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The Baron of Castleshort

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Jim Shortt

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Executive Summary

James Gerard Richard Shortt, born Purley, Surrey, in the southern suburbs of London, on 17 September 1953 has never served as an operational member of either the Parachute Regiment, the SAS nor any other part of the British Army. He was a recruit in the Territorial Army for less than 6 months but did not pass undertake or pass basic training. He has not passed the British Army's Basic Parachute Course and is not entitled to wear any British Army parachute wings badge. He was discharged from the Territorial Army Services No Longer Required.

He has not served on any operation as a member of the British Army or any other recognised regular national military force. He has not taken part in any military counter-terrorist operations. It is highly unlikely that he has taken part in any other counter-terrorist operations. He has not received any counter-terrorist training within the British Army. He is not, in fact, a trained soldier at all.

He qualified as a nurse in the UK during the mid-to-late 1970s but his registration has lapsed. He has not passed any recognised paramedic training in the United Kingdom and is not entitled to call himself a 'registered paramedic' in the UK.

He appears to be reasonably proficient at martial arts (though this is debatable), but his 'higher' qualifications are self-awarded.

He does not possess any recognised title of nobility in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. He has not been awarded any genuine Papal honours. He is not a member of any order of chivalry recognised within the state from which it is claimed it was conferred.

The medals that he wears on his fantasy uniforms - other than the bogus orders of chivalry - are an odd mixture of pre-Second World War European veterans' awards - which he can't possibly have qualified for, and modern commemorative medals which are widely sold on the Internet. All of the uniforms he wears are 'self-awarded'.

Introduction

You really could not make this up. Even the most imaginative Hollywood writer would be hard-pressed to dream up a character like James Shortt: nurse, monk, soldier of fortune, author and colonel of his own private army - amongst (many) other things.

In years to come, when the dust has long died down, people will speak in hushed tones in darkened corners in awe of such jaw-dropping effrontery. These are truly the final days of a golden era of walting at World Class level. Never again will individuals be able to embark on a glittering non-career without intense scrutiny from within and without. The Visigoths are at the gates of Rome - and they're 'avin' hoops for tea.

Here then is the story of the good Baron and the 'usual mob that anonymously deal in malicious fictions after glorious military careers'. 'Tis a yarn that will forever be told to wide-eyed children, drunkards and anyone else unfortunate to be within listening distance. Let us begin.

It was in the month of September 1953 that wise men in the East espied a bright star in the sky. They followed it to Purley in Surrey, where, in a small, semi-detached council house, they found a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger - idly polishing some nunchukas. They gave thanks to God and worshipped the infant, leaving him gifts of a stick-on Pancho Villa moustache, a sandy beret and an armful of Legion of Frontiersmen medals.

Now fast forward fifty-five years and that self-same rugrat is now Colonel, The Chevalier James Shortt, Baron of Castleshort. Impressive eh? Well let's take a look at...

The Baron of Castleshort's CV:

NATIONALITY: Joint British & Irish

PASSPORT: British & Irish

STATUS: Confidential

OCCUPATION: Director of Training & International Co-ordinator INTERNATIONAL BODYGUARD ASSOCIATION (founded 1957 In Paris)

EDUCATION:

  • Reedham Park Preparatory - private school
  • John Fisher School - Catholic public school
  • St Joseph's Seminary (1970-72) - priest training
  • St Francis Friary (1972-1973) - monk
  • St Bonaventure's Monastery (1973-1974) - monk
  • Croydon School of Nursing
  • Mayday University Hospital (1974-1978)

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • RGN (State Registered Nurse) [It's actually Registered General Nurse]
  • REMT (Registered Emergency Medical Technician)
  • FCCI (Fellow of the Faculty of Commerce & Industry)

However, it would appear that you can purchase this 'Fellowship' from here: Business Qualifications Worldwide

AWARDS:

  • KtT (Knight of the Sovereign Military Order)
  • KtSJ (Knight of the Order of St John)
  • Cross of King Albert
  • Cross of King Leopold
  • European Combatants Cross (and countless other decorations & medals: for the Shortt-list please visit Shortt Skirts and Shiny Things)

Last Senior Rank: Colonel

MILITARY:

  • Parachute & Ranger-qualified Cadet, 1st Cdt Bn Queen's Regt (1969-1970)
  • Instructor (at above)
  • Badged Parachute Regiment (1976)
  • Special Air Service Regt (SAS) (1980)
  • Royal Marine Commando Forces - Consultant (1976-1982)
  • Household Division Centralised Courses (1982-1987)
  • Home Office (SRDB) Senior RSL (1988-current)
  • USAFE Security Police - (EST) SWAT Instructor (1980-1981)
  • Paracommando Regt - (Belgian MoD) (1982)
  • Belgian Police Anti-Gang Unit (1983)
  • Combat Training Team - Director Of Training (1976-current)
  • Counter Terror Group (LETA) Chief Instructor (1977-current)
  • Swedish MoD Anti-Spetznaz Group's Instructor (1990)
  • National Police Firearms Courses Lecturer (UK) (1987)
  • NIFA Mujihadeen Instructor/Officer (Op Mistral 87/88) Khost (Afghanistan)
  • Special Operations Group - Cameroon (1989)
  • Jungle Interdiction Group Leader/Instructor - Papua New Guinea (1990)
  • Legion of Frontiersmen Ceremonial Guard (1987-current)
  • Ryazan Higher Airborne Forces School USSR (1989), visitor (i.e. Spetznaz - cynics might say he was their anti-Swedish Group instructor.)
  • Senior Counter Terrorist Advisor - Estonian Government (current)
  • Senior Advisor - Latvian Government Security Services (current)
  • Senior Protection Officer (1978 - current) Royal, Presidential, Diplomatic

What's Going On Here Then?

