This is the definitive account of a mission thought to be an impossible one. A powerful depiction, an astounding tale of courage and bravery by men and women of both Britain and France - one which is graphic in its telling. This is the complete 'no holds barred' record, a deeply researched, highly detailed, intricately woven true story of a Combined Operations Clandestine Raid, with men who volunteered for Hazardous Service. Thirteen 'black-faced villains' embarked on a secret mission via T-Class submarine and paddled 105 land miles in canoes to place limpet mines on Axis blockade runners deep inside enemy held territory. Led by 'Blondie' Hasler - the story tracks from an English seaside resort in the Solent to the Scottish lochs and onto the unpredictable waters of the Bay of Biscay by 'cigar-shaped coffin' then by 'Cockle'. From M.I.9 to an escape network care of a Countess, punctuated by the love of a fifteen-year old girl and the forlorn future hopes of young men and, for many, death by firing squad. With determination and by guile, this is the story of another 'Few' - they were the 'Cockleshell Heroes'. Never before has this narrative been told in its entirety. Never before have all the individuals concerned been named. Never before have all those that played their part in this historic 'little event' had each of their life stories told, intertwined with these 'commandos', these 'Cockleshell Heroes'. As The Daily Telegraph sported, this is, 'The Truth at Last'.
Published:10 November 2010
Genre:Second World War
Secondary Genre:Military & naval ships, Battles & campaigns, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Quentin Rees's previous best-selling book for Amberley, The Cockleshell Canoes, generated an exhibition of wartime canoes that is still on at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. One of Quentin's canoes on exhibition is the same Mark of canoe that was used on the 'Cockleshell Heroes' raid; it is the only known privately owned Cockle Mark 2 in the world.