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Intelligence Corps

Jock Bruce

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langleybaston1418 asked on another thread if the WW1 Intelligence Corps was a formed unit or not.

The answer is I don't know.

I think officers were simply posted to intelligence duties - one sees them in the Army List as e.g. 1st class Agent (Graded 'FF') - but remained in their parent regiment.

ORs in the 'Intelligence Police' were neatly hidden in the 10th R Fusiliers (Intelligence Corps) - it is obvious that the R Fus and (in the case of soldiers on TF engagements) the London Regt were used to issue numbers, etc. And the 'Intelligence Police' is a bit of a misnomer. This may have been the original role (counter-intelligence) for the Special Branch guys enlisted in Aug 14 but there are clerks and drivers, soldiers employed in intercept units and all sorts hidden in the R Fus.

There was presumably some sort of central organisation to sort out the business the 'R Fus' identity i.e. 'I say Chuffy, I need another few R Fus numbers for my funnies' - 'No problem, Binky, old boy', but I don't think there was a proper 'Corps' sturucture, Royal Warrant, depot, etc.

I'm not sure of the extent to which the Int Police/Corps operated as formed units in the field - I think they were 'attached' to Army or Corps HQs and presumably worked to the GS Branch.

The men I've seen commissioned from the 'R Fus' for int duties were commisisoned on the Gen List.

I don't know if I'll ever work it all out (and this is only a sideline to the 5th Seaforth) - Chuffy and Binky have done a good job of hiding their tracks.

I didn't know I could write so much about something I don't know about

Jock Bruce

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Guest Ian Bowbrick


So from what you have said IC men would have medals inscribed to the Royal Fusiliers, unless of course they had served overseas with another unit first - or was this not the case ie IC men had all previous overseas experience?

Thinking about the nature of the work, I would have thought that some overseas experience was desirable.

Are there any WO 95 documents available or does the nature of the work exempt this? I suppose an entry at Brigade HQ level might be the best to expect.

Umm, plenty to think about.


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Yes, this is a fascinating topic. Interesting to speculate on the precise nature of the duties performed by these men. One suspects that it may have been useful to provide a chap operating in counter intelligence work in the UK with a uniform and a cover story to divert unwelcome attention away from him.

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yes - it is fascinating and I have to fight against the fascination all the time.

I actually think there a few strands to the 'Int Corps'.

The first tranche, the 5 Aug 14 enlistments, are obviously earmarked in mobilsation planning and seem to be CID/Special Branch officers plus support staff. Safe to assume they had a designated role in counter-intelligence, field security, whatever.

They are allocated R Fus numbers - and this before 10 R Fus exist (although I must go back and look their papers to see if there are signs of 'bodging'). They are a fairly solid block of numbers.

There are also officers earmarked for intelligence duties who are whipped out of regimental appointments to intelligence jobs on mobilisation.

There are many more men employed on intelligence duties who turn up later on, and most of these have seen service overseas. The TF ones are renumbered with London Regt numbers and then renumbered again to a 'GS' R Fus number - again they seem to be largely in distinct number blocks.

There are a few things I've noticed about these - noticeable number of foreign descent (French, German, Swiss) which suggests language skills; more KLR than you would expect (cosmopolitan, trading city - languages again ?); huge numbers from London Regt and HAC; noticeable number ex-Army Cyclist Corps (recce & scouting skills ?).

From the medal rolls some were attached to HQs, some served in RE Sigs units, some appear to have spent periods attached to other units.

I've done little more than start on the medal rolls, chase papers for those commssioned and have a look at the census. Haven't looked at the published literature or at WO95s. The Int Corps museum is interested, but I'm trying really hard not to get sucked in - this was only ever a footnote to someone's PhD


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Would any of these intelliegence officers etc have been given roles to roam the battlefields so to speak gathering intel or was there job in 1914 more a security and debriefing of prisoners.

it seems almost strange that so little of this info is known, almost as if they were so secretive or perhaps thrown together that there was no official structure and planning to there roles?


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apart from noting that very few of the men I've looked at in the medal rolls are ex-MMP/MFP (precisely none) I haven't done anything along those lines. I suspect the pure intel gathering side of life was a GS matter.

I guess there would an overlap of interest between 'provo' and counter-intelligence in areas like refugee handling, black marketeers, etc. But I would be willing to bet the original ex-CID/Branch guys treated military 'plods' in the same way as they treated the average beat bobby in the Met.

