Jim Beaton, GC, CVO

The Victoria Cross & George Cross Portrait Project has been an exceptionally challenging, yet rewarding portraiture project. Individuals who have been awarded the Victoria Cross have been selected because they are worthy of Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand’s highest military award for their bravery and conduct in the field. Similarly, those awarded the George Cross are civilians or military personnel who have displayed conspicuous bravery in and away from the field. These awards are not issued lightly. They are the very greatest honour for individual valour and merit. These individuals are the modern day heroes.

 

Over the next few week’s I’ll be posting all the VC & GC recipients in a series of Blog Posts. Here is my Seventh post in the series, recipient Jim Beaton, GC, CVO. (View Full Series of Posts).

Jim Beaton GC London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

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. 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 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. For his bravery Beaton was awarded the George Cross; Callender and McConnell were each awarded the Queen’s Gallantry MedalBeaton 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.