In 2017 the FICM Trustees determined to recognise the enormous contribution to the Intelligence Corps that had been made by Major Alan Edwards OBE. It subsequently introduced the Alan Edwards Award.
Alan served in the Corps from 1958 until 1975. Following retirement from the Army, Alan had several posts within the Directorate of Security and upon full retirement in the mid-1990s, he redirected his attention to the Intelligence Corps. He became the Corps Historian and his knowledge of the Corps and its past activity was nothing short of phenomenal. In 2013 ill-health and age caused Alan to reduce his Corps involvement and he sadly died in August 2016.
The annual award recognises individuals or groups who have undertaken a project which fosters a better understanding of the diverse history of the Intelligence Corps.
The winner each year receives an inscribed memento, a £100 prize and a year’s complimentary membership to FICM.
Maj. Alan Edwards OBE
Major Francis Edward Foley CMG was a British Secret Intelligence Service Officer. As a passport control officer for the British Embassy in Berlin, Foley bent the rules and helped thousands of Jewish families escape from Nazi Germany after Kristalnacht and before the outbreak of the Second World War. He is officially recognised as a British Hero of the Holocaust.
Following the war, Foley retired to Stourbridge where he lived with his wife, Katherine. 63 MI Coy, based in Stourbridge, had been aware of Frank Foley’s ties to the Intelligence Services following initial research in 2009, and had named the company’s all ranks mess the Foley Room in his honour. In 2018, the Company began researching Foley in more detail. The book by Michael Smith Foley: The Spy Who saved 10,000 Jews (1999), alluded to Foley being an Intelligence Corps officer. Initially there was some scepticism as the London Gazette referred to him being in the Hertfordshire Regiment. However, not to be put off and through the good offices of the Corps museum, it was unequivocally confirmed in the National Archives that Foley served as an Intelligence Corps officer from 1922 to his retirement in 1949, working in what was known as MI1b.
In recognition of Foley’s efforts during the war and his service in the Intelligence Corps, 63 MI Coy designed and commissioned a tribute wall which is installed in the company HQ in the Army Reserve Centre in Stourbridge. The company contacted the FCO in Ottawa, following up on an article published on the FCO website announcing that Frank Foley’s descendants had gifted his original medal collection to the UK government in November 2017. The medals were sent back by the FCO to SIS in London. With support from ICA, the company obtained a miniature collection of the medals to be displayed alongside the tribute.
In September 2018, a bronze statue will be installed in Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge. Afterwards, 63 MI Coy will host a reception for VIPs, town councillors and the military community with an opportunity to view the wall, and to learn more about Foley by way of a presentation by members of the company.
In late 2016 Lieutenant Colonel McLean, Commanding Officer 6 Military Intelligence Battalion, identified the opportunity to name Norman Road Army Reserve Centre in Manchester. Consideration was given to various Intelligence Corps personalities; however, Major Geoffrey Harry Langdon was identified as being born in Rusholme, Manchester, approximately 600 metres from the Reserve Centre. Major Langdon had served in both the First and Second World War joining the Intelligence Corps five days before its formation in 1940. Truly, one of the first Intelligence Corps Officers.
Research material, gathered and ad analysed by conducted by Reservist L/Cpl Herbert, revealed that Major Langdon had had a very full and interesting intelligence career.
A key moment in Project Langdon was the discovery of Major Langdon’s only child, Janet, living in London. The Commanding Officer visited Ms Langdon in London, resulting in further contact and sight of extensive family photographs and the further personal details required to bring the biography fully to life.
It was decided that, instead of a simple plaque to commemorate Major Langdon, that a suitable wall design would be created in the hallway at Norman Road. Reservist LCpl Edmondson, a graphic designer by primary employment, joined the team, creating the concept for the wall into a professionally delivered product consisting of bespoke printed wallpaper and a large acrylic display. LCpl Edmondson then liaised with the company selected to complete the production and installation to ensure that the project maintained its integrity during the transition from design to production. Ms Janet Langdon officially named Norman Road Army Reserve Centre, Langdon House, on the 28th June 2017 which included the unveiling of the Langdon Wall. The project was made possible with the financial support of the Intelligence Corps Association and the North West and Isle of Man Reserve Forces Association. The Langdon Project is an excellent example of Intelligence Corps Reserve personnel bringing their civilian sector skills and combining them with Intelligence Corps skills to deliver an excellent product. The considerable hours of research and determination to provide the fullest picture of Major Langdon’s life and present it in a suitable manner is why Lieutenant Colonel McLean, LCpl Herbert and LCpl Edmondson are worthy of being awarded the Alan Edwards Award 2017.