I'll see what my tame expert has to say when he stops moving house.

You'll notice the liberal use of 'guess', 'suspect', etc in the above.


I guess that the British Army concept of intelligence gathering in war was largely based on a colonial/Boer model, which may not have worked too well across a fixed front line.

I have heard that a couple of the officers allocated to int duties roamed no man's land, but I suspect this was simply inviting trouble and an early death - anybody who has served in Northern Ireland knows that things get messy when the sneaky-beakys get going on your patch.

There is actually quite a lot available on the mechanics of intelligence in WW1 - but it needs digging for.


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The word from an Int Corps associate (which I'm told is the official version):

"The outbreak of the Great War saw the formation for the first time of an Intelligence Corps as such, and its first unit went to France with the original British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. The unit consisted of about fifty men, most of whom were teachers, journalists, professors and language scholars, recruited for their special knowledge. By 1916 these intelligence officers wore the green tabs and cap bands of specialists attached to the General Staff. The first Honours Lists of 1914 showed Intelligence Corps personnel receiving decorations for gallantry and merit.

In 1918 the Intelligence Corps in France, Flanders and Italy numbered over 3,000. But, despite its valuable service during the war, the Corps was slowly run down after the Armistice and was finally disbanded in 1929. The Corps was only retained on paper in mobilisation establishments in case of need."

I think there's a distinction to be made between the Intelligence POLICE (10/RF as mentioned) and these gentlemen? No idea how their medals would have been named - certainly not INT CORPS as they are now.

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I think many OR employed on any int duties of any nature (including the Int Police/security function) probably ended up as '10 RF'. There is also a 14 Star roll for ORs (WO329/2428) which is entitled 'Intelligence Corps' which I'll get round to some time. The interesting bit will be to see where their BW/VMs are recorded.

There are also officer rolls for 14, 14/15 and BWM/VM entitled 'Intelligence & Interpreters' - and I've been told it is difficult to distinguish between the two 'Is' from these.

I believe 'Forewarned' by Clayton contains a list of the first 50 (?) Int Corps officers.

I've researched a couple of officers employed on int duties for a mate - everything from a RM officer (transfered to Army) with a strong colonial int background to a TF officer whose main qualification seemed to be that he was a 'young friend' of Lord Esher.

It is all very interesting - I just can't give it the attention it deserves.


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Being ex-Int Corps, I vaguely remember some of their history, but “Forearmed” by Anthony Clayton (although I think Jock Bruce’s “Forewarned” is more appropriate - we used to say that Military Intelligence was a contradiction in terms!) has most of the answers except, I suspect, those to do with Medal Rolls. Some key points are:

The permanent Intelligence Corps was not ‘formed’ and badged until July 1940 and the reason for that late recognition was probably prejudice. There had previously been ad hoc Intelligence units (and ad hoc Intelligence Corps in WWI) but the concept of a permanent Intelligence setup had been considered undesirable – any hint that you may call on covert activities to fight a war was anathema to many at the top. That wouldn’t be gentlemanly, now would it.

Field Intelligence Departments were formed in the Boer War and disbanded at the end of it. These were known colloquially as the ‘Intelligence Corps’. “Staff Manual – War (Provisional)” published by the War Office in 1912 dealt with field Intelligence and layed down that all personnel permanently engaged in Intelligence duties were to be formed into a special Intelligence Corps for the time being, under the Brigadier General in charge of the Intelligence Section at General HQ. The manual went on to subdivide duties into the Information Sub-Section 1(a) dealing with general functions such as info gathering and interpreters and a Secret Service Sub-Section 1(B) dealing with the organisation of Secret Service, codes and ciphers, and Intelligence police etc.

