Tonight 01-11-2011 BBC2 9pm Cockleshell Heroes documentary

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by dogs_bollox, Nov 1, 2011.

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  1. Just a heads-up that tonight on BBC2 at 9pm Paddy Ashdown is presenting a documentary on "The Toughest Raid" , the Cockleshell Heroes story.

    The book is one I've read many times and never fails to impress me with the committment, fitness and imagination and balls that those guys exhibited.

    Hopefully Paddy will do them justice although I suspect it will lack the vernacular and passion of the ones done by Jeremy Clarkson.

  2. Amazing tale and still commemorated annually by the French through the Frankton Souvenir Association. The Frankton Memorial was unveiled last March. Well worth a visit to walk the Frankton Trail. Sadly I don't have tv as would have loved to watch this.
  3. good old Paddy Pantsdown......the only man to make sure that everyone know's he was shakey boats...... a total tosser apart from when he was kicking the back doors in on his secretary.....
  4. Not too keen then?
  5. They have cockle (probably the only one in existence) at the Combined Military Services Museum at Maldon, Essex.
  6. Lucky enough to meet Bill Sparks about 10 years before he died. A humble man who campaigned for his entire life after the raid to get the other lads remembered. Also remember watching him on TV when he had to sell his medals to keep his house. A true legend.
  7. Well, I thought the prog' was very interesting and well presented (the latter being a real suprise). I suppose at least PA has walked the walk and better him than some nob like Tony Robinson ...................

    I never knew about SOE planning an op' on the same target.

    It was an interesting update on the old C.E.Lucas Philips book I've read so many times.

    In the credits there were a lot of senior NCO's listed. I wonder if some current or ex Shakey Boat lads did the paddling sequences ? Obviously Kleppers were used rather than repro Cockles and they looked pretty light when being carried over the mud and I think the filming was done in daylight but with 'darkness' filters on (or we'd have seen nothing !) but all in all I thought it was all well done.
  8. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    There is a canoe in the RN Submarine Museum. When I took my grandson there this year the guide on board HMS Alliance gave an excellent explanation of how the canoes were got up out of the boat.

    I also knew nothing about the SOE bit. I thought the depiction and explanation of the raid were VG, however it seemed quite unnecessary to try and smear Mountbatten by assuming he knew of the SOE activity. That part said more about Ashdown than Lord M. In fact what was missing was the realisation beforehand that the shallowness of the berths would mean the damaged merchantmen were recoverable, something fairly predictable considering they were river bank berths which would only have been dredged just enough for the traffic. If the SOE raid had gone in instead and succeeded (a big 'if') charges placed inside the ship so as to start serious fires as well as explosions might have done more lasting damage. But that's an armchair judgment larded with a large dollop of hindsight.
  9. Yeah, the SOE op was a complete surprise to me.

    PA was a decent enough presenter but I could have done without the "when I was in the SBS" and "I would have.." comments to be honest.

    Better men than me. I would have seriously had to think about letting the spare man have my place.
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  10. I think that there's every chance that Combined Ops and SOE both knew of the other's operation, at least at the highest level. Whether they knew in detail when each planned their attacks for is less likely.
  11. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Good programme - the guy giving the SOE perspective was Maj Michael Foot RA - whose book on the SOE is well worth a read. He had a bit of form - having been parachuted into France himself in 1944
    All in all I don't get the beef with Paddy Ashdown......unlike many of the people propping themselves up in the House of Commons today, he served....and the fact that he was ex-SBS ( and had personally met Blondie Hasler ) made him a good choice of presenter.

    I was struck by the fact that the two survivors successfully E&E'd all the way from the Atlantic coast to the Pyrenees and then through Spain to Gibraltar...... the programme made it appear that they did so without the assistance of the 'ratlines' which were in place ?
  12. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    There were quite a few ranks and names listed at the end in the credits so I'm sure they did

    Thought it was a shame that the BBC didn't follow it up with the film which is quite good
  13. The doc' is being repeated tomorrow (5th Nov ) at 20:30 and Cockleshell Heroes is on Sunday at 3:35 for those who don't have the DVD
  14. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    My beef with Paddy is not his very knowledgable and thorough presentation of the actual event, but his over-reaching himself with unsubstantiated, tinfoil hat stuff about the Combined Ops/SOE relationship.
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