Changing Years articles

Changing Years project articles

Group report

From the 2nd November until the 17th November our U3A presented three outstanding events.

The first was the opening of the exhibition and book launch by Rear Admiral Colin Cook-Priest at the Royal British Legion on the 2nd November. The Rear Admiral gave a heartfelt appreciation for the effort that had gone into the book and its contribution to the history of the Island. The Mayor of Havant also attended as did Alan Mak, MP for Havant. Over the two weeks the exhibition was very well attended by Hayling Islanders, school children and many visitors from the mainland. Visitors were very complimentary about the exhibition, with comments of 'excellent' and commending its broad coverage of the years, interesting facts, illustrations, artefacts and Timelines. Likewise the book ‘Hayling Island, The Years of Change 1919 - 1946' was praised for the quality and content and many dozens were sold to the visitors.

The second event was a special service at St Mary's Church to unveil an additional memorial plaque to 19 Hayling servicemen who had lost their lives during WW2 whose names had not been recorded on existing plaques. A very moving service, when local schools and the College took part, 19 pupils placed a poppy and lit a candle as each serviceman's name was read out by the Head Boy of the college and the Head Girl read the poem 'Perhaps', by Vera Brittain. The service ended with a Hayling College student singing 'Keep the home fires burning' which brought a tear to many an eye.

The final event was on 13th November when the Mayor of Havant, Cllr Diana Patrick, unveiled a simple wooden plaque to all the civilian Men, Women and Children who lost their lives through enemy action on Hayling Island during WW2. Her speech is shown below

Hayling Island U3A with the help of the whole community presented three memorable events which brought together many organisations, families and individuals. The U3A were honoured to be able to interview men and women who served on Hayling Island during the war years.

Karen Walker

Shown below is the Mayor’s speech at the unveiling of a memorial to the civilian casualties killed by enemy action on Hayling Island during World War 2, on Wednesday 13 November 2019 at Hayling Island Community Centre

“Over the last couple of weeks I have been involved with the Hayling Island U3A commemorations of the period from the end of World War One to the end of the Second World War.

First we had the launch of your superb book “Hayling Island The Years of Change 1919 – 1946” followed by the opening of the Exhibition in the Royal British Legion room, a presentation of top professional quality, and then the Service in St Mary’s Church to unveil a new plaque to commemorate servicemen from the Island killed in battle whose names had not previously been publicly recorded. It was a moving and lovely Service enhanced by the way in which you incorporated schoolchildren and others from the wider Hayling Community: bringing the Lions and The Royal British Legion into the project.

And so we move on to the final event: the unveiling of the Memorial to the Hayling Island civilians who were killed on the Island in consequence of enemy action.

Before I do I must first commend Michael Burnham, most ably supported by his wife Jill, who conceived the project, gathered support around him, and worked towards this wonderful series of events: and to Paul Chapman for leading the Book Launch the other Saturday and Derek Dunn for today’s event.

I have been astonished by the quality of the book, the incredible standard of the Exhibition, and deeply moved by the Memorial Service. And I am most grateful to have been invited. But if I might say so, the whole project has been an unbelievable example of the ability, skills and professional abilities that still reside in older people and which can be utilised to the benefit of all. We are perhaps far too ready as a society to write older people off and to disregard the manifest abilities and skills that they can offer for the benefit of our community.

And so we move on to the final ceremony of your commemorations. I know from my conversation with Derek that you were unable to be absolutely satisfied that you had garnered all the names of the Islanders killed by enemy action: and that you have worded a general and respectful inscription. I also gathered that this is the first memorial on the Island to the civilian war dead.

It is hard to realise, at this distance in time, the horrors wrought by War, even on this peaceful and gentle Island. In unveiling this plaque I do so with the greatest regard for the people who died, in gratitude for their contribution to the War effort that was ultimately successful, and with a deep desire that such sacrifice will never be required again.”

Cllr Diana Patrick, Mayor of Havant

Plaque unveiled by the Mayor of Havant, Cllr Diana Patrick placed at the Community Centre on 13th November 2019
Primary school pupil lighting candles for each serviceman named
Timeline display
Hayling College singers who sang ”Poppies” composed and conducted by Neil Ogley Head of Music
Head boy Ethan Lewis and Head girl Lucy Walker of The Hayling College unveil the memorial plaque at St Mary’s Church 7th November

 

 

 

 

Group report

This is an article published in the Summer 2018 newsletter ….

Work is going apace on meeting with Hayling residents whose family have had a long association with the Island - families who used to come down to sunny Hayling for their annual summer holidays, camping, caravanning or staying in holiday railway carriages in the Eaststoke area. In those day Hayling was famous for its golden sand and rural atmosphere.

The outbreak of WW2 marked a major change for the residents of Hayling, and the addition of thousands of military personnel brought an atmosphere of excitement and expectation, of course it was also tinged with sadness and heartache.

We still seek further information on all aspects of life at that time and it is not too late for you to join in our research. We can now confirm the date of our Exhibition in 2019 at the Royal British Legion which will be from Saturday 2nd. November till Sunday 19th November 2019. We will be again seeking help in stewarding the event. We hope to also launch our U3A book on that Saturday

A special service to dedicate an additional plaque for Servicemen who lost their lives in WW2 who are not at present remembered is also being planned. We are working with the Community Centre and the Lions Club to place a commemorative plaque at the Community Centre to recall the Civilian Hayling Causalities. We do seek help in finding the names as it appears that names are not collated in one place.

I am indebted to all the members of the U3A who have given so freely of their time to ensure a very positive start to this project recalling these years of great change to everyday life on this Island.

We are very pleased to be able to help St. Peter’s Church with their special Poppy Event which is being held from October 7th. 2018 for six weeks. We will be displaying much of the material which was prepared for our WW1 exhibition. St.Peter’s would welcome volunteers who are willing to act as Stewards, and we shall be seeking volunteers between 10-1pm, and 1-4pm on a table so that we can sell copies of our book and possibly have information for our new project.

Mike. Burnham