A pre-WWI committee chaired by Lord Esher called for two fundamental issues to be addressed - the peace time training of Intelligence Staff Officers and a list to be drawn up of likely personnel to form the nucleus of a corps of Intelligence gatherers which could be expanded on mobilisation. Both recommendations were implemented and the first 55 men (I have the names if anybody wants them) went to France in August 1914 – the Regular, Territorial or Reserve officers consisted of one major, four captains, seven Lieutenants and a Quartermaster. Letters had been sent to likely candidates (academics etc. selected because of an expertise such as languages) inviting them to join a body referred to as the ‘Intelligence Corps’ and forty two of these ‘Scout Officers (Temporary Commission)’ were in this first ‘Intelligence Corps’ and were graded either 2/Lts (Interpreters) or Agents (First Class) and wore General List badges and buttons. They were joined by twenty-four men from the Met (most graded as Agents 2nd and 3rd Class)

The ad hoc Corps was organised into a Headquarters Wing, a Dismounted Section, a Motor Cycle section, a Mounted Section, and a Security Duties Section (manned by Special Branch policeman and later by Met, and Indian Police, policeman – their role being lines of communication security). Soldiers selected for the Corps were posted and badged to a special ‘10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, Intelligence (B)’ “for administrative convenience and perhaps also as a cover”. It should be noted that there was also the front-line 10th Battalion RF in addition to the 10th (Intelligence).

In 1914 the Corps had clear directives:

1. To provide experienced officers with linguistic capabilities (mounted on horses , motor cycles, or in cars – in my day in the 60’s it was still a requirement to hold a full driving licence);

2. To supplement the Intelligence staffs of various HQs (to make up numbers and to provide French and German language skills);

3. To provide officers for the anticipated expansion of the Secret Service;

4. To provide the nucleus of a ‘Contre-espionage’ organisation with the Army in France in accordance with the 1912 “Staff Manual – War (Provisional)”.

These men were often met by misunderstanding and contempt (a bit porky of the HQ staff bearing in mind that at least 10 of the original 55 were to die in the war – several others were captured). However, despite all that, in the early part of the war their work soon developed and included long range reconnaissance, setting up contacts with local French and Belgian civilians, co-operation with the French police, military liaison work, cipher work, passes and permits, interrogation, motor cycle despatch work (languages invaluable), organisation of civilian working parties, searching for lost units, clearing road of refugees and prepositioning stores for units in retreat retreating, accompanying cavalry patrols and bridge demolition parties (the Corps won its first WWI award –a DSO – for blowing a bridge on the 31st August 1914), investigating reports of Germans stay-behind snipers, examining tunnels and mines that the enemy might use, and (in this final stage of this initial phase of the war – the advance north of the Aisne) the spreading of false information to conceal the army’s real movement plans. They were also involved in Air Photography and Signals Interception.

Early (interesting) examples of their work (stop me if this is getting boring!) included Lt Marshall-Cornwall’s exploits with a cavalry patrol that overran a German area and from documents found he was able to reconstruct the whole of the German2nd Cavalry Corps. Then there was the chap who identified the German 9th Cavalry Division entering Nivelles on the 21st August – only problem was he was still in the town at the time … but escaped. Then there was 2/Lt Payne-Best who was sent to Antwerp to establish a liaison with the naval Brigade but, after reaching Antwerp and vainly trying to warn the retreating Royal Marines of the dangers on their route, landed up in the Belfry in Bruges from where he reported the Germans’ arrival using the local telephone system. He was able to escape by talking his way through the enemy lines using his fluent German.

As the war developed and the number of Armies expanded, so did the role of the Intelligence Corps. The Corps was controlled operationally by the Head of the Intelligence Branch at GHQ and each new Army received an Intelligence Corps sub-unit with all personnel permanently employed on Intelligence work being incorporated into the Intelligence Corps.

It is important to note that in the early stages of the war the Corps was involved only at the lowest level as Intelligence gatherers, but soon this role developed in the middle level that includes the collation and dissemination of the collected information – the top level that entails deciding what intelligence to collect and its presentation to commanders remained with the GSO’s(Int).

The December 1917 establishment of the Intelligence Corps was:

Int Corp HQ – 2 Officers, 16 Ors

HQ Coy – 98 Officers, 124 Ors

Each Army Coy (there were 5) – 9 Officers, 36 Ors

L of C Coy – 26 Officers (incl 5 Met police officials), 222 Ors (incl 9 Met Police Sergeants

Each Corps Coy (there were 4) – 5 Officers, 17 Ors

Every Cavalry and Infantry Division and Tank Brigade HQ – 1 Officer (and 1 batman), and 1 NCO.

As far as Intelligence Corps uniform is concerned, until 1916 Regular and pre-war Territorial officers continued to wear their own regimental uniforms. The wartime volunteers wore General List badges. In 1916, officers started to wear green tabs and a green hat band with their previous (or General List) badges (green is still the Corps Colour – and the current beret colour). GSO’s(Int), of course, wore red tabs and a red hat band.

