For those who had loyally served their country, life was tough and as well as coping with physical injuries, their employment opportunities were limited. This meant incredible hardship for them and their families – something that Walter was determined to address.
He was convinced that these ex-servicemen could perform, through their military related knowledge and qualities, a vital role in protecting the financial houses of the City of London, which at the time was the world’s commercial capital.
So on 13th February 1859 Walter put into motion a campaign to enable them to earn a proper wage and regain their dignity. He organised them as a body of uniformed men and termed them ‘commissionaires’. His first resettlement project was possibly one of the most challenging and involved finding jobs for eight men – one sailor and seven soldiers.
However, he succeeded in his task and with its motto of ‘loyalty, integrity, service’, the Corps of Commissionaires quickly gained a reputation for the high standard of its operation, and soon other companies started to request its services.
Within the first year of operation the Corps of Commissionaires took rented accommodation at Exchange Court, just off The Strand. Known as The Barracks, it became the official headquarters and residence for permanent staff.
As it grew Walter was able to extend membership to reservists as well as ex-servicemen. By 1880 the Corps of Commissionaires was operating in London, Belfast, and Liverpool, with over 1,000 members. In 1884 The Corps of Commissionaires was established in Sydney when Walter chose 13 commissionaires to establish an Australian office. After World War 1, additional offices were also set up in Melbourne and Perth and these were soon joined by an operation in Canada.
In 1885 Captain Edward Walter was invested as a Knight, and in 1887 was invested as Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB).
Highlighting its credentials for excellence, in 1901 His Majesty King Edward VII consented to head the Corps of Commissionaires’ board of governors. Maintaining this tradition, the reigning sovereign has continued this royal patronage in the office of Chief Life Governor ever since. In 2009 we celebrated our 150th anniversary with a reception hosted at St James’s Palace by HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Our priority is – and always has been – the security, safety and wellbeing of our customers’ people, property and assets, and in 2008 the Corps of Commissionaires changed its name to Corps Security.
We are proud of our rich heritage and endeavour to combine the experience of the past with the needs of the present to give an unrivalled level of service that always delivers satisfaction and value for money. It’s why our customers stay with us and our employees are proud to work for us.
Just the same as it’s always been.