|Intelligence Corps History
The British Army's Intelligence Corps (INT CORPS) was formed on the 15th July 1940 under Army Council Instruction 1020/40, with reference to Army Order 112/40.
The object of this instruction was to " provide for the efficient centralized administration in one corps of personnel employed on intelligence, cipher and censor duties, included in the war establishments of various formation headquarters, etc, who under the existing system are found from several different arms"
Before this, Intelligence Staff Officers, and supporting NCOs and other ranks, were seconded or drawn from other Corps and Regiments, for intelligence duties, but no formal intelligence or security units were established. In previous conflicts intelligence staffs had of course existed from Walsingham's in Elizabethan times, to Wellington's "exploring officers" and, the Corps of Guides on the North West Frontier, to the formation of an "intelligence corps" and it's Fusilier association in the Great War.
Intelligence Corps personnel, as well as the Field Security tasking and operations described elsewhere, conducted the cipher duties, in both the signals transmission and security role envisioned, but also were heavily involved in "Y" service operations - signals intercept intelligence. These operations were conducted both at the famous Station X at Bletchley Park where "Ultra" covered the breaking of the Enigma codes, Beaumanor Hall, Leicestershire, and the current home of the Intelligence Corps at Chicksands in Bedfordshire, and in the field. Capt John Makower received the Military Cross for extreme coolness under fire, whilst continuing "Y" duties during enemy bombing, in North Africa.
Headquarters staff who had previously been drawn from a number of Regiments and Corps were transferred to the Intelligence Corps. Indeed, the Corps did not accept direct entrant officers until 1958. The HQ General Staff system adopted after the Great War included intelligence officers at Divisional level. A Major as GSO 2 (Int), and a Captain as GSO 3 (Int) as well, were included within the HQ establishment table. These officers were supported by a number of Intelligence Corps collators and clerks, forming the HQ Intelligence Section.
As the War progressed and a greater number of formations required intelligence staffs a HQ and Depot structure was established, with the Officers Wing formed at Oxford University (Pembroke and Oriel Colleges), and other ranks inducted through Winchester. By mid-1942, however, the requirements of the Corps, and the need to surrender facilities to the increasing number of US personnel in southern England meant that the Corps needed a new home. The new HQ Intelligence Corps and Depot was established, incorporating both Officers and Other Ranks, at Wentworth Woodhouse (near Rotherham) Yorkshire.
Intelligence training now fell under a Brigadier i/c, and the Schools at Cambridge, and Matlock, Derbyshire (School of Military Intelligence), reported through him to MI at the War Office, and the Directorate of Military Training. These trained troops by the conclusion of WW2 numbered over 1700 officers and men. In the years since WW2 the Corps has had 3 other homes - first at Maresfield, East Sussex - then to Templar Barracks at Ashford, Kent and finally to Chicksands in Bedfordshire.
Intelligence Corps personnel, from formed units, to HQ staff, to those personnel who were "cap badged" Intelligence Corps but, actually conducted covert activity for SOE, operated in each Theatre during WW2 from Africa, the Middle East, India, the Far East and of course Europe . Some were decorated (5 DSO's, 8 MC's and 2 bars, and 7 MMs and a further number received foreign decorations and awards), and many were killed (mostly with FSS - possibly 15), wounded or captured. Indeed, simply wearing a cap badge may have invited intense interrogation on capture, or even torture. Corps shoulder flashes were not worn on operations.
Many well known figures were Intelligence Corps personnel, either during WW2 or in the immediate post-war period. Authors, including John Le Carre (under his real name of Cornwell), Ted Allebury, and Laurens Van-der-Post, Historians, including Correlli Barnett and Trevor-Roper, Politicians including for a short period Enoch Powell, Diplomats such as Sir John Killick (FSO of 89 FSS), Businessmen and even Dress designers such as Hardy Amies and Teddy Tinling.
ROLL OF HONOUR
"Lest We Forget..."
1940 - 1945
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