Let's deconstruct this CV a bit.

Military Claims

The Early Years

Firstly: 'Parachute & Ranger qualified Cadet 1st Cdt Bn Queens Regt'. The Army Cadet Force is a civilian youth organisation sponsored by the Army, and cadets aren't soldiers. Adding cadet service to one's military CV is a bit like David Beckham mentioning that he once turned out for Snodgrass Primary School under 9's. Cadets can wear a badge indicating that they have done a recognised sport parachuting course, but it doesn't make them 'parachute qualified'. As for the 'Ranger' claim, someone who knows more about the ACF than I do may be able to comment, but the only 'rangers' the British Army has are members of the Royal Irish Regiment where it is the traditional title of a private soldier.

EDIT: Nowadays the 'Ranger' qualification is the unofficial nickname of the Senior Cadets Cadre. This is a course all Senior Cadets have to complete, usually at County/Battalion level, in order to gain their 3 Star Army Proficiency Certificate badge. The fact that this gentleman has used it to embellish his Military CV is quite hilarious!

Confusion Reigns

The next bit is a tad confusing: 'Instructor (at above) (1976 - Badged Parachute Regiment - Special Air Service Regt (SAS) - 1980)'. Is Shortt claiming that his service between 1976-80 was as an instructor at his old cadet battalion? If so, then he still wasn't a member of the British Army unless he was commissioned (ACF officers receive a TA Gp B commission; cadet 'Adult Instructors' are not members of the armed forces unless commissioned - and Shortt has never received a commission in the British Army) so whatever cap-badge he wore is immaterial. Alternatively he could have been a cadet who was instructing other [more junior] cadets.

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IBA Presentation

There are certainly ACF detachments affiliated to the Parachute Regiment who wear the cap badge but there are no badged SAS cadets (although apparently there was at least one ACF detachment affiliated to 21 SAS in Hitchin in the 1970s).

Elsewhere he has claimed that he was a member of '3 Coy, 10 Para in Croydon and then went to 21 SAS' which is unlikely, as 3 Company, 10 PARA was in Finchley, whilst Croydon was the home of 2 Company. A canvass of members of 21 SAS who were around at that time has yet to reveal anyone who remembers him being a 'badged' member of the Regiment but it has been suggested that he might have been a member of the medical section in HQ Squadron.

Shortt has suggested in correspondence with an ARRSE member that he was 'attached to B and HQ Sqns'. This claim is supported by captioned images he uses for IBA presentations - images which show Jim in all his SAS glory and tooled up with a Belgian SMG with a similarly attired 'colleague'.

But the use of the word 'attached' is odd: it would suggest to most soldiers that Shortt was actually a member of another unit with a temporary assignment to 21 SAS. Enquiries continue, but it isn't looking good for Jimbo.

On the face of it it's all very confusing but thank goodness for the power of ARRSE! Jim Shortt has spent the past thirty or so years relying on the fact that the people who have seen through his lies didn't have an easy means to broadcast the truth. Shortt started to use the internet to propagate his bullshit and it's all come back to bite him on the buttocks. The Arrse community reaches everywhere and it has proved possible to check Shortt's actual records...

An Inconvenient Truth?

And then something strange happened. An ARRSEr reported that a certain J G Shortt, 24550634, was on the strength of 21 SAS from 12th April 1980 until 1st October 1980 before being discharged SNLR. Despite the claims he has made over the years, he never served with 10 Para in any capacity. In reality, he was an adult instructor with an ACF detachment which shared accommodation with 2 Company of 10 Para in Croydon, and which wore the Parachute Regiment cap-badge on a standard dark blue beret. It seems likely that he blagged his way into the Parachute Regiment Association on this basis, and who is to say that he didn't have a maroon beret to wear when his hierarchy weren't watching?

Without any real previous military training, less than six months in any branch of the TA isn't enough time to get a civilian 'off the street' and through a basic recruit course, let alone time enough to get them through for an arduous Special Forces selection course.

It's worth bearing in mind that those six months would include the (usually lengthy) administrative time to get the discharge paperwork through the system. Funnily enough, it was that very year that 21 saw a dramatic increase in recruits and had their largest selection intake. I wonder why? To be fair to Shortt, he joined slightly before this happened and the ability to see into the future is one of the few talents he has never claimed to possess.

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SAS

There are several theories about what Shortt was doing in 21. One (the most obvious and logical) is that he made a failed attempt at selection - a honourable undertaking whether successful or not - but (oddly) nobody remembers him doing this. Another is that he persuaded the then regimental CO to take him 'on strength' whilst he wrote his 'Osprey' book on the regiment.

