COPP Memorial Sept 27th

Today saw the unveiling of the eagerly awaited COPP Memorial, between Eaststoke Corner and Beachlands on Hayling Island.

Formed in early 1943, the Combined Operations Pilotage Party was formed to conduct reconnaissance missions throughout the world, and was disbanded at the end of the Second World War.

During its relatively short existence, COPP was responsible for surveying the beaches that were to be used for the Normandy invasion in June 1944, taking core samples and measurements to determine the safest place to land heavy equipment, such as tanks.

Two members of the team, who, having examined beaches on Sicily, missed the rendezvous with their submarine, rowed the 75 miles to Malta with only one paddle!!

The idea of the memorial came from Hayling’s Robin Walton, and he has spent longer getting to this moment, than the COPP was in existence! Today’s ceremony was presented by Anna Chancellor and Wendy Adams Evans, with a speech be the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir David Richards, GCB, CBE, DSO.

Countess Mountbatten

Countess Mountbatten

Jim Booth

Jim Booth

The actual unveiling was carried out by Patricia, Countess Mountbatten, CBE, followed by prayers and the laying of Wreaths.

After the Last Post and a minutes silence a short talk was given by Major General Ed Davis, CBE followed by another short talk, this time by one of the few surviving COPPists, Naval Lieutenant Jim Booth, who, despite his years, was extremely spritely!

A few final words then followed from the 2 presenters and the National Anthem brought proceedings to a close.

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