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A History Of RCDS

Winston ChurchillThe Royal College of Defence Studies, formerly the Imperial Defence College, owes its origins to the recommendation of a Cabinet Committee in 1922 presided over by Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Winston Churchill
The College was founded in 1927 and was located at 9 Buckingham Gate until 1939. Its work in those days was chiefly concerned with defence of the Empire, with 25 Members drawn from the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The experience of the Second World War proved the benefits of such an institution for training senior Service officers and Governments and Services of the Commonwealth for the College to resume its work.

In 1946, the College reopened at its site at Seaford House, Belgrave Square. This was the first time Members from the United States attended the course.

The College was renamed The Royal College of Defence Studies in 1970. The Course composition has been progressively widened to include Members from all parts of the world, over 40 different countries each year, including in recent years China, Ukraine, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan and Afganistan.

 The College celebrated its 80th Anniversary in 2007. The occasion was marked by a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.


HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh with past and current senior College staff

College Crest History of the Coat of Arms

Royal College of Defence Studies