We Remember the Cockleshell Heroes

Posted in: World War II
Written on 31st March 2011 15:47pm
Cockleshell Heroes on Operation Frankton

Today it was announced that there will be a memorial erected in honour of the Cockleshell heroes in France...

The Cockleshell Heroes were a group of ten men who were sent on what was assumed to be a suicide mission, to canoe 75 miles to the mouth of Bordeaux harbour and plant mines merchant on ships supplying German forces with supplies.


Due to the secrecy of thier mission and he high risk involved they needed to paddle only at night and hide during the day to avoid capture. However not all canoes even made it to Bordeaux, the 'Conger' which had Corporal Shear and Marine Moffat on board was lost in a violent rip tide and the men on board were presumed drowned.


Sergeant Wallace and Marine Ewart the crew of the 'Colafish' and  the Lieutenant Mackinnon and Marine Conway crew of the 'Coalfish' were both captured and shot by German forces before they made it to Bordeaux.


The two crews that made it to Bordeaux were Corporal Laver and Marine Mills form the 'Crayfish' and Major Hasler and Marine Sparks from the 'Catfish'. Both crews made it to Bordeaux and planted the Limpet mines on a ship which caused significant damage to the harbour sinking one ship and damagin others, it made the harbour unusable for some months afte the attack.


The crew of the 'Crayfish' were captured and shot by German forces, however the 'Catfish' crew managed to escape back to England.


Now their sacrifice will be properly honoured for the first time with a memorial to be erected at La Pointe de Grave, at the tip of the Gironde estuary, on the mouthof the harbour in Bordeaux.


Take a Tour of Bordeaux to discover the true cockleshell heroes experience.

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