The longest serving and original member of the National Coastwatch Institution, Commander Robbie Wilson, maintains his ties with Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, the Royal Navy, and all things maritime.
Now retired, Robbie was Commander (S) at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, in charge of logistics or “Supply” as it was called in his day, and he continues to support Culdrose as an advisor on accounting matters. A keen sailor, he kept his boat on the river Helford, and in his spare time follows his interest in falconry, indeed in 1963 he carried out trials at RNAS Lossiemouth to establish the first falconry unit at a naval air station.
Robbie joined the NCI in 1994 and is the only original, and longest-serving member of the first NCI station, Bass point. He said: “I am very embarrassed to be singled out for this recognition, as I consider myself to be purely a watchkeeper not an administrator.”
NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. Trained to deal with emergencies, and with a wide variety of skills and experience, the NCI volunteers provide over 170,000 hours of organised coastal surveillance each year, all at no cost to the public. Funding is managed by a Board of Trustees with a constitution agreed by the Charity Commission and the NCI relies heavily on local support.