Cockleshell Heroes leader ‘Blondie’ Hasler was honoured this morning with the unveiling of a blue plaque at his family home.
Lieutenant Colonel Hasler was the commanding officer for the celebrated Second World War Royal Marines commando mission codenamed Operation Frankton, a daring six-day canoe voyage to mine German ships in the port of Bordeaux, France.
Lt Col Hasler, who died in 1987, aged 73, was one of just two surviving ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ from the 1942 mission.
Those who were captured were shot by the Germans.
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Former SBS commando Lord Paddy Ashdown attended the unveiling at Glamorgan Road, Catherington, alongside Richard Spencer, deputy commandant general of the Royal Marines.
He said: ‘Today was a remarkable experience. Operation Frankton was a unique operation that had huge strategic effect in terms of enabling the battle of the Atlantic to continue, which is what kept the supplies coming into our country.
‘For a local community to embrace any of its heroes in all their guises is heartwarming for those of us that continue to serve.’
After the exploits of the Cockleshell Heroes became public knowledge, Winston Churchill praised the valiant efforts of Lt Col Hasler and his team of 12 men - who trained in Portsmouth - by saying that Operation Frankton helped shorten the war by six months.