This post is second in what will be a series drawn from a History of I.S.9 (CMF) in the British National Archives. My access to the document was courtesy of researcher Brian Sims.
See also “I.S.9 History—Organization.”
Below is a transcript of a short chapter on tasks from the history:
The tasks of I.S.9 (CMF) were of course as indicated by its Charter.
(a) The supply Intelligence to the appropriate authorities by means of Interrogation of returning escapers and evaders (referred to hereinafter as E & Es).
(b) To instruct and brief all Imperial and American Air Force personnel and Ground Forces on conduct as a P/W [prisoner of war] and on escape and evasion.
(c) To supply Aids and Devices to help in evasion and capture.
(d) To contact, assist and if possible rescue, by any means except by direct force of arms, all Imperial and American evaders and P/W within the following countries:- ITALY, YUGOSLAVIA, ALBANIA, AUSTRIA.
(e) To recommend to the appropriate authorities those E & Es to be considered or Honours and Awards for conduct during capture, escape or during evasion and to forward to appropriate authorities details of those E & Es whose actions might be construed as being contrary to the high traditions of the three Services.
(f) To reward civilian helpers assisting E & Es in the countries mentioned above and to forward to appropriate authorities details in connection with atrocities committed against E & Es.
A word or two perhaps is necessary in connection with the above headings.
At a very early stage in the life of I.S.9, as early, indeed, as the days of CAIRO, it was obvious that I.S.9 or ‘N’ Section ‘A’ Force as it was then known, did not have sufficient trained personnel to interrogate all returning E & Es.
Arrangements were therefore made with CSDIC [Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre] (whose task was to interrogate enemy P/W) whereby its interrogating officers conducted the interrogations of E & Es.
Mention should be made here of the invaluable help given to the I.S.9 by CSDIC officers, without whose help few interrogations would have been possible. There can be little doubt but that the task of interrogation should have been undertaken and carried out by I.S.9 officers, but there also can be no doubt that with such a small War Establishment it would be been impossible for I.S.9 to have carried out this work satisfactorily, even during the “quiet” periods when few E & Es were returning. During the “rush” periods when hundreds of E & Es were returning through the lines, or being overrun in an advance, no attempt even could have been made at interrogation.
Assistance in Escape and Rescue.
In 1944 the charter was extended to cover Polish personnel whose troops were fighting in ITALY under Command of 15 Army Group.
The charter excluded communication by means of mail with camps in AUSTRIA.
In November 1944 the charter of I.S.9 (CMF) was extended to HUNGARY, ROUMANIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, and BULGARIA, and in Dec 1944 it was extended again to cover GREECE during the troubles with E.L.A.S. [The Greek People’s Liberation Army]
Honours and Awards.
In Aug 1944 this task became so heavy that M.I.9 LONDON undertook to deal with these matters, except for R.A.F. [Royal Air Force] evaders and American personnel, which remained he responsibility of I.S.9 (CMF).
Rewards to Helpers.
After the fall of ROME in June 1944, this task became a colossal one and quite beyond the capabilities of I.S.9 (CMF) to handle. At that time it was estimated that some 5,000 names of helpers had been registered by I.S.9 and that a further 45,000 might be expected by the end of the Italian campaign. After a good deal of negotiation a separate organization known as the Allied Screening Commission was set up to deal with this vast problem in ITALY, YUGOSLAVIA, and AUSTRIA. Later, an Allied Screening Commission was set up to deal with GREECE and the Balkans.
It might at this stage be assumed by the reader that I.S.9 (CMF) would appear to have transferred most of its responsibilities to others.
However clearly this might appear, and we would not protest that this was not so, yet there remained, for what was still a very small organization, a goodly task in active rescue work and in instructing, briefing and equipping Air personnel and Ground Forces.