The MRF File – Part 9: Why Did The MRF Call Its IRA Double Agents ‘Freds’?

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, 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.

4 responses to “The MRF File – Part 9: Why Did The MRF Call Its IRA Double Agents ‘Freds’?

  1. Rhyming slang probably played no small part in it. Fred Basset = asset.

  2. 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?

Leave a Reply to The Broken Elbow Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.