80 years ago,12 Royal Marine Commandos left Portsmouth to complete a daring mission under the cover of darkness in Bordeaux Harbour. Portsmouth City Council is marking the anniversary in conjunction with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines Association and No6 Cinema.
Their mission was to canoe 70 miles up the River Gironde to Bordeaux and use limpet mines to sink ships preparing to take the latest German equipment to Japan. There were only two survivors, Major Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler and Marine Sparks. The attack struck a significant blow to German shipping in France, helped prove to Germany that no installation was safe from enemy attack and helped boost the morale of the British. The raid was made famous by the 1955 film ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’.
The public are invited to attend any of the following events:
- Sunday 11 December at 10.55am – service organised by Royal Marines Association at Eastney Barracks. Public are asked to muster at the Yomper Statue/former museum car park and then proceed to the memorial in the gardens
- Sunday 11 December at 11.55am – Portsmouth City Council’s unveiling of a new interpretation panel at Lumps Fort and wreath laying at the cockle statue in the Rose Gardens
- Sunday 11 December at 1pm, 1.45pm and 2.30pm – free behind the scenes tours of the National Museum of the Royal Navy collection at Storehouse 12. This is a rare opportunity to see items belonging to ‘Blondie’ Hasler who took part in Operation Frankton. Tickets available to book here https://www.nmrn.org.uk/events/operation-frankton-behind-scenes-tour
Cllr Tom Coles, Portsmouth City Council’s Deputy Lord Mayor, said: “Lump’s Fort has been the training ground to many brave soldiers, but the courage and dedication of these daring men is outstanding. It is an honour to be part of this special commemoration and we welcome anyone wanting to attend.”
The events are easily reached by public transport. Please walk, cycle, scoot or use public transport wherever possible.
For more information please visit https://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/whats-on/80th-anniversary-of-the-cockleshell-heroes-p2127841