Warfare in News


Posted on Monday 7th November

A documentary about the Cockleshell Heroes and Operation Frankton was screened on the BBC last week, featuring new research which suggested that the raid may have taken place unnecessarily.

Plymouth University graduate Tom Keene researched the treacherous 1942 Cockleshell Heroes raid on enemy shipping in Bordeaux as part of his PhD and believes that an attack by special agents, ordered by Winston Churchill, was also planned for the same night, and that the Marines from Combined Operations failed to liaise with their allies from the Special Operations Executive due to 'a cult of obsessive secrecy'.

Only 2 of the 12 participants of the raid, led by Major 'Blondie' Hasler, survived the 70-mile trip in their 'cockleshell' canoes, tasked with destroying cargo ships in one of Europe’s most fortified estuaries.

Available on BBC iPlayer, the 60-minute documentary presented by Lord Ashdown – a former special forces commando and co-author of a forthcoming book on the subject – tells the story of the audacious raid. Lord Ashdown recreates parts of the raid and explains how the experience contributed to the planning of the D-Day invasions.

Further Reading


Only £14.95


(Paperback - 432 pages)
by Ewen Southby-Tailyour

While 'Blondie' Hasler will always be remembered for his leadership of the Cockleshell Heroes raid, he achieved so much more during his life-time. Thanks to his inventive genius, he pioneered the era of single-handed endurance sailing and performed amazing feats of seamanship. This acclaimed biography of a remarkable yet highly complex individual makes for splendid reading. Read more...

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