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

#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.

D_B
 
#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.....
 
#7
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.
 
#8
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.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
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.
 
#10
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 senios 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.
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.
 
#11
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.
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.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#12
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
captured, paralysed by a pitch-fork through a vertebra on his fourth brave attempt to escape, and finally exchanged for four German officers.
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 ?
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
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.
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
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
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.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#16
Aah, Alles Klaar.....seems to me that Frankton, like Dieppe, was a stepping stone from which the lessons learned for later Combined Ops were as valuable, if not more, than the impact on the Nazi war machine.....and God rest them all.
 
#17
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.
I must have missed that bit. I thought that he had limited his comment to the fact that Combined Ops and SOE weren't talking to each other.

According to M.R.D. Foot (page 248 SOE in France), the original intelligence about "the arrivals, the departures and the cargoes of blockade runners" came from SOE in the first place.

Given that the Admiralty acknowledged the importance of this intelligence and the fact that SOE's brief was sabotage as well as intelligence gathering, I think that Ashdown has a point.
 
#18
This was on Discovery History here in Aus just now, just finished watching it so excuse the *bump*.

Those guys were remarkable and I take my ISO rated hard hat off to them, RIP.

I cant help think what a what a complete waste of life the mission seemed to be. Regardless of how nice a person Blondie may have been, the mission seemed far too desparate. They should have estimated less than 50% of boats would make it, which essentially means the masters accepted that 8 highly trained and disciplined men would die just to get 2 canoes worth of Limpet Mines into Bordeaux...just dosent seem worth it.

But those men were nails. Very brave to carry on once they were told they would have to walk home, very brave to attempt it and very fit to carry it out.

I did a 4 night Canoe trip in Loch Sheil in Scotland, was fucked after 3 hours, managed 4 hours on the first day, then 2 hours each day after, luckily the wind blew us home and we used an umbrella to cover the distance (i did no training either, first time I had been in a Canoe). I imagine the limpet mines weighed more than 24 stella and lightweight camping gear add rowing in the sea and stealthily..Absolutely utmost respect.

(Shame about the scottish girl who died of TB aged 16 - because thats relevent).
 

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