Was there any plan to evacuate Churchill with the Royal Family to Canada in Germany invaded in WW2?

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Dec 14, 2021, 2:16:29 PM12/14/21
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Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am arguing with a person in another forum that there was a plan in WW2 to evacuate Churchill and the Royal Family to Canada if the Nazis invaded.  I believe it was called Operation Coates, but when I look up Operation Coates, it doesn't mention Churchill.

I must say that Churchill doesn't seem like the sort of person to ever run away from anything.  I mean, in WW1 he patrolled No Man's Land, and didn't duck; when there was an Air Raid in WW2 he went upstairs to the roof to watch the raid; also he was a crack shot and said "you can always take one with you" to his daughter, so I don't think Churchill would have evacuated on invasion.   Sydney Street?  He was always in the front line. 

Am I wrong?  Would Churchill have evacuated to continue the fight from overseas?

Andrew Smith


Dec 14, 2021, 2:49:07 PM12/14/21
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Interesting question. Of course there was a plan, however unlikely. There were plans for every contingency. Many children had already been evacuated to Canada when someone suggested that Princess Elizabeth and Margaret Rose should go as well. Queen Elizabeth quickly put an end to that: "The children can't go without me. I can't leave the King, and of course the King won't go."

Side note: An eleven-year-old schoolboy wrote anonymously to The Times, begging not to be sent away. Churchill was so moved that he had his private office search for the writer. He then sent one of his books inscribed to David Wedgwood Benn, son of former Labour Secretary of State for India, William Wedgwood Benn (later Lord Stansgate), brother of the future Labour cabinet minister and left-wing activist Tony Benn.

Though Churchill himself said (4 June 1940): "even if this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle...." In that case the King and his family might have left with the fleet, but I suspect WSC would preferred the nightmare finale as the Wehrmacht marched on Downing Street described vividly by Norman Longmate. See my review of If Britain Had Fallen.

Richard M. Langworth CBE
Senior Fellow, Hillsdale College Churchill Project
Moultonborough, New Hampshire

Antoine Capet

Dec 15, 2021, 7:35:03 AM12/15/21
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Dear all,

A new film on Munich is announced :

‘Chamberlain was a great man’: why has the PM fooled by Hitler been recast
as a hero in new film Munich?
‘He fails, but there’s something noble in the attempt’ … Jeremy Irons as
Neville Chamberlain in Munich: The Edge of War.

He is seen as the appeaser who fell for Hitler’s lies. But was Chamberlain
scapegoated? Writer Robert Harris and actor Jeremy Irons discuss taking on
history with their controversial new film

. . . Among those who benefited from the vilification of Chamberlain was his
rival, Winston Churchill. He doesn’t appear in Munich, but in a sense the
whole movie is a riposte to his version of history. “I don’t seek to
denigrate Churchill in any way,” says Harris. “He clearly was a brilliant
war leader and an inspiring person. But he certainly went out to denigrate
Chamberlain, and his memoirs really are a great counterfactual. ‘If only
that, if only this – then Hitler could have been stopped.’ None of it seems
to really address the things Chamberlain had to deal with. And if we’d
followed Churchill’s advice, the army would have bought a lot of biplanes.”
. . .


With all best wishes,

Antoine CAPET, FRHistS
Professor emeritus of British Studies
University of Rouen
76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan

'Britain since 1914' Section Editor
Royal Historical Society Bibliography

Reviews Editor of CERCLES

L'absence de virus dans ce courrier électronique a été vérifiée par le logiciel antivirus Avast.

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