Jim Beaton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Wallace Beaton
Born (1943-02-17) 17 February 1943 (age 81)
Other namesJim
Police career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
DepartmentMetropolitan Police
Service years1962–1992
Rank1962 Constable
1966 Sergeant
1971 Station Sergeant
1974 Inspector
1979 Chief Inspector
1983 Superintendent
1985 Chief Superintendent
AwardsGeorge Cross
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
George Cross and its ribbon bar

James Wallace Beaton, GC, CVO[1] (born 17 February 1943) is a retired British police officer who was awarded the George Cross, Britain's highest gallantry award for civilians. He was Queen's Police Officer from 1983 to 1992.[2]

Beaton received the George Cross in 1974 for protecting Princess Anne from the would-be kidnapper Ian Ball during an attack on The Mall, London.[3] He received the Director's Honor Award of the United States Secret Service in the same year. He was made an LVO in 1987 and promoted to CVO in 1992.

In March 1973, Beaton was transferred to the Royalty Protection Squad, A Division, and from 14 November served as a Personal Protection Officer to Princess Anne. He was given the number 11 in the small team responsible for protecting members of the Royal Family. On 20 March 1974 the princess and her husband Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace from a royal engagement. Their car was stopped in the Mall by another vehicle driven into its path.[3] The car was driven by Ian Ball, who was later declared to be mentally ill; Ball jumped out of his vehicle and tried to force the Princess from her car. He shot and wounded the royal chauffeur, Alex Callender, and a passing journalist, Brian McConnell, who tried to assist. Inspector Beaton was shot three times, including serious wounds in the chest and abdomen, and a gunshot wound to his hand, sustained when he tried to block Ball's weapon with his own body, after his own gun had jammed. Beaton also sustained injuries to his pelvis while trying to disarm Ball.[4][5] For his bravery Beaton was awarded the George Cross; Callender and McConnell were each awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.[6] Beaton remained with the Princess until February 1979.

Beaton served in the Metropolitan Police from 1962 to 1992. He spent the first years of his career as a constable on the beat at Notting Hill from 1962 to 1966. In 1966 he was promoted to sergeant at Harrow Road, and then in 1971 to Station Sergeant at Wembley. He became an Inspector in 1974, whilst serving in Royal Protection, and was subsequently promoted to chief inspector in August 1979, Superintendent in 1983, and Chief Superintendent in 1985.

In 1982 he became the Queen's Police Officer. He retired in 1992.

Honours and awards[edit]

George Cross (GC) 26 September 1974
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 1992[7]
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) 1987[8]
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal 2022
King Charles III Coronation Medal 2023
Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal


  1. ^ Michael Ashcroft, George Cross Heroes, 2010
  2. ^ Beaton profile, stephen-stratford.com; accessed 10 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b "BBC ON THIS DAY | 20 | 1974: Kidnap attempt on Princess Anne". Archived from the original on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Kidnap attempt on Princess Anne". BBC. 20 March 1974. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Witness". BBC. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  6. ^ "No. 46354". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 September 1974. pp. 8013–8014.
  7. ^ "No. 52923". The London Gazette. 15 May 1992. p. 8409.
  8. ^ "No. 50948". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1987. p. 3.