Unlikely as this might sound, it would put Shortt more firmly under the umbrella of the Official Secrets Act and give the MoD the right to refuse permission to publish. There's good circumstantial evidence to support this idea: one of Shortt's books includes several photographs of SAS training exercises, in the south of England and the Welsh borders that were almost certainly taken by Shortt during the sumer of 1980 when he was allowed to observe some TA SAS training. Of course, actual enlistment is not usually a requirement for civilian observers or researchers and OSA signatories do not have to be service personnel; on the other hand, by enlisting him, 21 SAS would have gained the umbrella protection of 'Crown Immunity' which, at that time, prevented service personnel from suing the MoD and the Armed Forces even where negligence or culpability could be proved in a wide range of training and operational environments. It would be interesting to know whether Shortt was ever actually paid for any activities with 21.

In the early days of the Shortt saga it was suggested - by some former members of 21 who recall the brief period when Shortt was knocking around the regiment - that Nurse Shortt might have worked in the the medical section in HQ Sqn at 21, but after further research, this theory has now been discounted.

Whatever Shortt was up to at 21 SAS, it is clear from the very brief period he was there, and the fact that he had no previous military experience in any branch of the British Armed Forces, that he would not have been allowed to participate in anything other than the most basic military training. If he was attempting selection, it is likely that he will have done little more than a bit of map reading and a lot of PT until he jacked his hand in. If he was there as an observer to help him write his book, the chances are that he may have been allowed to take part in some squadron or regimental training, but under strict supervision.

So there you have it: James Gerard Richard Shortt's entire career in the British Army amounted to - at the most - 171 days, or a little less than six months. It doesn't matter that this service was with 21 SAS; if he'd joined the TA Catering Corps he wouldn't have got through his basic training on this time-scale. In other words, he never became a trained soldier, let alone an SAS trooper.

Despite this, Shortt has built his subsequent career on the claim - which is often implied but sometimes explicit - that he was at one time a trained SAS operator. It's hard to imagine that the governments of the newly re-emerged Baltic republics would be pleased to learn that they'd shelled out their valuable foreign currency reserves for the services of a man whose military career was limited to failing TA recruit training. They might even think that he'd defrauded them and, as they've now joined NATO and the EU, extradition shouldn't be a big problem. His current addresses are listed below.

A Para Without Wings?

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In Para Reg finery

Following sterling investigative work by ARRSEr Sandy Boots at the Parachute Course Administration Unit (PCAU) at RAF Brize Norton, it has been established that James Gerard Richard Shortt has not attended any UK para course.

Consequently, any British parachute wings that he wears (and he does on his fantasy uniforms) are self-awarded; and any foreign wings should be treated as suspect too - especially the Israeli ones.

Shortt in fact 'gained' the Israeli wings by booking a 'pay-as-you-drop' jump holiday (arranged by an American organization called the International Association of Airborne Veterans) and made one jump from a C130 on 17th May 1988. He was wearing British wings, a para beret and stable belt during that trip and he hasn't kicked that habit till today...[1]

The Airborne forces of many countries award each others' members parachute wings, normally based on them having undertaken a few military jumps under the respective country's control, but this is usually predicated on them having undertaken their own national military para course first. If Shortt did not complete this course in the UK than all subsequent wings are likely to have been 'gained' under false pretences.

The photo above on the right was taken after the jump and the official IDF ceremony on Palmachim beach, near Tel Nof - the IDF jump school.

The Inevitable Books

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What is beyond doubt is that in 1981, Shortt published Osprey Men at Arms 116: The Special Air Service. Whilst the SAS was nowhere near as secretive then as it is now, nevertheless it is highly unlikely that they would allow a 'proper' serving member to publish a book about the regiment.

Perusal of the text suggests that the author didn't have much more knowledge of the SAS than the avowedly non-SAS authors who had written about the unit by then, like Phillip Warner and Tony Geraghty.

He evidently did have access to some photographs from the SAS archives, but, at that time, 21 SAS (V) maintained a regimental museum which was open to the public by appointment and the SAS Association is certainly prepared to assist authors dealing with 'ancient' history. It is at this time that Shortt may have acquired associate membership of the SAS Association. He certainly received a membership card. This would, in all likelihood, have been issued purely to assist with his inquiries and to facilitate access in the appropriate areas. It was never handed back and the (no doubt much vaunted) document has since been used to back up his claims.

Shortt followed his first work up with Uniforms Illustrated 10: The Paras in 1985, where he stated (in the introduction) that he was an ex-para and member of the regimental association. This was in turn followed up a year later with Uniforms Illustrated 13: British Special Forces, 1945 to the Present (though no such claims here). The latter two books contain images that may possibly be of Shortt. He also published Special Forces Insignia in 1988 - all these works aimed primarily at collectors and modellers.

In 1987, Shortt - like a moth to a flame - appeared as a 'Military Advisor' in the Marshall Cavendish publication Combat & Survival. This was a five-volume partwork in one hundred weekly parts and James Shortt - Combat Training Team also authored several weapons-related articles in said publication... until Part 18, when he disappeared from print both as a contributing author and 'advisor'. The other military advisor for the series was a certain Colonel Mike Dewar - a well-respected authority. Had Colonel Mike bubbled Jim's scam?

Anyhow, not restricting his literary career to all things Special Forces, Shortt penned the mighty tome 'Self-Defence: The Essential Handbook' in 1984. This latter work appears to be highly collectible and sells for stupid money. 'Where there's muck there's brass', as my ol' granddad used to say.

