posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 06:32 AM
As I was based there in the early 1990's, I can dispel some of the rumours.
1. Ashford was the Intelligence Corps Depot (HG). Also based there were the Defence Intelligence and Security School (DISS), the Specialist
Intelligence Wing (SIW) and the Joint Services Interrogation Organisation (JSIO).
2. DISS (not DI-55), was responsible for training UK, NATO and Commonwealth forces in military intelligence matters. Among other things, photography,
photo interpretation, conduct after capture and counter intelligence.
3. JSIO had their own secure inner compound. The organisation was tri-service with a lot of RAF staff. If you want to join the RAF reserves, you can
find out more. They did have cells with a rubber lined "hot room". JSIO had two roles, training "prone to capture" such as special forces and
aircrew. The second role was debriefing prisoners of war and refugees. This task was performed in Bosnia, where statements of attrocities were taken
by JSIO on behalf of the UN. Lots of my friends who worked at JSIO were posted to Bosnia.
4. SIW were based at Repton Manor. As this is still a current organisation and the peace process in Northern Ireland still unsteady, I won't go into
details about their roles and training. If you want to read more about SIW, I suggest you read "Fishers of Men" by Rob Lewis, published by Hodder
and Stoughton, 1999.
5. There was no underground facility/bunker or suchlike. There was a standard armoury which was above ground and a standard ammunition storage
building. All of the communications facilities were above ground. The only underground facility I recall were a few sandbagged emplacements for
defence. IF there was any kind of bunker/underground facility, there would have been standing instructions in the guard room as to what to do in the
event of fire/flood/evacuation etc. The same goes for the Southern site, where the Royal Engineers had a depot.
The Home Office did have a corner of the site, near to the firing range and behind the Officers Mess, called the Forward Assault Working Group. We
knew it as the FAWG site. They would build sections of walls and roofs and then blow bloody great big holes in them. (memories of the Italian Job,
"You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off."). Every so often there would be a warning and then a "boom". God knows what the locals
6. There was a standard firing range as well as a CQB "shooting house". As there was a public footpath about 50m from Repton Manor, the vehicles
used by SIW were parked elsewhere. They certainly were not parked under anything in case of satellite surveillance. The CQB house was disguised as an
electricity substation. If you didnt know what it was, you'd miss it. I first found it by accident!
7. There was no "UFO" department of likewise based at any of the departments.
8. There was nothing sinister about Templar Barracks. Some of the departments were involved in secret work, but what do you expect with intelligence
work. I visited the site again in 2000. Most of the buildings were still in good condition. A lot of the "sneaky" departments were based in
portakabins due to lack of space.
It was a fun place to work at. Some of the Int Corps staff were famous for being the sort that would eat their own children, dead on a plate of salad
if it meant getting a better posting than someone else. They weren't called Green Slime for nothing. Even the local Kent Police used to ask "what
exactly do you do up there" whenever a soldier was nicked for anything.
Hope this helps dispel some of the rumours. The place is now being developed for housing. If any idiots decide to break in looking for "bunkers"
you'd be disappointed.