In December 1942 10 Royal Marines embarked on a secret mission so daring and dramatic that they were hailed as the Cockleshell Heroes and in 1955, immortalised in film.
What they didn’t know when they signed up was that their task was to the attack enemy German ships moored at the port of Bordeaux in occupied France from their canoes. The plan was for six canoes to be taken to the area of the Gironde estuary by submarine. They would then paddle by night to Bordeaux. On arrival they would attack the docked cargo ships with limpet mines and then escape overland to Spain.
Unfortunately only two of these brave men survived this mission, but it was such a significant endeavour that Winston Churchill believed the raid could have shortened the war by six months.
The Cockleshell Endeavour team, Mick Dawson and Steve Grenham, are both former Marines and have been involved in a number of conflicts including the Falkland Islands conflict and Northern Ireland. They have chosen the name “Cockleshell Endeavour” in memory of other Royal Marines and service personnel who have seen active service as during their time in the armed forces.
In 2009 Mick Dawson was part of the first ever crew to row successfully from Japan (Choshi) to The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Mick, along with team mate Chris Martin, completed the epic 7,000 mile voyage in an incredible 189 days 10 hours and 55 minutes. This voyage was known as The Golden Gate Endeavour, the last part of the name lending itself to Mick and Steve’s new adventure – The Cockleshell Endeavour.