Queen's New Year Honours recognises work of Hayling Island historian Robin Walton
HAYLING Island resident Robin Walton has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
The 87-year-old was nominated for the prestigious accolade for his work promoting the island’s local history and supporting the local community.
Robin has penned two books about the island’s history – An Island at War and History of Hayling Island – as well as creating the Hayling Island History Trail for visitors to explore.
However it’s his work uncovering the story behind a wartime secret service which Robin feels is behind the accolade.
He said: ‘The Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (Copp) operated out of Hayling Island Sailing Club.
‘They were responsible for the selection of landing beaches used during the D-Day operation. They would travel by submarine to a mile offshore from northern France where they would then canoe to the shoreline to look for suitable landing spots.’
After discovering the work of the Copp, Robin felt a permanent memorial should be erected and he enlisted the help of royalty to help make it happen.
‘I wrote to Prince Charles whose uncle, Lord Mountbatten, set up the Copp, and he offered to be patron of the project,’ said Robin.
In 2012 Robin and the local community celebrated the unveiling of a 15-tonne granite memorial close to the sailing club which Prince Charles visited in 2015.
After hearing of his award Robin said: ‘I’m too old to get over the moon about things but I’m quietly pleased. Hayling Island has a remarkable history.’
Commending Robin’s work, his nomination statement said: ‘He has devoted the last 20 years to educating and increasing knowledge of our local history on Hayling Island as creator and chair of the Discover Hayling project.’