Cockleshell Canoes tell the story behind elite Coppists

Sailors from a Portsmouth Royal Navy minehunter crew have rowed 805 miles - to Disneyland Paris and back - in 48 hours to raise money for their shipmates son who has been diagnosed with cancer.

The personnel of Mine Countermeasure Squadron - Crew 2 held a 48 hour rowathon in aid of 9 year old Ethan John, son of Able Seaman (MineWarfare) Craig John.

Kind Portsmouth sailors’ row helps boy battling cancer

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THE untold story of the canoes used by the elite, secret force based at Hayling during the Second World War, is just one of the tales to be found in a book about the use of canoes by the British Armed Forces.

Using official reports and first hand accounts, Quentin Rees has put together The Cockleshell Canoes which documenting the exploits of the men who saved thousands of lives by using canoes to stop the enemy in its tracks.

He is one of the world’s leading experts on canoes and says he was fascinated by how the Combined Operation Pilotage Parties, based at Hayling Island Sailing Club, drove the change to the way canoes were built.

Mr Rees, from Torquay, said it was his book which inspired the COPP memorial on Hayling seafront which was officially unveiled last week.

He added: ‘The COPPs spearheaded the great majority of canoe development and production from Hayling Island.’

Buy the book at