Farewell to brave D-Day Coppist hero

Members from the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) unit in Hayling Island in 1944
Members from the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) unit in Hayling Island in 1944
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ONE of the members of an elite covert unit who surveyed beaches for the D-Day landings has died.

Major General Logan Scott-Bowden, from Oxford, was a highly decorated member of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) unit in Hayling Island.

The 93-year-old’s death last month leaves just five members of a unit credited with saving the lives of hundreds of British and allied forces.

Robin Walton, the chairman of the Copp committee who successfully campaigned for a memorial on Hayling seafront, paid tribute to Maj Gen Scott-Bowden.

‘On New Year’s Eve 1943 the 24-year-old Royal Engineers major boarded a motor gunboat at Gosport, with his companion Sergeant Bruce Ogden-Smith, for a top secret reconnaissance mission to survey the Gold Beach area around Luc-sur-Mer.

‘It seems that Winston Churchill himself recommended that date because, as he suggested, the defending forces would be too busy welcoming in the New Year to pay too much attention to the beaches.

‘The D-Day planners needed to know what lay beneath the sandy Normandy beaches, to ensure the safe landing of tanks and heavy armoured vehicles.

‘Under the noses of the enemy, the pair took detailed measurements and core samples along the beach with metal augers, storing them in special containers for analysis back in the UK.’

Corporal David Owen died last August, and Lieutenant John Ainsworth-Davis died in November.

Mr Walton has planned a final commemoration of the unit to be held at the memorial stone on May 21.

He hopes to get the last remaining former members together for the event, which will mark the completion of the memorial’s landscaping.

n Maj Gen Scott-Bowden,

born February 21, 1920, died February 9, 2014.