December 2008 Book Launch of
The COCKLESHELL CANOES
Representing a very significant part of British Military Maritime history never previously written about.
Even after nearly 70 years the memory and celebration of the 'Cockleshell Heroes' effort still remain just with this one legendary wartime exploit. Both film and book were produced in commemoration.
Ten highly trained commandos undertook 'The Frankton Raid' on Bordeaux Harbour in occupied France during December 1942 in five extremely specialised military canoes.
Sir Winston Churchill believed this mission shortened the war by six months. Admiral the Earl Mountbatten deemed it as the "most courageous and imaginative of all the raids ever carried out by the men of Combined Operations Commands".
Now the entire world is introduced to an entirely NEW section of hitherto unknown British Military Maritime History with
'The COCKLESHELL CANOES'
The publication is a truly fascinating and 'gripping tale'. It also contains the complete history and development of the British Military Canoe of World War 2. AT LEAST 95% OF THE INFORMATION WITHIN HAS NOT BEEN REVEALED BEFORE NOW
The COCKLESHELL CANOES
British Military Canoes of World War 2
320 Pages with 134 Photographs. Size 248x172mm
Filled with many rare and unpublished photographs, this publication contains a gripping tale. A tale about a most unusual mode of warfare wrapped up within a very human story. This remarkable account represents the first and only definitive work of the entire history and development of British military canoes during World War Two. Much of the 'Most Secret' information within has never been revealed before.
The story is a celebration of those individuals, some of great fame like 'Blondie' Hasler and the other Cockleshell heroes, who have become part of canoe history. Many others will have their previously unsung roles acknowledged through this work, a weaving of real-life testimonies within the stories of the commanders, inventors and designers. It tells of the epic journey of progress that canoe development took from Cornwall, all along the Southern English Coast and beyond, even to the tropical island of Ceylon.
Thousands of various marks of canoe were sent worldwide and used operationally, this represents an entirely new facet of maritime military history and shows how clandestine warfare was conducted by the various Special Forces during World War Two, including the S.O.E. This 'Most Secret' endeavour used the code name 'Cockle' for the canoes. One such 'Cockle' was equally at ease below the water as it was above; the designer even suggested that it could be used as a carrier for an Atomic bomb.
Quite possibly it represents the most comprehensive study ever undertaken in the field of the twentieth-century naval 'small boats'. Deserving the description 'indispensable', it tells the dramatic story of the 'Cockles' and how these tiny canoes helped the Allied cause on almost every front.
BEST CHAPTERS ? - 'The Marks Two's' and 'The Canoe that was made to Sink'.
Throughout, so much new information is given that it will be heralded as a most important piece of writing in maritime history; at least since the 1950's. It will be the future reference book of these craft.
It has been possible to arrange with The National Maritime Museum at Falmouth, an Exhibition from December 08 through to February 09, showing THREE exceptionally rare canoes in support of the book launch. This represents the largest collection of British Military Canoes ever to be exhibited at one venue.
The first canoe is a Mark 2, only one of SIX known of in the WORLD, and is the same canoe type as used on the 1942 Frankton raid.
Made with a canvas hull and 1/8th inch plywood with a flat bottom, it is in excellent working condition. It is 15ft in length and reduces in high to 6.5 inches in less than 30 seconds; horizontally!
The other is an 18ft canoe which comes in three bulk headed detachable sections along with outriggers (packed with pin-pong balls). This two-man sailing and paddling canoe has bow (5ft), stern (5ft) and centre (8ft) sections. This canoe is made from ALUMINIUM.
(see Mk 7 chapter: Birmabright and Chewing Gum).
The other very special canoe is extremely significant as it has never been seen since WW2.
Amazingly these two latter canoes were produced to aircraft standard for the tropics and made by highly skilled UK aircraft engineers.
These provide a rare opportunity that has not been available before.
AREAS WHICH THIS PUBLICATION CONCERNS
Falmouth, Praa Sands, Teignmouth, Hayling Island, Poole, Gosport, Southampton, Portsmouth and Southsea, Isle of Wight, Essex and Warwickshire area.
In a nutshell........ hope you enjoy, questions on a postcard.