The LoFty Heights of Walting

Then, mixed in with the allegedly real military activity is: 'Legion of Frontiersmen Ceremonial Guard (1987-current)'. Big mistake Jimbo! Most readers of ARRSE will be aware of the bogus nature of the LoF. It is a vehicle for Walter Mitty types, some of whom are genuine ex-servicemen, to further their military fantasies and award each other fake military ranks and meaningless commemorative medals. It's an interesting thought but it is certainly possible that Shortt's membership of the Legion of Frontiersmen is what spurred him on to create his own ludicrous private army and his own Ruritanian uniform to go with it. A (well founded) rumour has made it to ARRSE, via Victorian Major that Jimbo's walting is now so extreme and hideously public that even the LoF have realised that the man is an outrageous prat and are gathering to cashier him. Can the Mess Webley be far away one wonders?

Counter Terrorism Expert & Close Combat Instructor?

Close Combat

Then we have a raft of claims that Shortt was an instructor or consultant with a range of military and police units across the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and the Pacific. It's hard to know what the truth of this is but several claims do stick out: the first of these is 'Royal Marine Commando Forces: (consultant 1976-1982)'.

The reality of this seems to be that Shortt rented the gym at RM Deal for unarmed combat training at weekends, and that some members of the Royal Marines paid to take these courses, during which Shortt was assisted by a Royal Marines PTI named Bernie Finan (who would have been working in his spare time, like the PTIs who work for the eminently non-Walty 'British Military Fitness' team). RM Deal was, at that time, home to the Royal Marines bands rather than any of the commando units.

Another claim, that of 'Household Division Centralised Courses (1982-1987)' seems to be similar: Shortt used facilities at the then Guards Depot at Pirbright - not a million miles away from his native Purley - for his unarmed combat courses. Both of these claims are related to Shortt's company 'The Combat Training Team' which was the commercial vehicle for courses in unarmed combat and bayonet fighting. I would speculate that Shortt used this name because it kinda, sorta sounds 'official' which, of course, it wasn't.

In fact, it appears that in the early 1980s, Shortt's Combat Training Team did manage to get on the radar of UKLF's G2 security branch which issued a warning to units to the effect that the CTT were attempting to gain access to regular army and TA premises and offering unarmed combat training. The advice to USOs was that access should be denied and Shortt was 'carded' as an Int Nuisance.

Having said all that, there is no doubt that Shorrt ran unarmed combat courses which were attended by members of the Armed Forces, and it seems quite possible that some units hired him to run classes for specialist cadres, but this no more makes him a consultant to the Army or Royal Marines than some aerobics instructor brought in to run classes for the wives' club would be.

Counter Terrorism

Shortt's various claims to be a terrorism advisor to various governments are more problematic. There does seem to be an element of truth in them but one does have to wonder whether he would have acquired any of these counter-terrorist gigs if these governments knew the truth about him; that is, that he doesn't have any 'regular' military experience at all - and that such 'military' service that he can claim was as a cadet, a cadet instructor and possibly a member of the Territorial Army back in the era when it did not take part in operations.

Being an exponent of martial arts no more qualifies you as a counter-terrorism professional than owning a packet of Elastoplast makes you a doctor. Incidentally, when Shortt claims to be 'the first Western military officer to have visited the Ryazan Higher Airborne School' in the former USSR, he's lying insofar as he has never held commissioned rank in anything other than comedy organisations like the Legion of Frontiersmen and the Royal Galloglas Guard.

The International Bodyguard Association

Since 1990, Baron Shorttarrse has been 'Director General' of an organisation calling itself the International Bodyguard Association. Even though this association is claimed to have been founded in 1957, no mention of it can be found before 1989 [2]. The IBA appears to be a kind of franchise scheme in which individuals can take courses in a range of skills relating to bodyguarding (like .50 sniping, IEDing Volvos, wearing black a lot, etc.) and then teach those same skills to a wider public - provided that a chunk of their course fees are paid directly to Shortt (for bank account details, see below). Anyone who teaches the same thing outside the orbit of the IBA is apparently immediately excommunicated in a manner which no doubt brings a tear to the eye of the ex-monk running the show.

Opinions seem to differ about whether IBA training is any good or not. Amongst the plethora of IBA training videos on YouTube, which feature the noble baron complete with gravelly 'Sarf Lahndun' accent, is one in which he has an impressive ND with a 9mm pistol. Personally, I'd have edited that bit.

Screaming Lord Butch

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The Baron Castleshort

With the question of Shortt's failure to complete (and perhaps even attempt) British Army recruit training resolved, it's time to turn to the various titles of chivalry and nobility he claims. Once again, all is not as 'The Baron of Castleshort' claims.

The Barony of Castleshort seems to have been given or sold to Shortt by one Terence McCarthy, who posed for a period as the 'McCarthy Mor and Prince of Desmond' before being outed as a Belfast con-man. McCarthy had managed to convince the Irish Chief Herald that he was the clan chief of the McCarthys and took the opportunity to coin it, by selling titles to gullible Irish-Americans, before he was exposed as a fake. 'Baronies' in Ireland were introduced by the Norman-English and are not a traditional Irish title.

Once a Knight is quite enough

The various knighthoods and orders that Shortt routinely wears whilst dolled up in his Irish-Ruritanian uniform are also bogus.

