Intelligence elite mourns colleagues

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The Independent Online
THE elite of Britain's intelligence community emerged from the shadows yesterday to honour the memory of colleagues who died in the helicopter crash three months ago, writes Simon Midgley.

All 25 passengers killed on the Mull of Kintyre in western Scotland (the RAF crew of four also died) were senior counter-terrorism experts on their way from Belfast to a security conference at an Army base near Inverness.

At a service in Canterbury Cathedral yesterday Dr George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told a congregation of 700 that those who died played a large part in the steps towards peace in Ulster. He said: 'I believe that it is in no small measure due to the work of those whom we honour in this service that progress has been made towards peace.'

The service was organised by the Army Intelligence Corps in memory of five men: Lieutenant Colonel Richard Gregory-Smith, Lieutenant Colonel George Williams, Lieutenant Colonel John Tobias and Major Roy Pugh all serving members of the Intelligence Corps, and Major John Haynes, a retired member of the Corps.

Officially the event was not linked with those for other victims but many of their families and associates were among those attending. The dead included six MI5 agents, including the only woman on board, 10 RUC Special Branch figures and nine army officers.

General Sir Charles Guthrie, the Chief of the General Staff, representing the Duke of Edinburgh, the Colonel-in-Chief of the Intelligence Corps, joined Rear Admiral John Lang, representing the Duke of York, a personal friend of one of the dead in the hour-long service.

Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, representing the government, was present as was Stella Rimington, the head of MI5 and Sir Hugh Annesley, the Chief Constable of the RUC.

David Spedding, the head of MI6, may have been present but army spokesmen refused to confirm this.

(Photograph omitted)