Winston Churchill all set for Hayling Island's D-Day 75 commemoration
THE start time for this week’s D-Day 75 anniversary event on Hayling seafront has been brought forward.
The celebration and commemoration of the event to remember Hayling’s role in the build-up to Operation Overlord – the Allies’ invasion of Normandy – will now start 30 minutes earlier at 10.30am on Thursday, June 6. The switch will allow the Fort Cumberland Guard to perform a full 30-minute display next to the Hayling COPP Heroes Memorial. The pentagonal artillery fortification at Eastney was constructed to guard Langstone Harbour and was an early base for the Royal Marines, who made up a considerable part of the Combined Operation Pilotage Parties. The Fort Cumberland Guard’s display – including the firing of a ceremonial canon – will entertain the crowd shortly before the arrival of the Duke of Gloucester. After the Royal guest’s arrival, Winston Churchill – played by HIADS’ Laurie Noble – will address the crowd on the many ways Hayling played a key role in liberating Europe from the Nazis, including the work of the top secret COPP commando unit. Children from the island’s two primary schools and Hayling College will then sing before a service of remembrance for all the island’s war veterans. Wreaths will be laid by the Duke and representatives of the Armed Services, followed by a minute’s silence. Among those who will be remembered is John Ashford, one of the last two remaining COPPists. He was due to be a special guest of honour, but sadly died earlier this year. Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony.