The award this year goes to 63 MI Company
Presented to CO 6 MI Battalion, Lt Col Andy Hetherington on Corps Day by Mr Tony Hetherington, chairman FICM.
Major Francis Edward Foley CMG was a British Secret Intelligence Service officer. As a passport control officer for the British embassy in Berlin, Foley bent the rules and helped thousands of Jewish families escape from Nazi Germany after Kristallnacht and before the outbreak of the Second World War. He is officially recognised as a British Hero of the Holocaust.
Following the war, Foley retired to Stourbridge where he lived with his wife Katharine. 63 MI Coy, based in Stourbridge, had been aware of Frank Foley’s ties to the Intelligence Services following initial research in 2009, and had named the company’s all ranks mess the Foley Room, in his honour. In 2018 the Company began researching Foley in more detail. The book by Michael Smith Foley: The Spy Who saved 10,000 Jews (1999), alluded to Foley being an
Intelligence Corps officer. Initially there was some scepticism as the London Gazette referred to him being in the Hertfordshire Regiment. However, not to be put off and through the good offices of the Corps museum, it was unequivocally confirmed in the National Archives that Foley served as an Intelligence Corps officer from 1922 through to his retirement in 1949, working in what was known as MI1b.
In recognition of Foley’s efforts during the war and his service in the Intelligence Corps, 63 Coy designed and commissioned a tribute wall which is installed in the company HQ in the Army Reserve Centre in Stourbridge. The company contacted the FCO in Ottawa, following up on an article published on the FCO website announcing that Frank Foley’s descendants had gifted his original medal collection to the UK government in November 2017. The medals were sent back by the FCO to SIS in London. With support from ICA, the company obtained a miniature collection of the medals to be displayed alongside the tribute.
In September 2018, a bronze statue will be installed in Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge. Afterwards, 63 MI Coy will host a reception for VIPs, town councillors and the military community with an opportunity to view the wall, and to learn more about Foley by way of a presentation by members of the company.