. After the 1974 Greek coup-d'etat and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the UN Security Council extended and expanded the mission to prevent that Cyprus dispute turning into war. RMP have served with the Force Military Police Unit(FMPU), from the outset.

The FMPU is 1 of only 2 multi-national sub units within UNFICYP, the other being the Mobile Force Reserve. The FMPU is commanded by a RMP major who is both OC FMPU and Provost Marshal. Seven other members of the RMP form the spine of the 25 strong unit. Other contributing nationalities are Argentina, Hungary and Slovakia. The British contribution to FMPU is now the longest enduring operational commitment for RMP.

Kenya, 1952–1960[edit]

During this period the British Army was conducting operations during the Mau Mau Uprising. An RMP unit was based in Nairobi.

Aden[edit]

The following RMP units were involved in the Aden Emergency (1964–1967):

  • 24 Brigade Provost Unit RMP (Falaise Barracks, Little Aden)
  • Port Security Force RMP (based at HMS Sheba until 1967)
  • Joint Services Police (Army Navy and Airforce) based at HQ P&SS Steamer Point until 1967

Northern Ireland: Operation Banner[edit]

During the troubles which started in 1969, four members of the RMP have lost their lives.

In 1977, in her Silver Jubilee Year, Her Majesty the Queen became Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of the Royal Military Police.

Falklands Conflict: Operation Corporate[edit]

160 Provost Company RMP, located in Aldershot sent a detachment with the task force for the Falklands conflict. Fortunately all returned home safe and sound.

After the Argentine forces surrendered, 5 Infantry Brigade Provost Unit RMP remained on the islands, sworn in as Special Constables until the Falkland Islands Police Force were able to become operational again. After the re-capture of South Georgia (Operation Paraquat), the Argentine commander Lieutenant-Commander Alfredo Astiz was taken to the UK and questioned by the RMP and Sussex Police at the Keep, Roussillon Barracks, Chichester about the murder of Swedish and French nationals several years before. As there was no jurisdiction for extradition to Sweden or France, he was repatriated to Argentina by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Post Cold War[edit]

Middle East: Operation Granby[edit]

In 1991, British forces as part of US-led coalition forces invaded Kuwait and Southern Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm. The British name for this operation was Operation Granby.

RMP units involved were:

  • 203 Provost Company RMP - 7th and 4th Armoured Brigades (1 (British) Armoured Division). This unit was a composite of various RMP units in United Kingdom Land Forces and British Forces Germany
  • 174 Provost Company RMP - Force Maintenance Area, One section attached to 203 Pro.

The RMP suffered one fatality:

  • Staff Sergeant David Tite

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

During 1994 the British Army deployed units to Bosnia as part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), which was later superseded by IFOR and then SFOR. These included:

  • 111 Provost Company Coy RMP - Force Military Police Unit (FMPU) support. The company was based in Vitez, Gornji Vakuf, Kiseljak, Maglaj and Split
  • Elements of 24 Airmobile Brigade Provost Unit (156 Provost Company, based in Colchester, England) provided the British Force Military Police Unit (FMPU) for UNPROFOR (UK Operation Grapple 5) between Oct 1994 and April 1995 based as above and then re-deployed as the Brigade Provost Unit when 24 Airmobile brigade deployed to Ploce in May/Jun 1995.
  • 115 Provost Company RMP (based in Osnabruck, Germany) provided the British Force Military Police Unit (FMPU) for UNPROFOR (UK Operation Grapple 7) between August and December 1995 and then reverted to its unit designation of 4th (UK) Armoured Brigade Provost Unit RMP as part of IFOR until April 1996.

RMP personnel have also been involved in the European Union Force (EUFOR), which took over in 2004.

Kosovo (Operation AGRICOLA)[edit]

On 12 June 1999, the UK sent 19,000 troops into Kosovo as part of KFOR. Lead units of the 5 Airborne Brigade, which included the Royal Engineers and RMP, had to deal with booby traps in road tunnels before the Force could advance into Kosovo and seize the Kačanik defile.

Iraq (Operation TELIC)[edit]

On June 24, 2003, following the Invasion of Iraq, six Royal Military Police soldiers from 156 Provost Company of the 16 Air Assault Brigade were assaulted and killed by an Iraqi mob numbering several hundred at a police station in Majar al-Kabir in Southern Iraq. The Town was known for banditry and Lawlessness, the people there insisted that they had liberated themselves from Ba'athist party occupation and did not want coalition troops there, British tactics in sweeping for weapons angered the population, Some of the soldiers were shot and others beaten to death. A couple of days after the incident, members of the British SAS arrived in the town, they then gathered intelligence on who was responsible and withdrew from the town under fire by armed Iraqis, however British military commanders discouraged the SAS from going back in and arresting those responsible.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Regiments That Served With The 7th Armoured Division, Military Mounted Police and Military Foot Police https://archive.is/20120803210512/http://www.ian.a.paterson.btinternet.co.uk/orgothers.htm. Archived from the original on 2012-08-03.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Royal Mounted Military Police". Rmpmounted.com. 1970-06-08. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  3. ^ Urban, Mark, Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq , St. Martin's Griffin , 2012 ISBN 1250006961 ISBN 978-1250006967,p.17-18