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Eyekeyhole.jpg This article is part of SpinWatch's Spooks Portal, tracking intelligence agencies and dirty tricks.
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The entrance to the Chicksands base of the DISC, an image captured on 31 March 2007[1]
Chicksands, Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
The Priory at Chicksands the base of the Intelligence Corps[2]
Organisational chart for Chicksands military base which houses the 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group and the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre and various other intelligence bodies including the Intelligence Corps and the Joint Services Intelligence Organisation. The chart was released under the Freedom of Information Act in on 23 October 2008


The Intelligence corps website gives the following account:

Chicksands is one of the most striking military bases in the UK. The centrepiece is the remarkable 12th century Gilbertine Priory, which was home to both nuns and monks for 400 years.
By 1576, after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538 when many religious houses were either ruined or confiscated and redistributed to royal favourites, the Priory had come into the ownership of the Osborn family. It remained in the family for a further 338 years before being sold to the War Office in 1938.
Ever since then it has been associated with intelligence operations. Chicksands was one of many Y Stations, where the German coded signals were intercepted before being passed to Bletchley Park (Station X) for decryption.
For 45 years it was the home of the United States Air Force Security Unit - they now share space in The Military Intelligence Museum with two other unique intelligence collections. The site remains firmly linked with Military Intelligence and Counter Intelligence.[3]

The Gilbertine Centre inside the DISC base at Chicksands[4]

Location and facilities

According to an account given on the Ministry of Defence website:

Home of the Intelligence Corps, Chicksands Camp is centred on a 12th Century Gilbertine Priory set in Grade 1 listed parkland. Situated on the borders of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, with easy access to the M1 and A1, London is approximately 45 minutes away by train. Chicksands’ key business is training, and the Defence College of Intelligence (DCI) trains personnel in Security, Languages, Intelligence and Photography (SLIP) disciplines in support of UK Defence Operational Capability.
Chicksands has a well-equipped gymnasium and the Library contains an Army Learning Centre with Internet access available to all. There is a Sports & Social Club on site for use by all ranks as well as an Officers Mess, Sergeants Mess and Junior Ranks Club. There is also a Spar shop and Barbers on site. The Gilbertine Centre, houses the Church of Gilbert of Sempringham, the HIVE, Unit Welfare Office, the Community Development Worker and the WRVS Coffee Shop. There is also Costa Coffee Shop is located in the foyer of the DISC Theatre. Having close links with RAF Henlow, Chicksands personnel and dependents are able to use their facilities including the swimming pool and squash courts.
There are a total of 266 quarters behind the wire at Chicksands.[5]
Chicksands from the air, with the Priory in the middle and the firing range to the left


MoD Chicksands HIVE, accessed 13 November 2009.

See also

Screengrab of Google Maps view of Chicksands and showing Templer Way, named after British counterinsurgency theorist and activist, Gerald Templer


  1. Image Copyright Marcus de Figueiredo and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Image retrieved from: Geograph TL1238 : RAF Chicksands accessed 13 November 2009
  2. Photo from the MoD website: MoD Home> The Intelligence Corps> Defence Intelligence and Security Centre, accessed 13 November 2009
  3. MoD Home> The Intelligence Corps> Defence Intelligence and Security Centre, accessed 13 November 2009
  4. Photo from: MoD Chicksands HIVE, accessed 13 November 2009.
  5. MoD Chicksands HIVE, accessed 13 November 2009.