Unit History: Intelligence Corps

Intelligence Corps

Founded originally within the War Office itself in the 19th Century and expanded during the very early 20th century as Intelligence gathering became critical.

Both Mi5 (counter-intelligence) and Mi6 (external UK intelligence) were formed as part of the IC at this time also being formed in 1909.

The first proposed formation of an official army unit came in 1905 and the corps was founded in 1914 right at the outbreak of the Great War. and first landed in France on 12th August that year.

The Royal Flying Corps was formed to monitor the ground and provided aerial photographs for the Intelligence Corps to then analyse.

This first unit lasted until 1929 when during the Irish War of Independence 12 Intelligence Corps agents were assassinated by the Irish Republican Army.

In 1940 a new Corps was established and has existed since that time.

The Corps carried out various tasks during the war including the training of parachutists for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and Corps officers were instrumental in the setting up of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), the forerunner of the SAS (Special Air Service).

In addition, a large percentage of staff at Bletchley Parks Cipher unit were from the Corps. 

Many Intelligence Corps worked both in the DDR (East Germany -Soviet) side as well as supporting troops during the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland.

Intelligence Corps personnel wear a distinctive cypress green beret with a badge consisting of a red rose with a white centre between two laurel branches and surmounted by a crown.

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 Henry Purcell's Trumpet Tune & Ayre.

Their headquarters, formerly at Maresfield, East Sussex, then Templer Barracks at Ashford, Kent and then moved in 1997 to the former RAF station at Chicksands in Bedfordshire along with the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC) and the Intelligence Corps Museum. DISC was renamed as Joint Intelligence Training Group in January 2015.

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