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The Colonel

There is no evidence that Shortt has been awarded any of the recognised Papal orders of chivalry although he has been photographed wearing the uniform and insignia of a Knight of St Gregory at the Russian Summer Ball; this he claims he was awarded by Pope John Paul II for his work in 'helping to bring the Cold War to an end'. [Didn't we all?]

Oddly enough, it seems possible that Shortt may have been scammed by other conmen who have been selling bogus Papal awards certificates to gullible, socially insecure Catholics. Alternatively, with Shortt's record, it's quite possible that he simply awarded it to himself. Neither is he a Knight of the Order of St John in the UK: the insignia of the Kt St J that he wears appears to be Yugoslavian, and available from all good bogus awards dealers which explains much and little in the same breath.

His claim to have been awarded the Hungarian Knightly Order of Vitez provides a further link, as the Knightly Order proudly screams that it is recognised by no less a body than the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry. Sadly, that body is itself somewhat discredited, as it appeared to have established itself largely to recognise the spurious Orders its members were claiming. And guess who was heading the ICOC at one point? Yes, the discredited Terence McCarthy!

Arrser Dread has done a little background research into the 'Vitezi Rend' and his findings are that there have been no legitimate new awards since 1945, when Miklos Horthy, the Fascist-Nationalist Regent of Hungary, was deposed; although as an hereditary title, it could in theory have been inherited since then. Membership of this knightly order was awarded to Hungarian nationals who had distinguished themselves in war in the service of Hungary and the title 'Vitez' could be inherited by eldest sons of military age, so it's hard to see where a plastic Paddy with a dodgy 'tache fits in. Claiming membership of this order is much the same as falsely claiming to have a DSO or an OBE, and is an undeniable insult to Hungarians who have legitimately earned it.

In fact, what Shortt appears to have done is Over-Walting, supported at the time by a International Commission of Walts which strove hard to legitimise long-defunct Walty Orders of Nobility. [It should be noted that the ICOC today is a much-improved product.] [3]

Call Out the Guard!

The Royal Galloglas Guard - of which Shortt is the 'hereditary Colonel Commandant' - was established by Shortt sometime during the 1990s, at the height of the MacCarthy Mor fantasy (most probably c.1995), though Shortt falsely claims that it has existed for centuries.

Initially known as the 'Royal Eoghanacht Galloglas Guard', this comic-opera outfit protrayed itself as the personal guard of the false MacCarthy Mor (the Prince of Desmond etc.), and Shortt issued a public 'warning' in 1999 to those who sought to question the validity of the pint-sized 'prince's' genealogical claims - see here.

Unfortunately, certain people in Ireland were inclined to regard this sort of guff as a threat, in light of the fact that the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland/Genealogical Office is an office of the Irish State, but also because 'G2' is the designation for the Irish Defence Forces' Army Intelligence branch.

The 'uniform' of the Royal Galloglas Guard (the 'Eoghanacht' part was dropped when the MacCarthy Mor fraud was exposed) is a poorly-executed cross between the dress uniform of members of the Irish Guards and Royal Irish Regiment pipe bands, and the Irish Defence Forces Army Pipe Band, all with an element of Irish-American Darby O'Gillism thrown in. Interestingly, said 'uniform' has its own rank structure and parachute qualification badges - see here.

WARNING

Please be advised that the drinking of tea or other beverages may well result in undue damage to keyboards during the viewing of the above-cited link.

The Teddington Connection

The Barony of Castleshort isn't Jimbo's only title of nobility, nosiree! He's also a Count (check sp?) of the Holy Roman Empire. This is real, genuine and official, with Jim's writ of summons to the Court of the Holy Roman Empire being issued direct from the desk of the Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order at his Royal Palace at PO Box 276, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 0UL. Interestingly, sharing the Palace of Teddington are:

  • The Private Office of His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Karl Friedrich von Deutschland, Hochmeister of The Teutonic Order, Royal Mail Post Office Box 276, Teddington, Middlesex, United Kingdom, TW11 0UL
  • The Imperial College of Princes and Counts of The Holy Roman Empire, The Grand Reichs-Chancellor's Office, Royal Mail Post Office Box 276, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0UL
  • The Imperial and Royal Society of The Almanach de Chivalry, Royal Mail Post Office Box 276, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0UL

But it would be foolish to think that it's just the Holy Roman Empire where Jim is one of the big cheeses. He's hugger mugger with the Polish royal court as well - and we mustn't forget his close mucker The Prince Grand Master, HSH Prince, The Count Juliusz Nowina-Sokolnicki GCCStS, OWE, VM, GCPR, GCIJ, GCMS, GCVV, GCTJ, NN etc. who's the daddy for doling out the Order of St. Stanislas:

  • Order of St. Stanislas, Office of the Grand Master, 8 Irvine Road, Colchester, CO3 3TR, Essex, UK

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

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The Grey Man

As a top European aristocrat, it was a natural that the Count (check sp?) of Castleshort would get the gig to protect all of his fellow A-list Euro-nobility at the Russian Summer Ball. After all, they wouldn't want their demure, attractive lady friends being subjected to intimate body searches by any old hobbledehoy, now would they?

Naturally, in keeping with his philosophy of bodyguarding, Jim plays the 'grey man' at these events by disguising himself as the pipe-major of the Auchtermuchty Sea Scouts and, occasionally, as a Knight of St Gregory.

