The Mayor of Poole, Cllr Xena Dion, welcomed Lieutenant Commander Haskins Retired, a decorated naval veteran, to a private reception in the Mayor’s Parlour.
During the visit Lt Cdr Haskins Retired regaled the Mayor with details of his naval exploits that earned him two medals of honour.
Lt Cdr Haskins Retired joined the Royal Navy when he was about 13 years of age starting out on their training ship HMS Conway. He remains a member of The Conway Club. At the age of 17, he found himself sailing along the Normandy Beaches on a top secret mission for which he was subsequently awarded the French Legion of Honour, the highest French order for military and civil merits.
At 18 years of age Lt Cdr Haskins Retired was on another secret mission way above the Arctic Circle protecting an important convoy of supply ships as they sailed into Russian waters. He was delighted earlier this year to receive a visit from the Russian Ambassador who awarded him the Ushakov Medal, their highest honour reflecting the importance of this mission.
Lt Cdr Haskins Retired, said: “I was very surprised by the visit from the Russian Ambassador as it came completely out of the blue. I was absolutely delighted to be decorated for my services after all these years.”
After leaving the Royal Navy, Lt Cdr Haskins Retired joined the New Zealand Navy and led their navigation teams for 10 years. During his illustrious career he has seen the incredible evolution of navigational equipment and technology and his expertise in navigation is world renowned.
Councillor Xena Dion, Mayor of Poole, said: “It was a total honour to have met Lt Cdr Haskins Retired and to have listened to his fascinating stories. We talked a lot about pre-technology navigation and particularly the abilities of the Pacific Islanders whose navigation expertise from the stars and seas is phenomenal."
Lt Cdr Haskins Retired lives in Branksome Park with his wife. They are about to celebrate their 70th anniversary after meeting in Bangor at a dance he had organised.