The Guernsey Event Company

“A Brilliant Little Operation” 2012

An Illustrated Talk with Lord Ashdown GCMG, KBE, PC

Lord Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, former Royal Marine and former member of the Special Boat Service (SIS) and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) came to Guernsey on Monday 19 November 2012.

He gave an illustrated talk focusing on the 70th anniversary of Operation Frankton, one of the most daring and audacious raids by ten Royal Marines of the Second World War – to blow up enemy ships in the Nazi occupied Bordeaux in 1942.

The mission was next to impossible; they Royal Marines were to navigate the treacherous tidal waters of the Bay of Biscay and enter the most heavily defended estuary in Europe, to dodge searchlights, machine-gun posts and armed river patrols, paddle 75 miles upstream to the port of Bordeaux and plant limpet mines on enemy blockade runners.  If they did achieve their mission, their escape route was even more treacherous.  To many, it was a suicide mission in all but name.

The story of Operation Frankton is told in Lord Ashdown’s new book “A Brilliant Little Operation” that was published by Aurum in August this year to mark the 70th anniversary.  It is a story of a team of extraordinary young men and their inspirational leader, Major “Blondie” Hasler, whose exploits in Operation Frankton laid the foundations of the Special Boat Service.  In Lord Ashdown’s words “This multi layered story is not just about the outstanding courage and spirit of the Cockleshell Heroes.  It is also a tale of deceit, duplication and cock-up in Whitehall.”

Tickets included not only an illustrated talk but a complete Question and Answer session with Lord Ashdown and a signed copy of the book. It also helped raise funds for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and the Special Boat Services Association.

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