Knight without End

Perhaps more like Knight without beginning. A non-ARRSEr, with genuine connections to the various Papal Knights, reported that he had no success in finding any reference to Shortt's Papal Knighthood in the usual publications. Strangely, another search by ARRSEr gallowglass (no pun intended) in Ireland had the same lack of success. An editorial oversight by the Holy See no doubt.

Nurse, the screens please!

Nurse or Nonentity?

If James Gerard Richard Shortt was admitted to the Register of General Nurses as an RGN on 10 April 1978 with registration number 0536886 then Jim can also add time travel to his accolades, as RGNs did not exist until much later. The number is also of the wrong format and more than likely made up. After all, who would bother checking?

The number 76B5310E has also been quoted from another of Jim's CVs, and this is more in keeping with the period. However, as he claimed to have started Nursing in 1974, that number should surely have a '74' prefix? Oddly - but unsurprisingly - there is no record of that number on the Nursing & Midwifery Council's (NMC) database. Quelle surprise! Had he qualified as a State Registered Nurse (SRN) then he certainly would have been entitled to call himself a nurse at that time. He does not appear to have kept his registration (if indeed he had one) up to date. So no cigar!

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Medicine Man

As for his claim of being a 'Registered Emergency Medical Technician', in the UK this generally means that one has undergone a five-day advanced first aid course and, the last time I checked, was not a nationally recognised or accredited qualification (although EMT status in the US is a serious paramedical qualification). Shortt did his 'EMT' training with a company called 'Paramedic UK' which might have led him to the next claim...

In his 'Course Notes' for the bodyguarding course, published on the 'IBA Germany' website[4], Shortt does actually claim to be a 'registered paramedic' which is really quite naughty, unless you are actually one. In the UK, it takes around 3 years to qualify as a paramedic and the term is now 'protected', meaning that you can be fined for claiming to be one if you aren't. Ooops. Of course, Dr Kilshorttarrse may be a properly qualified paramedic, but it is hard to see where he might have fitted in the 3 years training in his amazingly busy 'international man of mystery' schedule.

Mile High Medic?

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Jim the Aeromedic

Nobody can argue that Jim is lazy (or unimaginative). Despite his hectic schedule of protecting the rich and famous - and instructing the ignorant and gullible - he has even found time to dress as an aeromedic: a flying nurse. Shortt claims to have started doing this - along with agency nursing - in the late 70s and early 80s whilst he was establishing his various para-military business ventures. Even so, it isn't at all clear when he was last active in CASEVAC flights, though hopefully not recently as he no longer features on the Register of General Nurses.

Nevertheless, Jim’s certainly got the nursie outfit - suitably embellished - though quite what parachute badges have to do with aeromed is anyone’s guess (it means he can empty a bed-pan while freefalling from 25,000 feet - Ed.). It would be interesting to know when anyone at Europ Assistance (the company he claims to have worked for) last heard of him.

Hai Karate

One area in which there is no doubt of Shorttarrse Sensei's expertise is in the martial arts - or is there?

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When membership expires

By his own account he has been practicing various forms of martial arts since he was a child and is, according to some independent witnesses, quite good at it too. But having said that, the pugilistic papist still manages to attract controversy.

Shortt's claim to be a practitioner of a specific form of Jiu-Jitsu - Ryoi Shintô Ryû - allegedly handed down from teacher to student in a continuous chain down the centuries, is widely derided by martial arts enthusiasts, however good he may be at it. Historians of the martial arts seem to agree that this style of Jiu Jitsu died out in the early 20th century and that the style practised by Shortt-San is simply something he made up himself.

Having said that, at least one Arrser who attended Shortt-san's Jiu Jitsu dojo in Purley in the 1980s remembers him as an excellent and highly thought of instructor who was also very good with the kids who attended (in a nice way). Clearly times change and so do people, and it remains unclear what dragged 'Seamus', as he called himself at the time, over to the Dark Side of walting.

4th Dan Judo

His claimed Judo qualifications are suspect too. Neither the British Judo Association nor the British Judo Council have any record of Jim Shortt at all, let alone the 4th Dan grade that he claims. Further enquiries are proceeding with the Amateur Judo Association and the Irish Judo Association to see if they have any record of him.

Ott or Not?

Lord Jim learned the bodyguarding trade from his mentor, French Army 'Major' (which is a Warrant Officer in the French Army, unless this is a translation of the French rank 'Commandant') Lucien Victor Ott who allegedly served in one of the post-WW2 French SAS units, fought at Dien Bien Phu, was captured by the Viet Minh, escaped and was subsequently appointed Charles de Gaulle's bodyguard. Or maybe not.

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Charles de Gaulle's bodyguard was actually Pierre Comiti. Oddly for such a distinguished soldier, references to Ott on the internet point straight back to Shortt himself, to websites set up by various branches of the IBA; and in a few cases to commentaries on the politics of the extreme-right in Belgium in the 1970s and 1980s; not conclusive at all, but certainly suggestive that Ott might also have inflated his CV somewhat. Ott's decorations are displayed at IBA gatherings in a small, portable shrine and include basic French and US Master Parachutist wings. How a Frenchman managed to do 65 US jumps is beyond comprehension though. [5] For such a highly decorated hero of the French Army, his lying in state curiously consists of a couple of boxheads and, yes you've guessed it: Jimbo - in all his Legion (of Frontiersmen that is) finery.

