5th September 2016

A 25 man strong team of serving fire-fighters will be re-tracing the paddle marks of the famous Second World War mission "operation Frankton". This operation is more commonly known as "The Cockleshell Challenge" - one of the most dangerous missions attempted by the British Commandos. It not only tests your physical strength but your mental determination as well.

Like the Cockleshell Heroes the team will set out on a 5 day kayak making their way up the 90 mile treacherous waters of the Gironde estuary into Bordeaux, where the original mission ended.

The mission is fundraising for 3 great charities chosen by the team:

Royal Marines Charitable Trust - They aim to provide a better quality of life to serving and retired Royal Marines and their families.

Firefighters Charity - They exist to help members of the fire and rescue community who put their lives on the line every day to save others, whilst providing support for their families.

RNLI – They provide, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, and a seasonal lifeguard service. With their lifeboats, lifeguards, safety advice and flood rescue, they are committed to saving lives.

Special Boat Service Association - Provides welfare and support to serving and retired members and their families when in need.

What was Operation Frankton and who were the Cockleshell Heroes?

On 7th December, 1942, the British Marines set out on one of the most daring and dangerous missions of WW2. They kayaked 90 miles into German occupied France and docked in Bordeaux. Their aim? To strike a blow at German freighters by attacking mines and then flee on foot whilst remaining invisible to the enemy.

The Bordeaux port was heavily occupied with German patrol boats, aircrafts and artillery. Their chances looked very slim.

Out of the 12 men that set out on this dangerous mission only 2 made it back. These brave men have embedded themselves in the British consciousness, helped by the 1955 film “The Cockleshell Heroes”.

The plan

On September the 10th 2016 the challenge will start at 07.30am from La Verdon in the mouth of the Gironde Estuary. The trip will conclude itself on September 15th at Blanquefort, Bordeaux. However, all the hard work starts from now! They will be training regularly to make sure the team is in peak condition and complete the mission for the charities. In the build up to the challenge the team will be holding a series of fundraising events to generate money for the causes.

These funding events will be held at local fire stations and venues in Hampshire.  All events will be publicised in the near future so please keep in touch with the campaign to find out our progress and if you want to offer your time and assistance they would love to hear from you!

So take a look: