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Body Guarding – A Brief History

Most people's perception of Body Guarding is that it is a relatively new industry, it is in fact one of the oldest professions, for example:

Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658: Lord Protector of Great Britain from 1653 to 1658 utilised members of his New Model Army as Body Guards to deal with many assassination attempts, especially from the Cavaliers and supporters of King Charles I.

Napoleon Bonaparte I 1769-1821: November 1799 after the famous coup d’état from which he became the new leader of France until his defeat at the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon utilised the services of a full company of soldiers as his personal Body Guards. He was regularly targeted by assassins and was notably the first person recorded to be targeted for assignation by an IED which was detected by his Body Guards in good time.

Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865: Lincoln was assassinated whilst at the theatre one evening by a fanatical supporter of the Southern States. Ironically he had dismissed his Body Guard team for the evening.

Queen Victoria 1837-1901: Queen Victoria utilised Body Guards and incredibly she survived between seven known and another twenty one suspected assassination attempts. She favoured and trusted one particular long term protection officer provided by the Irish Special Branch.

Charles De Gaulle 1890-1970: President of France 1958-1969, he survived many assassination attempts and ambushes as he steered his country through political turmoil.

Lord Mountbatten: Lord Mountbatten’s Special Branch protection team did apparently advise him against taking a boating holiday in Ireland during the height of the troubles. Unfortunately he was assassinated by the IRA using a timed IED placed on his vessel in 1979.

Mrs Indira Gandhi 1917-1984: As Prime Minister of India she regularly deployed bodyguards, usually officers of the Indian Intelligence Service. However she did ignore their advice on recruitment and chose some additional bodyguards from another unverified source; unfortunately amongst them were the two disloyal police officers who assassinated her in 1984.

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