In a bizarre twist one arrser reports being present at Ott's "second funeral" in September 94 somewhere near Croydon. "Apparently the lease on his other plot had run out, and Shortty had him brought over." Oh dear...

The Baron Goes to the Law

Shortt, sharp, shock!

In September 2008, the mighty Baron decided that enough was enough and that having a bunch of rough British squaddies sniggering at him on Arrse was simply too much for a refined aristocrat of delicate sensibility. However, rather than consulting m'learned friends, he ran up a few nasty letters and emails in his best bogus baronial legalese and sent them out to the owners of Arrse and various other websites on which negative material about him had appeared. Was this a good idea? You decide: The Baron Goes Legal

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The Mercenary

Shorttarrse's legal threats galvanised the Arrse community (and this is not a group of people you want to galvanise if you can avoid it). Apart from the fact that amongst the denizens of Arrse dwell a number who have served in such illustrious units as 21, 22 and 23 SAS, 10 Para and even the Surrey ACF. There are also real Irishmen, real Irish aristocrats, real martial arts afficionados, real close protection specialists, real counter-terrorism experts, real lawyers, real journalists, real medics (including the aero type) and, indeed, people who do really know Shortt and something about what he's been up to for the last 35 years. Whoops!

Consequently, as if gripped by the furies, the membership of Arrse have been trawling for information and much has been turned up which might be of interest to the dedicated Shorttwatcher, albeit that some of it is strangely contradictory.

Home(s) Sweet Home(s)

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Jim with Household staff

It's difficult to pin Jim down to one location, as you'd expect with an international man of mystery, but it's quite surprising just how many different addresses he maintains.

In fact there are so many addresses, and variations on the same, that An Post (the Post Office in the Republic of Ireland) must have a dedicated set of staff. A few items collated from the threads, E&OE:

  • Castle Cosy, Brewery Street, Castlebellingham, Co Louth ... is this the real Home Of Baron James? [6]
  • 112 Whitethorn Park, Palmerstown, DUBLIN 22 - the Grand Headquarters of the IBA?
  • 49 Avondale Road,South Croydon,Surrey,CR26JE,United Kingdom [7]
  • Borrmount Manor, Borrmount Bree, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford - The Royal Eoghanacht Galloglas Guard
  • Office of the Director General, International Bodyguard Association HQ, Cahore Castle, Cahore, County Wexford
  • James Shortt, Castleshort Lodge, Ballywater, Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
  • James Shortt, Ballywater, Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford
  • The Baron James Shortt, Castleshort, Borrmount Manor, Borrmount, Enniscorthy. [Borrmount Manor is a golf course]
  • Address for service is c/o JAMES SHORTT, Castleshort Lodge, Ballywater, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford, Ireland.
  • Castle Bellingham (Hotel).
  • Application No. Area Registration Date Decision Date Decision 20045101 Enniscorthy 30/09/2005 23/11/2005 GRANTED subject to CONDITIONS. Applicant: SIMON MURPHY & MARTIN MURPHY (So Jim doesn't own it?) Address: Borrmount Manor, Borrmount, Bree, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
  • The Baron of Castleshort, c/o The Lansdowne Club, 9 FitzMaurice Place, Berkeley Square, London W1X 6JD [As of 2000]. A check of the membership list has revealed that he is not a member.
  • International Bodyguard Association Ltd (Registered No. 05916989) 23-24 High Street, Wooton Bassett, Swindon, Wiltshire SN4 7AA
  • National Security Training Academy Limited (Last AR 04/08/2008) - Ballyscannel, Ballinfull, Co. Sligo
  • Colonel The Chevalier James Shortt, Baron of Castleshort, Borrmount Manor, Borrmount, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, IRELAND
  • And, if you go into Google Maps UK and type in his Norn Iron Postcode (BT41 1AA) you get an industrial estate on the Pennybridge Road in Antrim. He uses a PO Box number. I know that estate - it is full of lock-up units!
  • And the latest discovery [15 Jan 09] is IBAUK( London office), 69a Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 4NX, Phone +44(0)2078233597, Mobile +44(0)7748390108, Fax +44(0)20279001911, Email: office@ibauk.com ... Although it seems to be populated by Beauticians and a Theatrical Agent. There may be a clue there!

All in all, there's a faint smell that suggests Jimmy uses some of these addresses to "big it up" and uses them as a poste restante whereby he can keep his real home address secret. Well, that's a wise move, Jim - a VERY wise move. Especially as an ARRSEr of your acquaintance remembers visiting your attic apartment in the mid-90s, when it was in Croydon and wasn't a castle!

Financial Diversification

Along with his multiplicity of addresses, the Baron likes to maintain a wide portfolio of bank accounts into which monies owed to the International Bodyguard Association are paid. The following 'appear' to be linked to Jim. In these days of financial uncertainty, it pays to spread the risks across several different financial institutions, though it doesn't exactly inspire confidence when parting with the readies, does it? There must be Nigerian scammers going positively wet with excitement whilst reading this? Anyhow, should you get the urge to blow your inheritance then you can pay by Interbank transfer. Just make sure you mark all payments to 'The Baron Castleshort'.

