20.08.2012

Memorial for secret team

A secret British wartime commando team has finally been given a memorial and Marsh Plant provided the muscle required.

The Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) was as secretive as the Bletchley Park code breakers. The Elite teams, selected for their physical fitness, navigational and engineering skills, were based at Hayling Island Sailing Club in Hampshire where commando training was carried out.
The Combined Operations badge

The team typically used two man canoes launched from submarines to head ashore for their clandestine operations.
A Combined Operations Pilotage Party canoe during training

The first official team was sent to Sicily in January 1943 in preparation for the Allied landings. It resulted in the death of five men, with another five captured out of a total team of 15. After completing the mission the five returned to base with two of them resisting capture and paddling the 75 miles to Malta in just 44 hours. The teams were later to play a significant role in the Normandy invasions of 1944.
The large piece of granite is 'mined' in Cornwall with the help of a crane

The memorial is unloaded

The memorial is made from an 11 tonne piece of granite found in a quarry in Liskeard in Cornwall. It was loaded by a two axle All Terrain crane belonging to C&H Crane Hire and shipped the 220 miles to Hayling Island via an 8x8 vehicle of the 54 Commando Headquarters and Support Squadron Royal Engineers and a volunteer crew.
The memorial stone is carefully upended

It was then unloaded and lifted from the horizontal and onto a plinth by a 90 tonne Tadano Faun ATF90G All Terrain crane from the Marsh Plant fleet. It will be officially dedicated by Countess Mountbatten of Burma on the 27th September.
The huge stone is lifted into place

Final positioning

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