Heroes’ raid brought to life at Royal Marines Museum event

SHOW STARS Actor Tim Lowe and Claire North, who knitted Cockleshell Heroes replica gloves and will be running a knitting workshop.   Picture: Paul Jacobs (113371-1)
SHOW STARS Actor Tim Lowe and Claire North, who knitted Cockleshell Heroes replica gloves and will be running a knitting workshop. Picture: Paul Jacobs (113371-1)
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THE dramatic story of the Cockleshell Heroes will be brought to life at the Royal Marines Museum this weekend.

Actor Tim Lowe will play one of the marines as he recounts the daring Second World War mission to canoe behind enemy lines and blow up German battleships.

The Cockleshell Heroes trained in Portsmouth ahead of the raid which involved paddling 100 miles to plant mines on enemy ships at the port of Bordeaux in occupied France in 1942.

Only two of the 10 marines survived the operation which severely damaged five ships.

Mr Lowe performs as Cpl Bill Sparks, who died aged 80 in 2002 – telling the tale in the commando’s own words.

He said: ‘Bill Sparks worked as a cobbler before the war. They were just ordinary blokes put in an extraordinary situation and the bravery they showed was incredible.

‘It’s such a nail-biting story. These men didn’t know what they were training for until right at the last minute.’

His 20-minute show, which he will perform four times in two days, is just one of the highlights of the 1940s weekend at the museum in Eastney.

From 11am to 4pm on Saturday, a fete in the museum’s grounds will have re-enactments, a 1940s fashion show and the firearms display. This is followed by dancing lessons before a big band dinner dance at 7pm.

The fete continues from 10am on Sunday, finishing with a concert performance by the Highbury Area Band at 3pm.

There will also be a ‘make do and mend’ tent run by Claire North who knitted replica mittens worn by the heroes for Mr Lowe to wear at the event.