The Plaque and the Sculpture are at the Rose Gardens on Southsea Seafront, the former training base for the Cockleshell Heroes. The plaque is on one of the pillars of the northern entrance facing Eastern Parade and the sculpture is at the southern entrance between the gardens and the beach.
This plaque provided by Portsmouth City Council was unveiled by Marine Bill Sparks DSM on 6th July 1992. In the presence of the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Jim Patey and the Chairman of the Leisure Committee Councillor Syd Rapson BEM to mark the 50th Anniversary of this site which was used as a training base for the Royal Marine Boom Patrol Detachment formed on 6th July 1942. This secret unit trained on the Solent for raids by canoe (Cockles) on Europe.
The most famous raid was on German shipping in Bordeaux docks. On 11th December 1942 by ten members of RMBPD only two of these Cockleshell Heroes returned.
MAJ H HASLER OBE DSO RM
MNE W SPARKS DSM
CPL A LAVER
MNE W MILLS
CPL G SHEARD
LT J MACKINNON RM
MNE J CONWAY
SGT S WALLACE
MNE R EWART
MNE D MOFFAT
This sculpture commemorates the 'Cockleshell Heroes'.
During World War 2, thirteen Royal Marines volunteered for what they
knew would be a dangerous mission. The men trained here, at the fort
in front of you (now the Rose Gardens) and on the sea behind you,
using collapsible canoes nicknamed 'cockles'. When the time was
right, they travelled across the channel by submarine HMS Tuna and
then canoed over 100 miles to Bordeaux harbour under cover of
darkness, where they successfully mined the enemy's supply ships.
Those who did not survive are remembered on the
Portsmouth Naval Memorial
and further details can be found by searching against their names at:-
See also the memorials to the Cockleshell Heroes,
At the Royal Marines Museum
At the Cockleshell Centre
At No. 27 Worthing Road & 9 Spencer Road