THE PLACE THE INTELLIGENCE CORPS CALLED HOME

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

THE Corps moved its head­quar­ters into Tem­pler Bar­racks in 1966 at a cost of £500,000, and from the first squad to Pass Out in Septem­ber 1966 to the last in March 1997, it car­ried out a range of spe­cial­ist mil­i­tary intelligence train­ing for the Army. Through peace­time and con­flicts in­clud­ing the Falk­lands and Iraq, Ash­ford was home for all its sol­diers, wher­ever serv­ing, and for over 30 years the Intelligence Corps was a tan­gi­ble part of the fab­ric of life in the area with in­di­vid­ual mem­bers ac­tive in com­mu­nity life and many civil­ian Ash­ford res­i­dents work­ing at the Bar­racks. The Intelligence Corps was for­mally adopted by Ash­ford Ur­ban Dis­trict in 1973 for its “loyal and de­voted ser­vice to Queen and Coun­try” and granted the Free­dom of En­try in 1979. Proof pos­i­tive of the warmth and af­fec­tion the peo­ple of Ash­ford hold for the Corps was the hun­dreds of res­i­dents who lined the streets when they cel­e­brated the 25th an­niver­sary of the grant­ing of that Free­dom of the Bor­ough in 2004 and ex­er­cised their tra­di­tional right to march through town with bay­o­nets fixed and drums play­ing. In ad­di­tion to the cer­e­mo­nial oc­ca­sions, as­sis­tance was given by the Corps to the com­mu­nity, with gifts for the hospi­tal chil­dren’s ward, to St Mary’s Parish Church, and most mem­o­rably in Septem­ber 1973, with help­ing the area cope with the ef­fects of flood­ing.

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