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The Most Courageous Raid of WWII

Lord Ashdown tells the story of the Cockleshell Heroes, who took part in one of the most audacious commando raids of World War II - to blow up enemy shipping in Bordeaux harbour.

Lord Ashdown, a former special forces commando, tells the story of the 'Cockleshell Heroes', who led one of the most daring and audacious commando raids of World War II.

In 1942, Britain was struggling to fight back against Nazi Germany. Lacking the resources for a second front, Churchill encouraged innovative and daring new methods of combat. Enter stage left, Blondie Hasler.

With a unit of 12 Royal Marine commandos, Major Blondie Hasler believed his 'cockleshell' canoe could be effectively used in clandestine attacks on the enemy. Their brief was to navigate the most heavily defended estuary in Europe, to dodge searchlights, machine-gun posts and armed river-patrol craft 70 miles downriver, and then to blow up enemy shipping in Bordeaux harbour.

Lord Ashdown recreates parts of the raid and explains how this experience was used in preparing for one of the greatest land invasions in history, D-day.

59 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Paddy Ashdown
Producer Francis Whately
Director Francis Whately
Executive Producer Dominic Crossley-Holland

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