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Out of Darkness-Light: A History of Canadian Military Intelligence, Volume 1: Pre-Confederation to 1982

The decisive factor in warfare has often been the utilization of good intelligence. A glimpse of how this has been done in the Canadian Forces is contained in this reference book on the Intelligence Branch history to 1982.
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Book Overview

Intelligence is a key element of operations, enabling commanders to successfully plan and conduct operations. It enables them to win decisive battles and it helps them to identify and attack high value targets. Intelligence is an important part of every military decision. Military intelligence is the knowledge of a possible or actual enemy or area of operation. It encompasses combat intelligence, strategic intelligence, and counterintelligence, and is essential to the preparation and execution of military policies, plans, and operations.

The objective of military intelligence is to minimize the uncertainties of the affects of enemy, weather and terrain on operations. The decisive factor in warfare has often been the utilization of good intelligence. A glimpse of how this has been done in the Canadian Forces is contained in this reference book on the Intelligence Branch history.

A few of the cap badges worn by Canadian Intelligence personnel since 1901: Corps of Guides, Canadian Cyclist Corps, C Int C with King's Crown and Queen's Crown, Security Branch, and Intelligence Branch cap badges.

Intelligence Operators and Officers provide military intelligence support in operations, planning and decision-making.  Their work has an impact on military and national security, and the political and public relations of the government.

The early history of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch has been well-documented in Major Robert Elliot's book "Scarlet to Green".  After a number of interviews with him I am following up on our Intelligence Branch history from where he left off in 1963, to the present day in four volumes under the title "Out of Darkness - Light", (a translation of the Intelligence Branch motto "E Tenebris Lux").  The books may be found online within this website.  You will find a few photos on these pages with items of interest that relate to our Intelligence Branch history, including memorabilia associated with the Canadian Corps of Guides, the Canadian Cyclist Corps and the Canadian Intelligence Corps.  It should be useful to collector's and those interested in the history of our trade.

Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps

1885, Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo)

Corp of Guides Officer's cap badge with silver true and magnetic north arrows in a gold wreath, ca. 1901.  These symbols were integrated into the King's Crown cap badge in 1942, the Queen's Crown cap badge in 1952 and the present day Intelligence Branch cap badge from 1982.

Canadian Cyclist Corps badges, ca 1914-1918, Author's Collection now in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Group Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Top: Canadian Cyclist Corps Battalion cap badge.

Centre Row: 1st Division Cyclists Company, 2nd Division Cyclists Company, 3rd Division Cyclists Company, 4th Division Cyclists Company cap badges.

Bottom Row: 5th Divisional Cyclists Company Overseas, and Divisional Cyclists Depot (Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company) cap badges.

Canadian Cyclist Corps, cyclist checking German dugout, Advance East of Arras, Sep 1918.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194259)

Intelligence personnel serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force performed infantry, liaison and reconnaissance duties in one of the five cyclist companies established - one per Division - in the Canadian Army. During the great advance of 1918, these personnel suffered numerous casualties as they attempted to keep the Canadian command in touch with rapidly changing circumstances on the battlefield.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3403150)

Intelligence Officer interrogating a German PW, Feb 1918.

Canadian Intelligence officers and NCOs performed intelligence duties in HQs in the Canadian Corps, from Corps down to Brigade level.  A Counter-espionage Section, known as Intelligence (b), was created in 1918 to counter the threat posed by enemy agents.

Towards the end of the Great War many of the Cyclists were attached to Brigadier-General Brutinel’s 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and supported the Canadian Corps during the 8 August 1918 Amiens offensive.

Establishment of the First Canadian Army in April 1942 led to a tremendous demand for Intelligence specialists, and on 29 October 1942 the C Int C was officially recognized as a Corps. Canadians from universities, colleges, businesses and industries joined the C Int C to participate in a great variety of Intelligence duties; a number became casualties at Dieppe, in Northwest Europe and the Adriatic. Army Intelligence sections or staffs were represented at Army, Corps, Division, and District levels, with seven Field Security Sections in existence as well. By 1943, for the first time in Canadian history, Canadian personnel filled all Intelligence appointments within Canada's Army formations and units.

C Int C green leaf logo.

The C Int C took its first casualties of the War when Second Canadian Division was committed to its first major combat action, at Dieppe on 19 August 1942. Captain Theodor M. Insinger was killed when his landing craft tank (LCT) was blown up, and Captain F. Morgan was killed shortly after he came ashore.  In the Field Security group, Company Sergeant Major J.S. Milne, Sergeant J. Holt and Sergeant W. Corson were killed and five others captured.

In the Mediterranean theatre, Corporal A.D. Yaritch was killed while on duty in the Adriatic. In North West Europe, Sergeant G.A. Osipoff and Sergeant F. Dummer were killed during operations in France.

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the First Special Service Force had their own Intelligence staff during the Second World War.

Canadian Intelligence Corps buckle, Silver and Green Shoulder Flash, Kings's Crown cap badge and collar dog (1942-1952)

Canadian Intelligence Corps Queen's Crown cap badge and Army trade qualification badges (1952-1968).

The C Int C Group Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Trade badges (1953-1968) are khaki with a True North Star and Magnetic North Star for Group 1, a laurel wreath added for Group 2, a King Edward Crown (no wreath) for Group 3, and a Crown and wreath for Group 4.  No trade badges were worn from 1968 to 1982.  Some time in the 1980s, the trade badges came back, with the Land (Army) elements having Trade Qualification Level 1 (TQ1) with just a True North Star, TQ2 with the star and wreath, TQ3 with a star and crown and TQ4 with a star, wreath and crown worn on the garrison jacket.  Trade badges are not worn by Army Officers.

In 1952, training activities for Regular and Militia personnel were moved from Petawawa to the newly-created CSMI at Camp Borden. Until unification in 1968, the C Int C provided Intelligence personnel for the Canadian Army, the Clerk-Intelligence trade supported the RCAF and the RCN employed operational personnel on intelligence duties.

During the early 1960's the Canadian Government was exploring the possibility of amalgamating the three Services into a single, unified command structure. Although the government publicly stated that there was full consultation with the military, the process was essentially enacted by decree. The Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force ceased to exist and became the Sea, Land, and Air Elements of the Canadian Armed Forces. Individual Corps and Services common to the three elements such as Provost, Signals, Medical, Ordnance and Chaplains were unified and designated as Branches. New uniforms (the CF Greens) were authorised, and the rank structure unified.

The Police and Intelligence units of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force were amalgamated into the Canadian Armed Forces Security and Intelligence Branch on 1 Feb 1968.  New insignia, Branch Colours and a Branch March were approved.  In the 1980's the Intelligence part of the Branch separated to become it's own service. The policing portion of the Branch was renamed the Security And Military Police Branch.  In 1999, the Branch was renamed again and designated the Military Police Branch.

The Security cap badge was introduced about 1970, it was originally worn by all ranks, although many former members of the Canadian Intelligence Corps, the RCN and the RCAF Clerk Intelligence trade could be seen wearing their old cap badges until the mid 1970's.  Security Branch collar badges were being worn shortly before the cap badge was issued.  A large number of collar badges in dark green on gold were produced in the early 1970s before being replaced by the full colour current pattern.  Security collar badges were worn by all ranks below Colonel on the CF Green jacket and Army DEU jacket.

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