From James Kinchin-White and Ed Moloney
Well, according to former British Army officer Harry Beaves, writing in his recently published autobiography, ‘Down Among The Weeds‘, which deals mainly with his time in Northern Ireland at the time of Operation Motorman in 1972, the ‘Freds’ were christened ‘Freds’ after a popular cartoon strip at the time called ‘Fred Basset’, based on the life of a family pet and Basset hound.
It probably helped that the cartoon’s creator, Alexander Steel Graham, served in the British Army with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.
According to dogtime.com, the Basset hound was bred to hunt small game such as rabbits but has to be bribed to obey orders – the human version recruited to the MRF was, in some notorious cases, disastrously similar, as shall be revealed in coming posts.
Rhyming slang probably played no small part in it. Fred Basset = asset.
Or Fred = dead?
Brown bread is the traditional rhyme for dead.
On a more serious matter how has so much material on the MRF been made available to the public? Since the very existence of these groups is always denied how did so much material avoid the incinerator? Or at least a big black felt tipped marker?
A lot has been held back but interesting material managed to squeeze through the sieve……