British Cold War spy medals offered at Spink

A unique set of medals awarded to a British Cold War era spy are set to sell at Spink.

They were awarded to Warrant Officer Tony Haw, an SAS-trained member of 14 Intelligence Company who took part in undercover operations in Northern Ireland and East Germany.

British Spy medals

The lot includes a British Empire Medal and a Queen's Gallantry Medal

The unit was founded in Northern Ireland in 1972, after a series of failures by former British covert operations executive the Mobile Reconnaissance Force (MRF).

The MRF (1971-1972) was essentially a state sponsored death squad tasked with killing suspected IRA members.

In practice, it worked in collusion with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries and has been linked to the murder of a number of innocent civilians in Catholic neighbourhoods.

It operated a laundry, which would test clothes brought in for traces of ammunition or explosives, and a brothel for blackmail purposes.

The MRF fell apart in 1972, after both of these venues were attacked by the IRA.

The activities of 14 Intelligence Company remain confidential, but were more in the line of surveillance and reconnaissance – including tracking the movements of weapon caches.

This was dangerous work. Four of Haw’s colleagues were killed between 1972 and 1979.

Haw was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his part in these operations.  

In the 1980s, Haw was assigned to the BRIXMIS mission in East Germany.

He received the British Empire Medal (BEM) after managing to get inside a Soviet armoury and photograph the newly built T-64 tank.

In all the medals are valued at £18,000-22,000 ($23,452-28,663).

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