Soldiers were, usually, badged to the Royal Fusiliers. I have to say ‘usually’ because, being an odd lot, some who were transferred in insisted on wearing the badge of their unit of origin. Take Pte Cousins, for example, a French speaker who joined from the HAC and insisted on wearing their badge. Generally, though, all soldiers, including the Intelligence Police, were badged to the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, Intelligence (B). NCO’s on Intelligence Police duty often wore a brassard with the letters “IC”, or a bracelet noting the soldier’s name, number and inscribed ‘10th RF INTceB’ with the number of the Army to which the soldier was attached. Recruits joined at Hounslow Barracks.

Turning to identification of medals and awards by unit, for officers permanently employed on Intelligence duties, the London Gazette had the Intelligence Corps as a separate list. So officers can appear under their original regiment, under the General List, or under Intelligence Corps – and, I suspect, any combination of those three. Soldiers were, in theory, Royal Fusiliers and so, in the absence of any Bn info, that makes award and medal searches complicated because of the existence of the front-line (10th Bn) R FUS.

As far as strength is concerned, the initial 55 had grown to total personnel in December 1917 numbering 1225, including 12 WAAC. By the end of the war the number had grown to 3,000.

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thank you for a really comprehensive posting - saves me having to buy Clayton's book for a while. Sometime I'm going to make the effort to get up to the museum at Chicksands but that won't be in the near future.


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Having just looked up some of my papers, here is a postscript to my earlier posting which might help illustrate why it is difficult to research WWI Int Corps personnel. Here are the 10 officers that Clayton lists in his book, all from the original 55, recorded as being killed in WWI (the initial ranks are those as at Aug 1918):

Clayton refers to Capt (Temp) Major T G J Torrie, 27th Cavalry (The most senior member of the First 55); CWGC records a Lt Col T G J Torrie, attd. 7th Bn East Lancs. SDGW records his unit as 2nd Bn Life Guards/Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (including Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps). He was killed on the Somme in November 1916.

Capt F W Hunt. Clayton and CWGC are the same – he was 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse), killed Gheluvelt October 1914. But not to be found on the SDGW perhaps because his nationality was recorded as ‘Indian’.

Lt A H Smith Cumming – all three sources agree. He was 1st Bn Seaforth Highlanders, Son of Capt. Sir Mansfield S. Cumming, K.C.M.G., C.B., R.N., and Lady Cumming, of 22, Fitzjames Avenue, West Kensington, London. Died as a result of a mortar accident.

2/Lt Lord B. Blackwood – Clayton has no further information. No record on CWGC or SDGW of him at all. He was killed on the Yser Canal in 1917. He was probably one of the civilians invited to join the Corps in 1914 who become part of the original 55.

2/Lt E H King – Clayton refers to him serving with the 19th Inf Bde and being killed at Ypres in 1917. No record on CWGC or SDGW. He, too, was probably one of the civilians invited to join the Corps in 1914 who became part of the original 55.

2/Lt J M Smith – Another of the original 55 – thought to be a civilian recruited to the Corps. Died of wounds received while later serving with the 9th Lancers, Retreat from Mons, (Clayton); CWGC records that he was “Special List” and that he died 10/9/1914; SDGW records similar info but adds he was “Special Lists, New Armies”.

2/lt W G Fletcher – Another of the original 55 – again, possibly a civilian recruited to the Corps. Clayton records him as later serving with the 19th Inf Bde, killed at Neuve Chapelle, 1915. CWGC records that he was in “B” Coy, 2nd Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers, died 20/3/1915. Served in France from 13th Aug, 1914. (Note the date of arrival in the theatre). SDGW records RWF, Bn not known.

2/Lt A Sang. Another of the original 55 – again, possibly a civilian recruited to the Corps. Clayton records that he was with the 19th Bde and that he died of wounds, Marne, 1914. SDGW records him as being “Special Lists, New Armies”, and Died of Wounds 2/10/1914. CWGC has him as being “Intelligence Corps”, Son of Frederick J. and Caroline Jane Garth Sang; born in Paris; husband of Sara A. Sang, of 182, Park Street, Canandaigua, New York, U.S.A. Maybe the French connection had something to do with his selection for the Int Corps.

