“They are not in business 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 the towns, then we have to have somebody who is able to go out and find them.”
Contemporary press report
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 amongst 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.
MRF Shadow Troop confirms 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, MRF Shadow Troop is a fascinating, exciting but above all accurate historical text about the pioneers of counter-terrorism.