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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 October 2007, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Marines re-enact Cockleshell raid
Portsmouth naval base
The canoes have been made at Portsmouth's naval base
Two Royal Marines are to re-enact a daring World War II raid where commandos canoed up a river to attach limpet mines to enemy ships.

Ten men took part in the "Cockleshell" raid in 1942 - but only two survived.

Their heroic exploits in five canoes on a French river led to the team being known as the Cockleshell Heroes.

Marine Lee Hanmore, of Kent, and Cpl Richard Melia, of Sussex, will recreate the daring journey 65 years on, following the same route.

Lt Col Steve Richards, who is responsible for Royal Marines recruiting, said: "This commemorative event is widely supported by the serving corps of Royal Marines."

He said the courage of the Cockleshell Heroes in 1942 "demonstrates all the commando qualities we still strive for today".

Marine Hanmore, 22, of Paddock Wood, and Cpl Melia, 24, of Malden Hall, will be using canoes made to the original design.

The 15ft craft, made from wood and canvas, have been built by four joinery apprentices from naval support company Fleet Support Limited (FSL), at Portsmouth's naval base.

Ships exploded

The canoes are being handed over to Marine Hanmore and Cpl Melia at the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth on Tuesday.

The raid in 1942 was launched from a British submarine off the Gironde Estuary, France, to destroy enemy shipping in the Bordeaux harbour.

For five nights the commandos paddled up the river, hiding on the banks during the day.

On 11 December, they attached limpet mines to five enemy ships, which exploded.

Four commandos survived the journey to Bordeaux, and two survived the whole mission.

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