Sunday, 12 December 2010

Defending the Crown: Operation Candid

In a week which has seen an assault on Prince Charles in the centre of London by student protesters, I thought it would interesting to highlight the plans to protect the Royal Family in the event of major national crisis or full-scale war.

 Operation CANDID, came into being in 1963, with the aim of protecting the Royal Family, but especially the H.M. the Queen in the event of war. The details of the plan changed through the decades but were essentially based on creating a Royal Duties Force centred around the Guards battalion based at Windsor Castle at the time of the emergency.

Scots Guards, No.2 Dress

 Windsor Castle would be the mobilisation point for the Royal Duties Force, a battalion of Guards, reinforced with a squadron of the Household Cavalry equipped with armoured cars to provide a reconnaissance unit together with a light aid detachment and a communications troop. In total the force consisted of about 1300 men, fully mobile and self-supporting for 7 days. It was well equipped with wheeled transport and included “6 Queen’s baggage vehicles”.

It was given 4 tasks –

    * Guard for Her Majesty the Queen
    * Guard for KP17 (key point 17 – a secret location, possibly Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle)
    * Reserve
    * Guard for other members of the Royal Family

The Force was capable of dividing into 4 independent units and “should be…prepared to move to different locations to provide guards and establish communications with the nearest RSG”, (Regional Seat of Government), “It would be in radio communication with CHQ, the HQ of the district it is moving through and other groups in the force”. The Queen and Royal Family would be escorted to pre-determined place or places of safety and then provided with static protection. In the event of a nuclear exchange, it's possible that the underground facilities at Corsham would be the main location. However, in our civil unrest / civil war scenario, one or more country houses in the Midlands or Scotland may come into use.

SO14 currently provide close protection to the Royal Family but in 1979, I believe these duties fell to The Royalty Protection Squad, Department A1, based at Cannon Row police station under the Queen's Police Officer. It was responsible for the protection of the Queen at public functions at Buckingham Palace, and all times when she was outside the Palace, including visits to Holyrood and Balmoral. The Queen's Police Officer also supervised the personal protection of all members of the Royal Family, although Royalty Protection Officers were not in the squad. The Queen's Police Officer commanded the police guarding the interior of the Palace and its grounds, through the Staff Officer. Royalty Protection Officers were armed with Walther PPK 9mm pistols.

Scenario ideas for Winter of '79 just tumble out of these scant facts. Kidnap attempts on the Royal Family, ambush of the Royal Duties Force convoy, assault on the Royal Family's hideaway. Perhaps even an SAS rescue - Who Dares Wins style. If you want to go all post apocalypse - even attack on the Royal Family by Zombies.


1 comment:

  1. EEK, I remember The Shirts with the BIG 70´s collars!!! but operation candid!? Interesting scenario but where do you get your info...?