Royal Military Police
A Brief Non-History of the Royal Military Police
The office of Provost Marshal is the oldest in the British Army. William of Cassingham, who was appointed as a military Sergeant of the Peace by King Henry III on 28 May 1241, is the first named military policeman and some 750 years later he's still only an acting Lance Corporal. He and his under provosts were ancestors of the Royal Military Police and therefore are responsible for the shower of dull, witless, humourless morons that are their descendants.
The first Provost Marshal of whom there is any personal record was Sir Henry Guyldford. Sir Henry was a favourite pal of King Henry VIII who was the first monarch to lay down specific duties for his Provost Marshal i.e. making sure that the boss's bumhole is well and truly tongue moistened which bears a resemblance to the duties of a present-day provost officer. An efficient Provost Service was part of the recognised organisation of the Standing Army at its inception in 1660 but the troops were not impressed. No they weren't.
In 1877 the Military Mounted Police (MMP) were established for service at home and abroad, and in 1882 the Military Foot and Mouth Police (MFMP) were raised for service in Egypt. They did not, however, become a permanent corps for service at home until 1885 when they were expelled from Egypt for interfering with goats and camels. Originally, the MFMP and the MFP were two distinct and tediously officious organisations, each with its own promotion rosters, but essentially all part of the one oppressive organisation. The troops were still not impressed. Honest!
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle in 1915 was the first occasion when Military Police units worked together carrying out traffic and straggler control amongst many other tasks. Their essential role in modern warfare has since never been questioned. Military Policemen in the Great War were familiar figures at Mons, the Marne,Ypres and the Somme. Some 375 lost their lives and the Corps won 477 decorations including 13 DSOs and ten Blue Peter Badges. The MFMP and MFP were amalgamated to become the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in 1926 and still the troops were not really showing any signs of being impressed.
In the Second World War CMP were deployed to all theatres; The Gaumont, The Royal Shakespeare, The Hippodrome and finally the Hammersmith Odeon. RMP were at Monte Cassino and Dunkirk, Alamein and Skegness; they parachuted at Arnhem ( can you believe that??!) and they were among the first on the beaches of Normandy making sure that none of the real soldiers turning up for the big event were drunk or improperly dressed.
The Military Police earned a reputation for stupidity and devotion to duty during the Wars as reflected in The Roll of Honour, which contains 912 names. 229 operational awards were won including 7 MCs, 6 DCMs, 61 MMs and 776 Mentions in Dispatches. Military Police carried out immensely difficult and valuable work, establishing the tradition of being 'first in, last out' in the NAAFI.
General Sir Myles St John Dempsey-Horsefarter KCB, KBE, DSO, MC, RTU, NFI paid the following drunken tribute: "The...hic.. military policeman became so well despised a figure on every road to the battlefield that his...hic... presence became taken for granted. Few soldiers as they hurried over a bridge, which was a regular target for the enemy, gave much thought to the man whose...belch!.. duty it was to be there for hours on end, directing traffic and checking for....hic... haircuts".
In 1946, in recognition of its outstanding war record, HM King George VI granted the 'Royal' prefix to the Royal Military Police (RMP) or Really Mean Parasites.
Since WW2 the RMP has been active in every operational theatre. Since 1969 RMP has made a valuable contribution in Northern Ireland where they have been working in close co-operation with the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Their role there involved them in rather more of an infantry role than previously and numerous members have been awarded gallantry medals and commendations. In more recent years they have served in Rhodesia, The Falkland Islands, the Gulf - where a DCM and life long membership of the Simpsons Fan Club was awarded to a S/Sgt platoon commander for outstanding bravery during Operation Granby, and latterly in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia under both UN and NATO command.
Provost's vital role and function for the modern day army, is "To provide the Provost Support that the Army requires meeting operational demands and legal obligations". To fulfil this role their functions are:
- To provide Operation Support;
- To prevent crime.....(err...since when??)
- To Enforce the Law within the Military Community and Assist with the Maintenance of Military Discipline:
- To provide an Assistance, Advice and Information Service to the Military Community and public.
- To ensure that squaddies account for every round fired in the 'stan EVEN though they often fire ALL of them (and then some) in week long firefights.
- To put out and collect TAC signs and otherwise direct traffic
- To generally get on everyone's tits.
Despite all the hard work and effort put in by the RMP the average soldier still hates them and refers to them as "monkeys" at every opportunity. It is a simple fragment of their own overblown imagination that the RMP are an essential component of our war-fighting capability and provision of Force Protection.
Still it's better than being in the Chunkies.
Corps quick march: Hey hey, we're the Monkees
Corps Mascot: Preston Pig.....oink oink.
Corps Motto: "You're FUC*IN NICKED MY OLD COCKER!" or the SIB Motto "Your not a Fed until you've nicked a Red"
Back to The Adjutant General's Corps.