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From 1941 to 1942 a special British army unit existed for the purpose of evacuating King George VI and Queen Elizabeth 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 Wehrmacht. 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.
The mission was disbanded in 1942 after there was no longer a realistic threat of German invasion.
- "Obituary of Brigadier Sir Jeffrey Darell". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Shawcross, William (2009). The Queen Mother: The Official Biography.
- Wheeler-Bennett, John (1978). King George VI.