Op Frankton Remembered

#1
Exercise Frankton Remembered is a historical re-enactment by two serving Royal Marines Commandos of the Cockleshell Heroes raid in December 1942.

Following exactly the same route as the Royal Marines back in 1942, Marine Lee Hanmore and Lance Corporal Rick Melia will paddle down the Gironde in France, using a replica Mark 2 cockle canoe and a mixture of original and replica equipment from World War Two.

The exercise will be completed under tactical conditions during the same five night time frame.


Best of luck to Lee and Rick, hope the weather improves! Look forward to the pics.

If anyone is down there, there are several commemmorative events going on over the next few days. linky
 
#5
Trip remembers Cockleshell heroes

Two Royal Marines have paddled almost 100 miles up a river to re-enact the daring World War II "Cockleshell" raid.

Ten commandos canoed behind enemy lines in 1942 to blow up ships in occupied France but only two men survived.

Their heroic exploits in five canoes led to the team being known as the Cockleshell Heroes.

Marine Lee Hanmore, of Kent, and Cpl Richard Melia, of Sussex, carried out a recreation of the daring event 65 years on to commemorate their memory.

The pair spent five days retracing the commandos' route along the River Gironde at Bordeaux in a canoe made to the original cockleshell design.

'Guts and determination'

Marine Hanmore, 22, of Paddock Wood, said: "I don't think you can match an experience like that. For something that I've been working [towards] for three years, tonight [Tuesday night], was the main climax.

"They had it a lot worse than we had it and they still had to paddle half way back up the estuary and then start a six month escape and evasion.

"That's what pure guts and determination are about."

He added: "It's starting to become slightly forgotten and we are retracing the route in World war II period kit and equipment to commemorate the event and the guys who lost their lives for it."

The 15ft craft used by Marine Hanmore and Cpl Melia, 24, of Malden Hall, was built by four joinery apprentices from naval support company Fleet Support Limited (FSL), at Portsmouth's naval base.

The "Cockleshell" raid in 1942 was launched from a British submarine off the Gironde Estuary, France, to destroy enemy shipping in the Bordeaux harbour.

For five nights the commandos paddled up the river, hiding on the banks during the day.

On 11 December, they attached limpet mines to five enemy ships, which were badly damaged.

Of the ten men who took part in the raid, only two survived to return to England.



Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/7141368.stm
Apparently they were arrested by the gendarmes at some stage. Fortunately not shot. Well done lads!
 
#6
I was lucky enough to meet Bill Sparks, one of the 2 survivors of the raid, when he was working as a Bus driving instructor for London Transport in the 80's.
A very modest man who opened up a bit once I'd explained that I was ex RM.
Now passed over the bar. RIP Royal.
PS
 
#7
”Apparently they were arrested by the gendarmes at some stage. Fortunately not shot.”

Well, I was tempted to include ’given away by the French’ in my quip, but it doesn’t seem fair to keep blanket bashing the froggies. :wink:

Re being arrest as ‘a fair cop’, which no doubt it was, has similarities to the very first Commando raid in 1940, cross Channel, as some of those men were initially arrested when they returned. Everything was on a ‘need to know’ basis and no one exactly knew – being the first Op – who should or might ‘need to know’. And, in the summer of 40 everyone was somewhat paranoid due to rumours of invasion. Black faced men turning up from the sea in uniform with no insignia and carrying strange weapons – i.e. the alien Thompson, only 40 odd in the country then – a fair cop. :D

All power to the Royals for their commemorations. Such a great shame there is no direct lineage for the Army Commandos.

No.9
 
#8
Good effort.

Having read an account of the original effort the actual Cockleshell heroes really were men of the highest order.

God bless them all.
 
#9
This raid is a great story and has always facinated me. I am sure that I read somewhere, not so long ago, that a UK film company was looking into making a film of this. Does anyone know if the project has got off the ground?
 
#10
762baynet said:
This raid is a great story and has always facinated me. I am sure that I read somewhere, not so long ago, that a UK film company was looking into making a film of this. Does anyone know if the project has got off the ground?
Already been done surely. Trevor Howards in it.

Yep IMDB confirms "The Cockleshell Heroes" with Jose Ferrer and Trevor Howard. LINK
If you want a laugh read the user comments at the bottom.
 
#11
I've seen the original but not for years now. I understood that a fresh film was being made- but it is more likely that it is my imagination.
 
#12
CutLunchCommando said:
762baynet said:
This raid is a great story and has always facinated me. I am sure that I read somewhere, not so long ago, that a UK film company was looking into making a film of this. Does anyone know if the project has got off the ground?
Already been done surely. Trevor Howards in it.

Yep IMDB confirms "The Cockleshell Heroes" with Jose Ferrer and Trevor Howard. LINK
If you want a laugh read the user comments at the bottom.
My old man was in it! He's in the squad of RM recruits that marches into the gate as the heroes wander out, early in the film. He always thought he should have had a clasp on his NGS for that :roll: didn't go on about it much, thankfully :wink:
 
#17
762baynet said:
I've seen the original but not for years now. I understood that a fresh film was being made- but it is more likely that it is my imagination.
ASDA are selling the Trevor Howard / Jose Ferrer version for £5. Well worth the money.
 

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