Mystery object.

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Mark R
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Mystery object.

Post by Mark R » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:36 pm

What's this, then?

Clue: it's a piece of kayaking kit.


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Mark Rainsley
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RichA
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Post by RichA » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:39 pm

It goes in your first aid kit? A leg splint?

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TomW
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Post by TomW » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:17 am

Corran's first attempt at a catch for the Mafia's rear luggage compartment?

Or just part of the steering system of an old sea/touring kayak.

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Niall
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Post by Niall » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:20 am

Does a 'Magnetic Limpet Mine' count as kayaking kit?

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Grumpy Fisherman
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Post by Grumpy Fisherman » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:21 am

Its a limpet mine that was used by British forces in 1942 on a raid on Bordeux.

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:37 am

Snap! Although this one probably wasn't used on the raid. The end of the URL being "limpet.jpg" was a good clue!

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Post by Crumble » Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:16 am


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tomhollis
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Post by tomhollis » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:14 am

You can get appropriate air fix kits

http://soli.inav.net/%7Eedzwil/Commandos.html

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2fluid
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Famous Canoe Exploits: Operation Frankton - the untold story

Post by 2fluid » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:00 am

At dawn on 12 December 1942, a series of explosions rocked the docks in Bordeaux. To the utter dismay and horror of the occupying German forces, a number of cargo ships from their fleet of 'blockade runners' carrying vital supplies from the Far East, lay wrecked or sinking. The result of a daring attack by Royal Marine canoeists dropped by submarine at the mouth of the Gironde, and who had made their way some 60 miles up river to the docks over several nights.

As any club paddler will know, it could've all been so different...

(HMS Tuna - Surface, December 7th 7:30pm)

"Whad'ya mean you feel dizzy?"
"He's claustrophobic boss"
"What the **** is he doing on a submarine then?!"
"Well, someone back at the clubhouse said you guys were going for the three star and we thought would be a nice evening paddle and we didn't know the shuttle was gonna be so complicated, like. By the way, have you seen my spraydeck?"

And so began one of the most daring escapades in modern warfare.
The rest as they say; is history...

The canoes were launched with the aid of the submarines gun which was being used as a crane, unfortunately the gun was subsequently knocked out of action when the makeshift winch system (some 15 pulleys, 28 ropes, 32 tape slings and 17 karabiners) improvised by "Swiss Army" Sam fouled the gearing mechanism; though miraculously, his posture seemed much better once out on the water.

The launch went well until Bill and Ted voiced their reservations about canoe construction and began muttering and grumbling "crosslinear" and "htp" to one another. Mysteriously, their canoe 'knocked' against a hatch clamp tearing an 18 inch gap in its canvas side. Despite the crew's pleadings of "accident, dude", they had to be left behind.

The other five canoes formed up and began paddling towards the mouth of the River Gironde. After an hours paddling they heard a roaring sound ahead as the canoes approached a tide race, a place where several currents of water come together. One by one the canoes paddled into the foaming waters, at the other side they waited for each other to meet up. Wallace and Grommit never showed up, another crew went back to look for them but they were not to be found. They returned to the others and headed on with their mission, already two canoes down.

Soon they came to another tidal race; once again they paddled furiously to get through it, this time Bertie and Basset never appeared. Again a crew went back to search, and found them capsized and clinging on to the upturned canoe with its drain plug hanging out. With the boat so full of water it was impossible to refloat her so the order to scuttle her was given.

With Bertie and Basset hanging on to the stern of two of the other canoes they paddled towards the French coast. However, constantantly shouting "kick harder" soon began to wear the paddlers down, and after finally beating their grip loose the two men were "released" for the 15 mile swim to shore.

Sergeant's Wallace and Grommit had lost their way in the tidal race, at about 4am the sea had got so rough that it rolled their canoe and despite valiant attempts to remedy their situation, they both bailed immediately. Exhausted, they managed to swim to the shore where they were spotted by a German gun crew and immediately ridiculed for their garish luminous buoyancy aids and fluffy pogies.
They were promptly shot.

With dawn approaching the remaining commandos had to find shelter for the day. They hauled their boats out of the water and camouflaged them, ate 3 days worth of mars bar rations and had a close call when one of the party lit a bonfire and began chanting and twirling his paddle around. Amidst a flurry of fists, the "ponce" was finally subdued and the party settled down for some much needed rest. Dusk began with the ritual 'puke-fest' and once the empty bottles and cans were removed from the boats, they floated out and headed upstream.

They kept the pace up for six hours, but hardly seemed to be covering any ground until Corporal Dick spotted that they were still tied up. Not to be undone by this minor hiccup, the next dawn began with the ritual 'puke-fest' and once the empty bottles and cans were removed from the boats, they floated out again (untethered) and headed upstream.

