Cockleshell Heroes display at Castle House Museum Dunoon from August 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012, marks the opening of a display in Castle House Museum, Dunoon, to mark the 70th anniversary of Operation Frankton, probably better known by the name of the Cockleshell Heroes.
The display is scheduled to remain on show until October 2012.
This raid involved the submarine HMS Tuna and 10 men from the Royal Marines and 5 canoes (Cockles). The targets were merchant ships lying in Bordeaux harbour – ships that were successfully breaking the Allied blockade particularly between Japan and Germany. Conventional methods such as bombing had been discounted. Operation Frankton was an unorthodox, imaginative and daring solution. At the end of the first night only 2 canoes and 4 men were still operational. Four nights later they inflicted damage to 5 ships lying in the harbour. Only two men survived and returned to the UK.
More details can be found here: Operation Frankton on the Combined Operation web site
Background to the display
It was only a couple of months’ ago that it came to our attention that this year marks the 70th Anniversary of the above raid. What was not known by us was the fact that the contingent of Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment made their final training and preparation round about the Holy Loch and left from there on board HM Submarine Tuna on 30th November, 1942. This fact was made known to us by Adrian Hunt and David Neill of World War 2 Presentations who requested that a display of the original model canoe, together with a replica of one of the canoes and related memorabilia be staged within Castle House Museum, Dunoon until October, 2012.
We will be holding an Official Opening on Saturday, 4th August, 2012 from 10.30 a.m. until 2p.m. when the young local Fiddle Group and some of the Dunoon Grammar School Pipe Band will entertain. There will be short speeches from Adrian and David as well as the local Councillors etc. Teas, Coffee and Home Baking will be available in the nearby High Kirk. A few of the descendants have expressed a wish to attend. Also, I have asked the local RBLS to come along. In addition, the local Cinema will be screening the film ‘Cockleshell Heroes’.
It appears that there is no commemoration of this raid within Scotland and Adrian & David’s aim is to get permission (presently being sought) to place a wooden seat with commemorative plaque near to the present War Memorial at Lazaretto Point overlooking the Holy Loch. It is hoped this would be dedicated during the usual Service at the War Memorial on Armistice Sunday.
Information provided courtesy of Margaret McVicar of the Dunoon & Cowal Heritage Trust.
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