  • Account # 61428748, Sort Code: 90-65-66, Bank of Ireland, Abbey Square, Enniscorthy, County Wexford. Republic of Ireland. IBAN ie55-bofi-90656661428748
  • Name: The Society of the Irish Brigade, Account # 22299G, Enniscorthy Credit Union, Abbey Square, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Tel +353-54-33835, Fax -36613
  • Euro € Payments – Credit transfer / Giro transfer to: IBAN (International Bank Account Number): ie55-bofi-90656661428748, (or) Account No: 61428748, Sort Code: 90-65-66, Bank of Ireland, Abbey Square, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland. (Mark all payments for the attention of The Baron Castleshort)
  • UK £ Sterling Payments - Credit transfer / Giro transfer to: IBAN (International Bank Account Number): gb91-bofi-30152522676933, (or) Account No: 22676933, Sort Code: 301525. BIC No: BOFIGB2B. Bank of Ireland. (2nd Floor). Premier House, Sydenham Road. Croydon CR0 2EZ.(Mark all payments for the attention of James Shortt)
  • US $ Payments - Credit transfer / Giro transfer to: Account No: 1010113305076. Routing: 053101626. (Mark for the attention of James Shortt). Wachovia Bank N.A. Cross Creek Financial Centre, 4924 Morganton Road NC3194, Fayetteville. NC 28314. United States of America
  • Euro € Payments - Credit transfer / Giro transfer to: IBAN (International Bank Account Number): ie55-bofi-90656661428748, (or) Account No: 61428748, Sort Code: 90-65-66, Bank of Ireland, Abbey Square, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland. (Mark all payments for the attention of The Baron Castleshort)
  • UK £ STERLING PAYMENTS – Credit transfer / Giro transfer to:IBAN (International Bank Account Number): gb91-bofi-30152522676933 (or) Account No: 22676933 Sort Code: 301525 BIC No: BOFIGB2B Bank of Ireland. 20 Berkeley Square, London W1J 6LL. United Kingdom (mark all payments for the attention of James Shortt)
  • Account # 92503369 Sort Code: 10-80-02 - Woolwich Building Society, Watling Street, Bexleyheath, Kent, DA6 7RR, United Kingdom. (Mark for attention of The Baron Castleshort)
  • ALL PAYMENTS: If you are booking courses described in this brochure, all payments and bookings should be made directly to the OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL; (not to a National or Regional Director) All payments by transfer, credit or deposit MUST be made to one of the three banks accounts listed here, or sent by draft or cheque directly with this form to the IBAHQ in Ireland. Failure to observe this protocol will result in an additional 20% surcharge payable on the course fee(s) .. Credit Card payments can be made to International Bodyguard Association through PayPal to: ibahq @ indigo.ie Add 5% to course(s) costs to cover PayPal charges.

All funds for all courses, wherever they are held, go direct to Jimbo or his alter ego as IBA HQ? Jimbo's accountant must work long hours unravelling all these accounts when compiling those pesky Tax Returns.

So What?

The truth is that living out your fantasy life in public and on the internet is a relatively harmless activity which provides most of us with considerable amusement, so we should thank the Baron of Castleshort for that. The fact that Shortt is evidently so desperate for social recognition that he will associate with various fake European royal claimants, comedy para-military clubs like the LoF and claim residence in Irish castles which turn out to be golf clubs or hotels all forms a part of life's rich tapestry. I won't criticise him for it, although I reserve the right to laugh my arse off at him.

But having said that, it is quite clear from the publicity materials for the International Bodyguard Association, and other companies that Shortt is associated with, that he trades on his essentially false claims of military professionalism and association with the SAS and other elements of the British Armed Forces as a selling point for the training he offers. This is essentially fraudulent.

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Jim & friend

Shortt has no experience as a professional officer and even if we take his unlikely claim of service in 21 SAS (V) at face value, he "served" there for a very short period at a time when the Territorial SAS - like the rest of the TA - had no counter-terrorist role whatsoever. In our humble and educated opinion, if Shortt continues to behave like a fraud, charlatan, and fantasist, he'll remain a worthy subject of The Curse of Arrse.

Whichever way you look at it, this whole episode is like watching a pile up on the M25 in slow motion. The internet is a great place to inflate one's reputation but this whole episode should be a warning that it's also a very easy way to get shot down in flames. In reality, by drawing attention to himself and his hugely exaggerated claims to military experience and expertise, Shortt has managed to make himself look like a phoney and fraud - however good the training that he offers through the International Bodyguard Association might actually be. All in all, a classic example of walticide.

Modern Media Magnet?

As of 20 Jan 09, after Shortt's initial threat of legal action, he has been mentioned in two editions of the Irish satirical magazine The Phoenix and twice in Private Eye.

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He was also covered/uncovered in the following:

  • The Times, 15 May 1996
  • The Times, 14 June 1998
  • The Times, 14 July 1998
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal, 24 June 1997

[8]

Shortt List

The Arrsepedia is compiling a consolidated list of the Baron's claims for submission to the Guinness Book of Records in the hope that he will be proclaimed the greatest Walt of all time. List of James Shortt's Dubious Claims.

The Catwalk

He may be a liar and a Walt but boy does he like dressing up! Check out and comment on the noble Baron's sartorial stylings at James Shortt's Dodgy Uniforms and Medals.

External Links

Disclaimer

James Shortt was not in any way the inspiration for the character of Jack Small in Cyril Clunge's action novels Lost Tango in Paris, Mission From God and the soon to be released The Dying Game... probably.