Times Online- Last of the Cockleshell Heroes Dies It’s easy enough to sit here and type out stories of commando raids, quite something else to contemplate what they really involved. Of the ten men who set out up the Gironde Estuary in canoes, only two made it back to England. Two others drowned and the rest were captured and shot.

Raids such as this, and the destroying of the Normandie dry docks, denying an Atlantic port where Germany’s biggest battleships could put in for repair, were such great strategic and psychological victories that Hitler issued a ‘commando directive’ ordering the murder of any who took part.