Coats Mission

Coats Mission

From 1941 to 1942 a special British army unit existed for the purpose of evacuating the King and Queen and their immediate family in the event of German invasion. Led by Major James Coats, MC, Coldstream Guards, later Lieutenant-Colonel Sir James Coats, Bt, it comprised a company of the Coldstream Guards. There were five officers and 124 Guardsmen. They were equipped with ten vehicles - four armoured cars, two armoured Daimlers, and four Guy wheeled cars manned by the 12th Lancers and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, in the Morris Detachment (commanded by Major W.A. (Tim) Morris, 12th Lancers). They were based in Bushy Park, London. The Guy wheeled cars were at Windsor.

The role of the unit, which supplemented the Guards battalions at London and Windsor, was to remove the Royal Family ahead of the advancing German army. It would be expected that the Royal Family would move from house to house as the strategic and tactical situation demanded.

Several country houses in remote locations, reportedly including Newby Hall, North Yorkshire, Pitchford Hall, Shropshire, Madresfield Court (Earl Beauchamp's home in Worcestershire), and a fourth unnamed house (possibly Bevere Manor, Worcestershire), were designated as refuges. Madresfield Court reportedly replaced Croome Court, Worcester (the home of the Earl of Coventry) in 1940. It was also a safe house for King George III in the late eighteenth century, in the event of an invasion by Napoleon.

After 1942 the role was taken over by the Household Cavalry.

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