14th Intelligence Company

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A cover name used to refer to a unit or units which were involved in covert surveillance in Northern Ireland, most notably, it appears, the Special Reconnaissance Unit, and which have reportedly become part of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment.

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SAS Assessment of Foundation of 14th Int

Former SAS soldier Ken Connor, states that he was part of a three man team sent to assess the Military Reaction Force in 1972, which he refers to as the Military Reconnaissance Force (the cover name given to it by the British), in the wake of the Four Square Laundry episode, when the initials MRF became known.

It soon became apparent that its cover was blown and the group of people running it were so out of control that it had to be disbanded at once.
Without reference to each other, we all produced the same recommendation: it's been a useful tool, but it's well past it's sell-by date. Get rid of it, acquire the needed skills, then reform it in a different guise.
The result was 14 Int - the Fourteenth Intelligence Company.[1]

14 Intelligence Company would, therefore, seem to be a cover name for the Special Reconnaissance Unit. According to a top Secret briefing prepared for Prime Minister Harold Wilson in April 1974, the Special Reconnaissance Unit replaced the Military Reaction Force units created in 1971:

In 1972 the operations of the MRF were brought under more centralised control and a higher standard of training achieved by establishing a Special Reconnaissance Unit (SRU) of 130 all ranks under direct command of HQNI.[2]

It seems that the 14th Int was not the only cover name for the SRU. According to the same briefing:

The term ‘Special Reconnaissance Unit’ and the details of its organisation and mode of operations have been kept secret.
The SRU operates in Northern Ireland at present under the cover name “Northern Ireland Training and Advisory Teams (Northern Ireland)” – NITAT(NI) – ostensibly the equivalent of genuine NITAT teams in UKLF [United Kingdom Land Forces] and BAOR [British Army of the Rhine].[3]

Other cover names for parts of '14th Int' included the 4 Field Survey Troop, which operated between 1973 and 1975.

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Notes

  1. Ken Connor, Ghost Force, The Secret History of the SAS, Cassell & Co, 1998, p269.
  2. Defensive Brief D Meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach 5 April 1974 Army Plain Clothes Patrols in Northern Ireland. National Archives PREM 16/154
  3. Defensive Brief D Meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach 5 April 1974 Army Plain Clothes Patrols in Northern Ireland. National Archives PREM 16/154
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