2/Lt W G Gabain. Clayton records that he was with the Cavalry Division and killed in 1918 in Belgium. CWGC has a Captain, awarded the MC, Rifle Brigade, who died on 24/3/1918, but buried in Pargny, France. SDGW has a Capt awarded the MC, Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps, KiA 24/03/1917.

2/Lt J T Seabrook. Clayton records that he was killed in Belgium in 1914. CWGC records that he was “Intelligence Corps 5th Signal Troop, Royal Engineers attd. 5th Cavalry Brigade” and that he died 10/9/1914. SDGW has him down as “Special Lists, New Armies”.

What of ORs? SDGW seems to have only one 10th Bn RF (Intelligence Police), a Private M ARENDT, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), 10th Battalion (Intelligence Police). Born Walfendange, Luxemburg, enlisted Holborn, resided Stacey St WC. Formerly 18th RWF. He does not appear on CWGC, natch! Wonder what his qualifications were for being selected?

I, too, have a date at Chicksands. I discovered that the Museum had authorised a photo of yours truly in the Far East to be published in a book on Military Intelligence (and very debonair it is, too – the photo, not the book ) and the escorted visit is a bit of a quid pro quo.

By the way, what’s the “sneaky-beaky” bit about? I’ve heard most of the Int Corps Noms de Guerres, but not that one (and with the “Lincolnshire Poacher” as the regimental march the unit was asking for what it got, methinks). Perhaps it was after my time. Some SAS refer to them as the “Green Slime” – a very unpleasant nickname, probably in the context of their new green berets, but it’s understandable bearing in mind that the SAS have been through the Int Corps’ Resistance to Interrogation training as part of their prone-to-capture troop selection process. More generally the Int Corps badge is somewhat unkindly, but some would say very appropriately, referred to as “A pansy resting on its laurels” (actually, it’s the rose of secrecy surrounded by the laurel of loyalty – or something like that). I joined from the Paras and found the new badge on a blue beret (as it was in those days) a tad difficult to live with after the macho wings on a red beret!


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more great stuff.

The one dead Int Corps officer I've checked out (because he was an ex-ranker) is on CWGC as Int Corps - 2/Lt Leo Walter Gough Died Tuesday 23 April 1918 Age 34 Buiried MAZARGUES WAR CEMETERY, MARSEILLESBouches-du-Rhone, France.

He was one of the originals from Scotland Yard.

ARENDT is on CWGC simply as R Fus. Buired Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetry Extension - Plot 8. Row D. Grave I. As with all the guys of foreign birth or parentage I assume languages are the key to recruitment.

And thanks to information from 'Promenade' of this parish, it looks like not all ORs were badged R Fus - he's passed me details of two Kingsmen who were employed on intelligence duties but remained Kings throughout. So probably no hope of ever tracking them all in the medal rolls.

I think 'sneaky-beaky' was a reaction to the number of private armies running round NI - usually without telling the 'green army' they were operating in a battalions area. Not sure it was Int Corps specific.

Thanks again for the great info (just shows that good intelligence don't need to be 'sexed up')

Jock Bruce

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  • 2 weeks later...

Second Lieutenant Walter George FLETCHER, listed above as one of the first 55 Intelligence Corps officers in BEF, was born on 7 Jan 1888, father was a King's Scholar of Eton College and noted historian. George, as he was known, followed his father, was King's Scholar 1901 to 1906, School Captain, rowed in VIII, went on to Balliol, rowed in Balliol VIII, specialised German, taught at Schleswig Gymnasium Germany, then was Master at Shrewsbury, returned to Eton 1913 as Assistant Master, invited to join Intelligence Corps together with two colleagues. Went to France landed 13 August 1914, commission gazetted General List Interpreter T/Lt on 6 October 1914, cover story variously Motor Cycle Scouts or Dispatch Riders according to Eton obit. Attached 2RWF c. 24 September 1914. Frank Richards OSND called him bravest man in France, always well forward scouting and listening in No Man's Land. Established reputation 2RWF, highly praised in Dunn, TWTIK. Mentioned in Despatches 17 February 1915, having been formally commissioned into regt. on 5 Feb 1915. Brief leave that month, reportedly showing strain greatly. Pulled off famous exploit just before death, rescuing captured French Tricolour from under Germans' noses. Received neither Court Martial nor VC, there were those that thought both should have been considered. Flag restored and now hangs Eton College Chapel. On 20/21 March 1915 shot in head whilst putting fascines in back of dugout, although accounts vary. Buried Bois Grenier 'with a parson and a proper service'. No fewer than nine soldiers are on file recording circumstances of death. Died intestate. Brother Regie [sic] also Eton and Balliol 2Lt RFA killed Gheluvelt 31 Oct 1914. Obit. and Requiem Mass WGF recorded in Times March 1915. 1914 star and clasp NOT on RWF medal roll, possibly because not on the regtl. books by cut-off date.


