By James Kinchin-White & Ed Moloney
The document below is an extract from an official Ministry of Defence paper describing the various archives used to store ‘secret’ and ‘top secret’ British military papers dealing with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The relevant pages which describe the various storage facilities in detail are reproduced beneath this article, but here is a short guide to the different repositories:
1. Some twenty million (20,000,000) documents classified up to ‘secret’ are stored at the Ministry of Defence Main Archive at Swadlincote, South Derbyshire. The archive is run by TNT UK Ltd, a courier service which was awarded a 25-year contract in 2003.
2. The Sensitive Archive – some 100,000 documents with a classification above ‘secret’ are stored at the sensitive archive in Portsmouth which is run by an MoD unit called Defence Business Services (DBS).
3. Amey Archive – Amey is the UK arm of a Spanish infrastructure firm and it runs a storage facility in Whitehall, London, containing 28,000 packages and files, consisting mostly of recently closed inactive files.
4. HQNI Lisburn, Northern Ireland – Thiepval Barracks, the headquarters of the British military in the North, holds about 10 million (10,000,000) documents, in paper, microfiche and microfilm form. The documents deal mostly with operational matters.
5. The Chicksands archive – This is the most sensitive of all the MoD archives dealing with the Troubles. Based in Chicksands, Bedfordshire, it stores some 48,000 ‘top secret’ documents, sometimes referred to as the Intelligence Corps Operational Archive and covers the period from the late 1970’s to the early 00’s.
Here is the full document: