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The Prince of Wales attends Combined Operations Pilotage Parties memorial service and opens the new National Maritime Operations Centre in Hampshire

1st July 2015

 The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a visit to Hayling Island in Hampshire

The Prince of Wales meets veterans during a visit to Hayling Island in Hampshire

The Prince of Wales attended a service today to commemorate the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) memorial on Hayling Island seafront, Hampshire. 

The COPP wartime military base was set up in 1943 on Hayling Island under the instruction of Lord Mountbatten. Small teams of sailors and soldiers were trained as frogmen and canoeists for covert beach explorations prior to allied landings on enemy occupied territory across the world. The Copp servicemen were trained to search selected coastlines to ensure the safe landing of tanks and heavy armoured vehicles on enemy land.

Their work was vital to the success of many landings across the world, in particular the D-Day landings.

His Royal Highness met veterans and attended a short service in front of the memorial. The Prince of Wales is patron of the COPP Heroes Memorial Fund.

Jim Booth was a sub-lieutenant Copp member who marked the D-Day beaches from a submarine and was awarded the French military decoration the Croix de Guerre.

The 93-year-old, from Taunton, Somerset, laid a wreath beside one placed by The Prince during the ceremony.

The other three Copp veterans who attended the event were 93-year-old electrical mechanic Stanley Pond, Captain Roger Gilbert, 91, and Captain John Ashford, 91.

 

Earlier in the day, The Prince of Wales officially opened the Coastguard's new National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham. 

HM Coastguard’s new National Network is the first point of call for 999 calls ranging from vessels in distress, to people trapped at sea and people who have fallen off cliffs. His Royal Highness toured the Centre and met staff and volunteers before unveiling a commemorative plaque. 

The National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) is the UK's flagship centre within this network; supported by ten coastguard operation centres across the country, it manages up-to-the-minute nationwide search and rescue capabilities. 

Sir Alan Massey, chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said: "This is a wonderful day for Her Majesty's Coastguard.

"We are greatly honoured that HRH The Prince of Wales, as our Honorary Commodore, today formally opened our National Maritime Operations Centre here in Fareham. This marks a huge step forward in the Coastguard's ability to co-ordinate effective rescues at sea and on our coasts."