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  • 1 year later...

Hi, Am new to the GFW, but would like to comment on this thread. In 1904 the WO issued "Regulations for Intelligence Duties in the Field" which specified an Intelligence Corps was to be formed for War, a copy of the regualtions can be found at the US Library of Congress


It is quite a handy little reference as it explains the relationship to the General Staff Officers and the Agent Gd 1-3 system and so on.

I think you will find Australia misinterpreted the issue of the regulations and this was the reason why it formed an Intelligence Corps in 1907, certainly in the 1914 pocketbook states that Australia had an Intelligence Corps available as part of the Dominion Forces. Though it "abolished" its Corps in Sep 1914, the function was continued along Empire lines with LT being IO of Divisions assisting the GSOIII (Int) and so on, and later an I and II ANZAC "Intelligence Police" Sections being raised, performing "Contre-Intelligence" duties. Interestingly in the UK this title somehow got changed post WW1 into Field Security Police and the function went back to the MP, before the UK Int Corps was formalised in 1940.

A search for a CAPT Tait of the Intelligence Corps at the AWM (www.awm.gov.au) will also bring up his citation from memory for the MC as the GSO3 (Int) I ANZAC, he commanded the first Corps level Intelligence Section in the British Army at I ANZAC.

I would also, politely, add that we are often too parochial in our outlook, again from the 1914 pocketbook " At the Imperial Conference of 1909 it was unanimously agreed that the organization of all the forces of the Empire should be assimilated as far as possible. It is reasonable to hope, therefore, that any units which may be despatched by Overseas Dominions, to co-operate in an Imperial under-taking, will not differ greatly in establishment and organisation from similar units of the Regular Army."


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It would seem that during the war, someofficers had to be more or less coerced into going into Intelligence work.

In 'The Secrets of Rue St. Roche' it says that Captain Bruce refused to move over to intelligence and that it was haig himself who took him to lunch and ordered to him to move 'temporarily'. Of course, he was then in it forever (and would have refused to move for reasons that the book makes clear).

By the way, the book I mentioned has now sold out (unless Penguin finds some more copies in the warehouse), but a paperback edition will be coming out in about August. As it is the ONLY book that recounts in detail the running of a behind the lines operation during World War One, it is obligatory reading for anyone interested in this subject.

In fact, I understand that MI6 have bought a number of copies to use for training purposes (I haven't told you that).

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Blackwood is to be found as :


Initials: I B G T

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lieutenant

Regiment: Grenadier Guards

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Age: 47

Date of Death: 04/07/1917

Additional information: Son of 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, K.P., of Clandeboye, Co. Down.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 9 and 11.


according to John Buchan (THESE FOR REMEMBRANCE)he joined the intelligence corps at the outset of the war and went to the front attached to the 9th Lancers. He was wounded at Messines on 31/10/14 being the only other officer of the Regt, beside Francis Grenfell not to be captured by the Germans.

He is also mentioned in "the aristocracy and the great war(page 452).


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  • 1 month later...

Could I ask the Gents of this thread a favour. I am researching the origins of the Australian Intelligence Corps and am trying to find a copy of David Henderson's "Field Intelligence, Its Principles and Practices" printed in April 1905. From my reading and research it was the seminal document for Intelligence in the British Army and would appear to have been the "doctrine" until the release of the 1938 pams 1-3. Would anyone know of an electronic copy anywhere? Bit expensive for me to travel at the present time from Oz to read it at the MOD library.

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At the end of the war there were 3000 soldiers in the Intelligence Corps in an army of millions.

Todays army of 100,000 (dangerously small and the sacrificial lamb of many Governments) has 1300 soldiers in the Intelligence Corps.

This is an example of how warfare has changed. Battles are now won before a shot is fired.


