Fire Team Retrace Daring Mission - The Directory Group

Fire team retrace daring mission

An intrepid team of 23 Hampshire firefighters retraced the paddle strokes of the famous Cockleshell Heroes in a bid to raise £10,000 for charity.

The five-day mission took them along the Gironde estuary through the treacherous water into Bordeaux, making the same stops as the original British commandos who made the daring raid during WW2.

Only two of the 10 Southsea-based Cockleshell Heroes who took part in the operation survived after infiltrating Nazi-controlled Bordeaux and attaching mines to the hulls of German ships carrying war supplies.

Operation Frankton was considered one of the most daring operations of the war and Winston Churchill said it shortened the conflict by six months.

Watch Manager Mark Pannell said: “We used the modern equivalent of the kayaks the marines used which has made it very real for everyone and I think this trip is extremely poignant for anyone who grew up in the area.

“These heroic men have embedded themselves in the British consciousness. It is to these guys and the brave people of France who helped them on their mission that we are doing this challenge.”

Funds raised will be split between The Fire Fighters Charity, the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Special Boat Service Association.

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The Directory Group covers the following areas within Hampshire and West Sussex: Petersfield, Clanfield, Hayling Island, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Denmead, Purbrook, Widley, Farlington, Cosham, Drayton, Havant, Rowlands Castle, Emsworth, Southbourne, Westbourne, Bosham, and Meon Valley