Members and guests of the Isle of Man Sporting and Dining Club will soon get the chance to enjoy an evening in the company of former Lib Dem leader and action man of British politics, Lord Paddy Ashdown, courtesy of Lloyds TSB, Isle of Man.
Entitled ‘A Brilliant Little Operation’, Lord Ashdown’s sponsored presentation provides the first full account of how the Cockleshell Heroes mounted what is considered to be the greatest commando raid of World War 2 as well as provide an account of his career as a Special Boat Services commando, British diplomat, UN High Representative and leading politician.
Known as ‘Operation Frankton’, the now legendary raid took place in Nazi occupied Bordeaux in 1942 and saw a team of elite commandos target the harbour complex and supply station to the German Army in the city. The team succeeded in sinking one ship, incapacitating several others, doing enough damage to the city’s port to severely disrupt the German war effort and, according to Winston Churchill, shorten World War 2 by around six months, saving thousands of lives in the process.
Paddy Ashdown chanced to meet the raid’s leader and one of the founders of the now renowned Special Boat Service, Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler, just once and went on to write the definitive account of the amazing wartime raid as a result. By delving deep into the French national archives, tracing surviving witnesses and drawing upon his own commando experience, Ashdown uncovers the real truth about how the Cockleshell raid came to be a disturbing saga of interdepartmental rivalry and misinformation in Whitehall, rendering the entire operation far more complex than necessary and possibly resulting in needless deaths. Lord Ashdown’s written account, A Brilliant Little Operation, was published in 2012.
Tim Cooke, Islands Director at Lloyds TSB, commented on the bank’s sponsorship of this remarkable event: “This is a unique opportunity not only to spend time with one of the UK’s most fascinating public figures but also enjoy an extraordinary account of a notable event in British military history. I can think of no better way of learning about such a seminal campaign than through the eyes of an experienced commando who is also furnished with the eloquence and presence of a leading politician and ambassador. Lloyds TSB is proud to sponsor this event and I hope our guests find it as absorbing as I no doubt will myself.”
John Wannenburg of the Isle of Man Sporting and Dining Club also commented: “Lord Ashdown’s much anticipated presentation is something that we have all been working very hard towards securing and will no doubt represent one of the highlights of the cultural season. Not only is his a fascinating tale of espionage and misinformation, but it is told with all the depth and enthusiasm of someone who is intimately involved in the direct aftermath of the exploits of the Cockleshell Heroes. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Lloyds TSB for assisting the Sporting and Dining Club in financing the evening and look forward to providing the public with this unique opportunity.”
Taking place on the 27th March, tickets to the Lloyds TSB sponsored ‘A Brilliant Little Operation’ are available exclusively via the Gaiety Theatre ticketing system or at the Villa Marina Box Office.