History - Milintellhg

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Second World War:

In the years leading up to the Second World War no effort was put into contingency planning for wartime Intelligence.
The Army was less prepared for this second Great War than it had been for the first.
But for the work of Major, later Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templar there would have no intelligence organisation at all.
On 04 September 1939. His work, supported by Captain (Retired) F C Davies MC who trained the security sections,
allowed the British Expeditionary Force to deploy to France with 31 Field Security Sections.
Upon this small foundation the Corps eventually grew to 3040 officers and 5930 other ranks.
The Corps was formally constituted with the consent of King George VI on 15 July 1940, with the formation being notified
on 19 July 1940 in Army Order 112.
The skills of the Corp’s soldiers in languages and interrogation were one again used to extract information from the Prisoners of war,
and the civilian population of countries liberated by the Allies.
The Field Security Sections also boasted an Airborne Section with 89FSS being formed in June 1942 and Lance Corporal Loker
being the first cap-badged member to jump from a Whitley bomber over Manchester Ringway Airfield (on the site of the modern Manchester Airport).
89 Military Intelligence Section still serves with 16 Air Assault Brigade, the modern successors of General Urquart’s 1 Airborne Division.
Other members of the Corps were to learn to parachute at Ringway before being dropped as Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents in
Europe and the Far East.
SOE was tasked by Winston Churchill to ‘Set Europe ablaze’ through acts of sabotage behind enemy lines. The SOE units also collected
information and intelligence.
The exploits of SOE were portrayed in the official 1946 film ’Now It Can Be Told’ that showed the training and deployment of two agents,
one of whom was Harry Ree, an Intelligence Corps Captain. Ree, a Mancunian with an accent so strong that he had to operate in the Alace
region in order to disguise his rather unique French accent, successfully put out of operation a Peugeot factory producing tank parts.
Attempts to flatten the factory by air raids had failed - Ree succeeded by having a quiet word with the owner who obligingly sabotaged his own plant.
Later shot crossing from France to Switzerland. Ree was awarded the DSO.
Corps members were also involved in the formation of the Long Range Desert Patrol Group and the Special Air Service (SAS).
Lt Col Peter Clayton, Intelligence Corps, being one of the four original founders.
The Photographic Interpretation wing of the Corps was re-established because General, later Field Marshal,
Sir Alan Brooke did not believe that the RAF had the skills required to support ground operations.
The Photographic Interpreters (now known as Imagery Analysts - IAs) were to give imagery support to all the major operations of the war,
and many minor ones.
Imagery was analysed and supplied in support of the successful Bruneval raid by the Commandos in 1942 when key German radar equipment
was captured.
Similarly support was given to the Dambusters raid on the Mohne Dams.

It was Army Photographic interpreters that identified the V1 rocket sites at Peenemunde and in the Pas de Calais in April 1943, and later the
operation bodyline team identified the V2 rocket sites in 1944.

Most famously the Intelligence Corps Photographic Interpreters identified the German Panzer units resting in the Arnhem area just prior
to the launch of Operation Market Garden.
Signals Intelligence developed beyond all recognition during the war compared to the simple tactical interception and direction finding of the First World War.
The importance of the teams working to crack the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park is now well known - the Corps contributed greatly to the
work at the locations, plus the outstations that collected the raw information.
One such collection site is now the home of the Corps - Chicksands in Bedfordshire.
About 40% of the army personnel at Bletchley were cap badged Intelligence Corps.
An Enigma machine can be viewed at the Museum of Military Intelligence.
At the tactical level, box bodied vehicles, known as ‘Gin Palaces’, operated as mobile signals interception units providing support to operations at Corps and Divisional level.
The Terrence Cuneo painting of Captain Makower and Sgt Swian illustrates the dangers faced by the Corps’ soldiers operating, then as now, close to the front.
Once again representatives of the Corps were ‘in at the kill’ at the war’s end and soon formed a key element of the various armies of occupation in both Europe and the Far East.
Colonel Ewart was Montgomery’s interpreter when the Germans surrendered at Luneburg Heath.
In January 1945 the Corps’ establishment was some 3040 officers and 5930 soldiers with 1553 attached officers.
The Intelligence Corps played a prominent part in rounding up war criminals, and members were directly involved in the arrest of HeinrichHimmler at Bremervoerde.
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