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Coldstream Guards in Bushey

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:14 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

As 6/7/8 year old boys, we were surprised when a detachment of Coldstream Guards suddenly arrived in several unoccupied houses near our homes in Bushey, Herts in 1940. We soon made friends of them in the front gardens of some of the houses, and were fascinated by the drill movements they regularly carried out. We soon learned the movements and entertained the residents of local Alms Houses in their courtyard.

One large house was used as Headquarters and had a sentry posted at the front gate. We tried speaking to him but most of those on duty did not know whether to converse, ignore or tell us to go away. I hope we did not get anyone into trouble with their officers. After some months, they disappeared as quickly as they had arrived and I recall one officer struggling to master a motorbike as Convoy Commander.

Many decades later, I was passing through the town of Coldstream, Borders, and found the following in the Regimental Museum there:

"Under the command of Major Coats, a Company of five officers and 124 men, specially selected, was formed in October 1940, initially at Elstree School, but moved to Bushey in November 1940.

The assignment was to escort the Royal Family (and the Royal Families of Belgium and Holland?) to one of several safe houses in the event of a German invasion. One of the safe houses was Newby Hall, near Boroughbridge.

Transport was provided by a RASC section with four Leyland single deck buses [with blacked out windows], kept at Bushey Hall Golf Club. There was also a Military Police detachment and a section of four armoured cars kept in the Palace Mews, which accompanied the Royal Family at all times.

The Guards company remained in operation until10th May 1942, when the threat of invasion had passed: there had been one false alarm on 7th September 1940 [before the move to Bushey]. The company was inspected at Windsor by the King, and then disbanded, the personnel being returned to the main units."

History

Person the story/items relate to

Donald Massey, his friends and guardsmen

Person who shared the story/items

Donald Massey

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID

91885