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2/Lt E H King – Clayton refers to him serving with the 19th Inf Bde and being killed at Ypres in 1917.  No record on CWGC or SDGW.  He, too, was probably one of the civilians invited to join the Corps in 1914 who became part of the original 55.


The only 2/Lt E.H. KING listed in the GRO Overseas Death Index is a man of that name from the Wiltshire Regt who died in 1916. He is listed by CWGC. Could this be the same man?

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This is an example of how warfare has changed. Battles are now won before a shot is fired.

Roll on the day when they are won without a shot being fired, then the day when they are not needed at all.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I though this may interest those with an Int Corps bent, it certainly supports my belielf that many of the original 55-200 were well educated men of languages and varied experience, who were allocated to the BEF, EEF or IEF on that basis

Sir John Lawrence Baird, Viscount Stonehaven (1874-1941), the eighth Governor-General of Australia, son of Sir Alexander Baird, was born on 27 April 1874. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and spent a year in Australia in 1894 as aide-de-camp to Sir Robert Duff, governor of New South Wales. He joined the diplomatic service in 1896 and during the next 12 years was stationed at Vienna, Cairo, in Abysinia, and at Paris and Buenos Aires. He was elected to the House of Commons as Unionist candidate for Rugby in 1910, and held this seat for 12 years.

After the outbreak of the 1914-18 war he joined the Intelligence Corps in France and was awarded the D.S.O. in 1915. He was recalled to London in 1916 to become a parliamentary member of the air board until the close of the war. He was also awarded the following foriegn decorations:

1 Oct 1915 - Officer of the Order of Leopold.

8 Mar 1918 - Croix de Guerre

5 Nov 19189 - Grand Officer, of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

He then became parliamentary secretary to the home office and, having been elected for Ayr Burghs in 1922, became minister of transport and commissioner of works until 1924. He showed himself to be an excellent minister.

In 1925 he was appointed Governor-General of Australia and was thoroughly efficient and conscientious in his office, his travels extending to the mandated territory in New Guinea. In the closing years of his term, Australia was involved in a serious depression, and after his departure in September 1930, Lord Stonehaven took every opportunity to express confidence in the financial credit of Australia.

The Conservative party had been defeated in 1929 and he became its chairman after his return. When the Nazi party arose in Germany he strongly opposed the policy of appeasement. "You will never buy Hitler off," he said in one of his speeches. When war broke out he supervised the arrangements for tracing missing men and the wounded in base hospitals in France. He died in Scotland after a short illness on 20 August 1941. He married in 1905, Lady Ethel Keith-Falconer, daughter of the Earl of Kintore, who survived him with two sons and three daughters. He had succeeded his father as second baronet in 1920, was created Baron Stonehaven in 1925, and Viscount Stonehaven in 1938.

The Times, 21 August 1941; The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 August 1941; Debrett's Peerage etc. 1942. http://www.gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogBa.html

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  • 1 year later...

Does anybody have available the details of the original 55 Int Corps members in addition to those listed above by Barry. Are these individuals listed within a WO document? if so is the reference known. I would like to conduct research into these individuals.


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  • 3 weeks later...

In early 1916 the Intelligence Corps was reorganised. They undertook additional tasks - that of counter espinionage on the British side of the lines. This was the function of I ( B ) branch of the Intelligence Staff of General Headquarters, who also ran the secret service networks working in enemy held territory. The front line areas which the British were responsible in France and Flanders were divided into four, A B C D from North to South. Each of these areas corresponded with Army boundaries, and was subdivided into three zones. In the forward zone behind the front line, entry and exit was controlled by examining posts manned by Intelligence Police. The Middle Zone was the area were most troops were billeted, and behind lay the rear zone, through which troops and convoys moved. Each area had a controlling officer wth several subalterns and about 50 intelligence police under command placed in 20 stations, each station manned by a pair of policemen, in some cases covering a 50 square mile area. The controlling officer supplied questionaires, and some intelligence policemen operated independently of the static stations, checking travel documents, collecting information from local residents, as well as refugees from forward areas who passed through the lines.

One of the great pivildges of this unit was to act as bodguards to King George V in his battlefiled tour of August 1918..........these bodyguards formed the Special Duties Section.


If you would like to know more there is a fantactic book called British Military Intelligence by Jock Haswell.

If your interest is the 10th RF's Intelligence ( B ) I have a complete roll of awards for this unit. I am more than happy to do lookups. Please contact me in PM for that.



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