No 9 INTELLIGENCE SCHOOL
Officers who have served or who are serving with No 9 Intelligence School (including those employed in the Awards Bureaux) are given below:-
The following notes which form part of Appendix L of the IS9 historical record explain the operation of MI9 letter code no. II. These codes were used by British prisoners of war to secretly communicate with home in order to provide useful intelligence and to receive war news in return.
No. 9 INTELLIGENCE SCHOOL
Intelligence School 9 was established in January 1942 as the executive branch of MI9. It's job was to assist British and Commonwealth service personnel to evade capture when behind enemy lines and to assist Prisoners of War to escape. Arguably IS9's most important work was to gather intelligence from and boast the morale of Allied POWs. The Historical Report of IS9, compiled by the section at the end of World War II, is reproduced below.
Escape report completed by Lt Airey Neave, RA. The report details his escape first from Stalag XXA, Thorn, and later from the infamous Colditz Castle. Neave was the first British POW to make a home run from Colditz. Back in Britain he was recruited into Intelligence School 9, the executive branch on MI9. Working for IS9 Neave assisted other British service personnel to evade capture and escape from POW camps. After the war Neave became a conservative Member of Parliament until his murder in 1979 by an Irish National Liberation Army car bomb.
CONDUCT OF WORK NO. 48
1. A new section of the Intelligence Directorate at the War Office has been formed. It will be called M.I.9. It will work in close connection with and act as agent for the Admiralty and Air Ministry.
Two days before Christmas 1939 a new branch of Military Intelligence, MI9, was established. Its charter was to advise combat personnel on how to evade capture, how to behave when a prisoner of war, how to plan escapes and how to secretly communicate with home. MI9 developed letter-writing codes to assist clandestine communication and designed and smuggled ingenious escape aids into Prisoner of War inside enemy territory. The following report details the history of MI9 and its later executive branch known as Intelligence School 9 (IS9).
SS Report on Questions of Internal Security (12 August, 1943)
This report concerns British prisoners in the Reich and the impression they make on the German people. According to numerous reports from various parts of the Reich, the presence in agriculture and industry of British prisoners raises a series of problems, which may become serious if they are neglected. We learn from many sources that the outward bearing of the British is not failing to make an impression on the local population. A report from Central Germany, for instance, states:-
"Although a large proportion of British prisoners in Germany come from ordinary working classes, a large number of them speak impeccable and fluent German. Their attitude is self-possessed and, indeed, often borders on arrogance. Their bearing and their whole behaviours are doubtless intended as effective propaganda."
The following No. 9 Intelligence School lecture notes for operational personnel give a background to the purpose of MI9, the escape and evasion section of Military Intelligence. They give an explanation on the use of secret letter-writing codes by Prisoners of War to communicate with home, to request escape aids and to supply military and economic intelligence.