Shropshire Star

'The highlight of my career': Cosford officer with 'VIP seat' lifts lid on policing King's coronation

A Cosford police officer who was deployed to the King’s coronation has described it as the "highlight" of his career.

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Andy Poole was a 'route liner' for the King's coronation

PC Andy Poole, who has been a police officer for nearly 25 years and is a tactical trainer at Cosford, was one of the 29,000 police officers sent to London and Windsor from across the UK as part of the celebrations for the coronation of King Charles III.

Deployed as a route liner and posted outside Buckingham Palace, he has now spoken of his pride in being part of an iconic moment in history.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that when the Queen died I sobbed my eyes out. I’m a royalist and proud of it,” he said.

“So when the chance came to represent the force and be part of the policing for the King’s coronation I think I would have done it for free."

He added: “As part of the West Midlands Police Honour Guard, I have attended various events to represent the force. I’ve paid respect at the funerals of colleagues and VIP visits. But I have to say the coronation is the most nervous I have ever been – I think I checked I had the right kit a dozen times.

“With nearly three decades of policing in various roles I don’t think I was prepared for what I saw, heard, or how I was left feeling as I stood there, front row for an iconic moment in history.

Andy outside Buckingham Palace

“We were posted right outside Buckingham Palace.

"When we got there we were told there were too many officers and we’d be moved. This worried me as we could have been deployed anywhere.

"But I was moved to the steps of the Victoria Memorial fountain outside the palace. It was a spot money couldn’t buy.

"In that moment there was nowhere else in the world I’d rather have been."

PC Poole added: “We were in post hours before the ceremony so you see the streets fill up. It was so busy at one point it felt like the ground was moving. You can’t quite comprehend how many people are there unless you see it first-hand.

“We had our back to the King when he came out of Buckingham Palace but the huge roar from the crowd told us when his carriage left.

"It then emerged from my left-hand side and I’ve never heard anything like it. It’s so much more than a noise at a football game and I don’t think any TV coverage could do it justice. I could feel the noise, almost as if it was pounding on my chest."

He then watched as the King was driven down The Mall, and said the noise and cheers echoed around the area.

"It was nerve tingling; the hairs were standing up on my neck," he added, describing the event as a career highlight," he said.

"I stood with a sense of disbelief. I felt I had VIP seats for the moment and it was an incredibly humbling experience.

“The sight of thousands of military personnel marching down The Mall away from me was fantastic. On his return, again the sea of soldiers, sailors and air force personnel was unprecedented to me."

He continued: “I had never policed London and I think the first thing I noticed was you are almost a celebrity with many foreign tourists.

"We were dropped off at the start of the day on coaches and around 60 of us marched down to the palace in our ceremonial tunics. Tourists stood in awe and took photos.

“When our shift had finished all the officers stood on the fountain steps for a photo. The crowds shouted and asked for us to turn as a group facing them for a photo opportunity. It almost made you feel like a film star stood on the red carpet.

“When we turned around the crowd began to cheer, with phones and cameras held up and literally hundreds of people taking pictures of us. We were cold, soaked through and dithering at times but it was worth it."

PC Poole added: “The feedback from my family and friends has been amazing.

“The WMP ceremonial uniform means we wear white belts; no other force does – so my sergeant and I were easy to spot on TV.

“Just to be able to say I was there as part of the ceremonial duties will be something I will remember dearly for the rest of my career. But for me it was special for a whole other reason.

“I never got to meet my grandad. William Poole, collar 661, was a police sergeant and I’ve proudly heard stories how he was awarded a British Empire Medal by King George.

"He rescued an RAF crewman from a Wellington Bomber that had been hit over France during the war, and was trying to make it back to RAF Stafford.

"It crashed in his orchard, and as it was immediately consumed by flames, ammunition began exploding. My grandad battled the heat to smash the rear gunner’s turret open and rescue one of the lads inside it. He and my grandad survived.

“After the weekend I now have my own story to tell…not as dramatic I agree…however I was part of the coronation of King Charles III. I hope my grandad would have been proud of me. And I look forward to sharing both our stories to my family for years to come.”

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