Prince Charles visits Hayling Island

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THE Prince of Wales has arrived by helicopter in Hayling Island to visit the memorial that he is patron of.

His Royal Highness will see the large granite memorial to The Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) wartime military base, which was set up under the instruction of his uncle, Lord Mountbatten.

Prince Charles visited Hayling Island. Pictures: Elise Brewerton

Prince Charles visited Hayling Island. Pictures: Elise Brewerton

From 1943, 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.

During the visit, His Royal Highness will meet COPPist veterans, including Sub-lieutenant Jim Booth, 93, who was a COPP member aboard the submarine X-23 marking the D-Day beaches on June 6, 1944, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre, a military decoration of France, by the French for his outstanding bravery.

Prince Charles visited Hayling Island. Pictures: Elise Brewerton

Prince Charles visited Hayling Island. Pictures: Elise Brewerton

Prince Charles also met electrical mechanic Stanley Pond, also 93, who, volunteered for the Royal Navy Hazardous Services and after basic training he went to Hayling Island where he became part of COPP 8, with an operation area of Akyab, Burma and Northern Sumatra.

Prince Charles came straight from officially opening the National Maritime Operations, in Kites Croft, Fareham.