Sunday, December 12, 2010

More on the Cockleshell Canoes by author Quentin Rees!

Howdy everyone! After I posted my story on the Cockleshell Canoes and featured the above book - "Most Secret: The Cockleshell Canoes - British military canoes of World War Two" I was honored and privileged when the author himself - Quentin Rees... found his way to my blog and commented on my posting! He also "set the record straight"... so I thought Durhamblogger readers would be interested in his comments. Enjoy!

"Hi Guys, just read this... I need to apologise on behalf of someone in my publishers who is not too hot on geography or history in providing the blurb you got a hold of.. sorry.. I actually live in Torbay not Falmouth . I shall send Mike some other details you will be interested in.. and I am sure he will put right the info that's wrong so you can be kept well informed...ref PenobscotPaddles and son... then impress him with what he doesnt know about this raid... Cockleshell Heroes -The Final Witness ISBN 9781848688612. It tells you the true story.. and as the Dailiy Telegraph UK said 'The Truth At Last'. If you have any questions, let me know..

P.S.One thing is for sure, when you read what the boffins got up to you will be amazed!. One canoe was equally at home underneath the water as it was above - really... this one could be sailed, paddled, had an electric motor and was said by its designer as a possible carriage vehicle for the atomic bomb!.. Just so you know the code name for these canoes ( they should have been termed kayaks but the military called them canoes ) was 'Cockle' there were a number of different marks.. the most successful has air sausages on the outside and were removable. I own two... One is a 'Cockle' Mark 2 ( the type use on the Cockleshell Heroes Raid) - the only one in private ownership out of only six known of in the world! Just so you know this 'collapsed' VERTICALLY along its 15ft length. Was a two man canoe. It could be erected in 60 seconds.. its an amazing piece of kit. The other is a 18ft aluminium sectional canoe that can be paddled and sailed which has outriggers and goes through the water like a battleship. When sailing dingies come in because its too windy this is in its element.. it needed to be because it was ocean going and used in Far East. It has ( inc outriggers) FIVE sections. The bow, centre and stern sections all are bulkheaded and were made by aircraft engineers TO AIRCRAFT SPEC/ STANDARD! You should see the riveting . Its a 'cockle' mark 7.The Mark 2 was designed a year before by a chap on the Isle of Wight.. in the Solent called Fred Goatley... He produced another canoe the Mark 2** ( a three man version of the MK 2 ) as well as other craft which are all related in the HEROES book...hope you enjoy." - Quentin Rees

Update 12/19/2010

Quentin Rees contacted me again... and asked that I utilize the "official" cover photo of his upcoming book on the Cockleshell Heroes! I'm more than happy to oblige! Actually, I plan to purchase and read about this fascinating part of kayak history soon! Look for a future book review on Durhamblogger!

The Cockleshell Heros - The Final Witness by Quentin Rees

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  1. Hi peeps

    As a result of the postings I have recently had a telephone conversation with Frank Walsh. Its surprising how long one chats on the phone! If anyone would like to have an email chat about any of the information in either book you are more than welcome to do so , contact Mike for email address. A little news - in March the BBC TV are ding a piece for the national news as well as a popular national prog to do with the men who were the 'Cockleshell Heroes'. It centres on their training and I am taking the rare beast hat is the Cockle Mk 2 from its exhibition place at our National Maritime Museum in Falmouth to show it to the UK viewing public. I should point out that there are only 6 known of and only one in private ownership - I own it! will try and remember to keep you updated, if I forget remind me! Its dismal here in the UK, but it is winter!

    Regards Quentin rees

    1. Hello Quentin. I am helping Royal Hospital School put together a book and they have been trying to track down some photos of Raymond Quick, an old boy Cockleshell Hero. I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how to get hold of them when I saw that you had written this book. Would you be able to help me track down a good photo of Mr Quick?
      Many thanks,
      nb (at)

    2. for some unknown reason i have only just managed to se this mail!! todays date 9th Jan 2014!!!!
      SO sorry, and yes would love to help.
      have emailed!

      PS oct 2011 nearly died. so been a little occupied...


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