Published: 07th December 2013
MRF Shadow Troop
by Simon Cursey
The untold true story of top-secret British military intelligence undercover operations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1972-1974
Much has been talked about SAS involvement in Ulster. Also that of 14 Intelligence Company. Not so with the MRF, the pioneering anti-terrorist unit that was there before them all, from the start - the unit upon which all other counter-terrorist squads are based. Why has there been no coverage of the MRF? Because so few know the truth.
Some think it stood for 'Military Reconnaissance Force', others 'Mobile Reconnaissance Force'. Many people thought it didn't exist at all and was made up, a figment of the press's imagination. To the members of the group that was just fine. It added to the illusion, and the speculation about the unit's name and mission only added to the uncertainty amongs their targets - terrorists - members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the IRA, the provos.
For decades there has been argument in the media and amongst politicians about the possible existence and extent of a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland.
Shadow Troop indicates there was such an agenda in the early, chaotic days of British military intervention across the Irish Sea. Amongst the mountain of speculation there is little of any accuracy or authority relating to this period.
Simon Cursey was recruited into the Military Reaction Force - the unit's true name - in 1972. This book is his personal account of his time with the group and in it he reveals the truth about their operations - the briefings, missions, political wrangling, and government-sanctioned law-bending.
With documents and photographs to corroborate all his revelations, Shadow Troop is a fascinating, exciting but above all accurate historical text about the pioneers of counter-terrorism.
Available in Paperback and Kindle eBook above.
Contemporary reports on the MRF in the early 1970s:
'They are not in business even to make arrests, but they are specialists operating in areas of greater risk than is experienced by ordinary soldiers in Ulster.'
'They are 300 times more effective than an ordinary patrol.'
'If we are going to have murderers and terrorists roaming about the towns, then we have to have somebody who is able to go out to find them.'
A report from when one of the members was killed:
'Now that particular trick can't be used again. But there will be other methods and other brave men to carry them out with no public recognition for their courage... Not while they are alive.'
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