Following a long and gruelling paddle and with darkness approaching the surviving canoeists were approaching the last stage of their mission. Leaving the Gironde behind, they entered the Garonne and paddled to Bordeaux. During the dark of the morning of December 11th they found some tall reeds in which they could lay up for the day and sleep off their hangovers, before attacking the ships that lay in Bordeaux harbour.

As the light began to fade they prepared the limpet mines that had sat between their legs since leaving HMS Tuna (except for Corporal Dick and Private Jane, who had left it back on board, mistaking it for a game of "Super Simon"* and inadvertently setting the timer).

*Super Simon is remembered today as a game with annoying blinking lights and electronic bleeps and boops, but it was the height of technological sophistication at the time.

The timers were set for eight hours, giving them time to make their getaway. Mills and Boon went to the north side of the river and Dick and Jane just took off.

Although there were several hairy moments (most notably when Mills clamped his own arm to the hull of one of the freighters, but was resolved after hacking off the troublesome limb with Boon's trusty tree saw) they managed to attach their limpets and get out of the harbour without raising the alarm, though they were accosted by several river bank bystanders to cries of "get off me fish", though their shotguns were well out of range.

Apparently, the first mine had gone off at 3am on the morning of the 8th, but the first to go off in Bordeaux harbour was at 7am. The damage inflicted on the ships was quite severe, one ship's hull was severely pitted and two others needed several coats of fresh paint. Another vessel sank, though this was quite rightly attributed to being torpedoed six months later off the Norwegian coast.

The remaining crews now headed down river to scuttle their canoes and make their escape overland to Spain and back to Britain. Unfortunately, the heroes never made it to Spain never mind back to Blighty. Both crews were later found wholly inebriated by a 'wandering' German security patrol. Having holed up in a notorious nightspot the 'heroes in neoprene' were welcomed somewhat over-enthusiastically by the local clientele; certainly a distinctly novel dimension to the average serviceman's view of what constituted 'The Resistance'.

It is believed they died happy.

(ahem)

For the 'real' story, check it out here


"Of the many brave and dashing raids carried out by the men of Combined Operations Command, none was more courageous or imaginative than 'Operation Frankton'" - Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

The story was dramatised in the 1955 motion picture 'The Cockleshell Heroes' starring José Ferrer and Trevor Howard.

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:47 pm

Where on earth did that come from?
Martin

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2fluid
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Post by 2fluid » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:21 pm

Wrote it ages ago - daft piece of kayaking derring-do;)

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:21 pm

It's very good.
Martin

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2fluid
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Post by 2fluid » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:25 pm

Thanks, hoped it might get a chuckle or two...

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Herbert Hasler

Post by Bunty Hargreaves » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:34 pm

I remember Colonel Hasler from my early days in the Canoe Camping Club just after the war. Of course I would never have dreamed of addressing him by his nickname "Blondie" as I was only knee-high to a wave-hopper in those days and we respected our elders. He never tired of telling us about Operation Frankton around the campfire as we cooked our "twist" and bangers. Here is an extract from a 1947 edition of "The Canoe Camper" about arguably our most illustrious member, although Percy Blandford must be in with a shout for that honour as well.

What a pity Blondie didn't think to mention the dire access situation in England and Wales to King George VI. If he had had a quiet word with the King and Clem Attlee just after Frankton he could probably have got it sorted for us.

I wonder if the sport of angling also played a part in Hitler's downfall? I expect it did, but it would have been so secret that the files remain closed for a hundred years.
Bunty

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:42 pm

All fantastic information, keep it coming...
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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:48 pm

Has anyone ever competed in the Hasler Finals?
Martin

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God
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Post by God » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:07 pm

I have twice.

Very hard work it twas.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:34 pm

2fluid wrote:Wrote it ages ago - daft piece of kayaking derring-do;)
Superb - I've Alamanc'd it !

Mike

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tomhollis
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Post by tomhollis » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:34 pm

I have a couple of times, the
energy expended : enjoyment
ratio was not high

Tom

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:39 pm

I've done it once in the early to mid 90s. Came 2nd, one of the cockleshell chappies was dishing out the prizes, can't remember his name though.
Martin


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Post by Kitty » Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:59 pm

I'm probably being incredibly thick here, but is that thing one of those mines then?

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:29 pm

Yes.

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Post by Bunty Hargreaves » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:58 pm

Came 2nd, one of the cockleshell chappies was dishing out the prizes, can't remember his name though.
Must have been Bill Sparksas Blondie Hasler died in 1987.
Bunty

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall » Thu Jan 12, 2006 4:08 pm

Must have been Bill Sparks as Blondie Hasler died in 1987.
Probably. I'm trying to figure out which year it was, because I have the feeling at the back of my mind that they got this chap in specially because it was the 50th aniversary of the raid. That would make it 1992 which seems about right. The event was in Exeter, anyone else compete at that final?
Martin

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