Joint Intelligence Training Group

The Joint Intelligence Training Group (JITG) is the location of the headquarters of both the Defence College of Intelligence and the British Army Intelligence Corps. It is located at Chicksands, Bedfordshire, approximately 35 miles (56 km) north of London. The site was formerly known as the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC) since its move from Ashford in 1997. The site was renamed as JITG on 1 January 2015.[1]

Joint Intelligence Training Group
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg

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Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Chicksands, Near Shefford, Bedfordshire, England
Coordinates52°02′33″N 0°21′45″W / 52.04251°N 0.36258°W / 52.04251; -0.36258
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
Controlled byJoint Services
Site history
In use1936 - present
Garrison information
OccupantsRoyal Navy, Intelligence Corps, Royal Air Force

Site HistoryEdit

Chicksands was the site of RAF Chicksands, an RAF signals collection station during and after the Second World War; during the war, it was one of the "Y-Stations" which sent intercepted signals to the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, where ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted, most importantly the ciphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines. The station was used by the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1995, also for signals collection, being the location for its first 1,443 feet (440 m) diameter FLR-9 direction finding antenna, commonly known as the Elephant Cage, from 1963 to 1995. The site was closed as an RAF station in 1997, then handed over to the Intelligence Corps allowing the Corps Headquarters and training delivery to re-locate from Templer Barracks in Ashford, Kent.

Channel 4's Time Team visited the base in 2001 and excavated areas in front of and around the priory. One of the unusual finds was the remains of a 45-year old woman. The bones were studied and carbon-dated and almost four years after they were unearthed, the bones were re-buried by the military chaplain on the base in August 2005. The Time Team were unsure who the woman was, but they believed her to be a commoner rather than a member of the Gilbertine Order.[2]

In 2003, the Double Agent Alfredo 'Freddie' Scappaticci (codenamed 'Stakeknife') was debriefed at the base when his cover was blown. Scappaticci had been working for the IRA but informing on them to the Ministry of Defence, who were said to have been paying him £80,000 a year.[3]

In April 2004, the former US Elementary School site was sold off to Mid-Bedfordshire Council to enable consolidation of two council offices in Biggleswade and Ampthill. The site was located at the extreme southern end of the base where it backs onto the crossroads on the A507 road by Campton village. The funds raised from this allowed the unit to build new accommodation blocks for officers and other ranks on the base.[4]

Defence College of IntelligenceEdit

The Defence College of Intelligence (DCI) is responsible for delivering training in intelligence and security to members of the British Armed Forces, police and other public sector staff as well as international partners. Training is delivered over three sites, Chicksands, the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture, MOD Shrivenham and the Defence School of Photography at the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering at Cosford.[5]

JITG trains 5,000 students a year across all disciplines including the Defence Humint Unit and diaspora training sites such as the Defence School of Photography.[6]

HQ Intelligence CorpsEdit

The Headquarters of the Intelligence Corps is located on site, with all core training for Intelligence Corps soldiers and officers being delivered through the DCI.

HMS FerretEdit

HMS Ferret is a training unit of the Royal Naval Reserve which delivers intelligence-related operational capability.[7]

Other resident unitsEdit

  • Defence HUMINT Unit (DHU)[8]
  • "Military Intelligence Museum". (formerly Intelligence Corps Museum)
  • Army Cadet Force detachment


  1. ^ "Bedfordshire - Joint Intelligence Training Group Chicksands". Sanctuary (44): 74. 2015. ISSN 0959-4132.
  2. ^ Wood, Mark (12 August 2005). "Mystery body to be reburied". Biggleswade Chronicle. p. 11. ISSN 0962-3450.
  3. ^ Lister, David; Cobain, Ian (14 May 2003). "Spy Under Guard at Airbase". Christchurch Press. p. B2. ISSN 0113-9762.
  4. ^ "Defence Intelligence and Security Centre annual reports and accounts to March 2005" (PDF). July 2005. p. 8. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  5. ^ "RAF - Defence School of Photography". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Don't tell pike, but he's standing next to a film star". Biggleswade Chronicle. 5 February 2016. p. 13. ISSN 0962-3450.
  7. ^ "Bedford - HMS Ferret". Royal Navy. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Defence Intelligence and Security Centre annual report and accounts to March 2005" (PDF). July 2005. p. 4. Retrieved 1 August 2017.

External linksEdit