Ex-Lib Dem leader visits Guernsey

Former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown was in Guernsey yesterday to tell island residents about the daring Second World War commando raid that inspired him to join the Special Boat Service before he launched his life in politics.

Lord Ashdown with local army and Elizabeth College cadets. Left to right: Samuel Corbin, Elliott Berry, Joe Cunningham, Matthew Skipper, Martin Doherty, Samuel Berry, Alexander Doherty and Cody Winterton. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1284581)
Lord Ashdown with local army and Elizabeth College cadets. Left to right: Samuel Corbin, Elliott Berry, Joe Cunningham, Matthew Skipper, Martin Doherty, Samuel Berry, Alexander Doherty and Cody Winterton. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1284581)

Former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown was in Guernsey yesterday to tell island residents about the daring Second World War commando raid that inspired him to join the Special Boat Service before he launched his life in politics.

The publication of Lord Ashdown’s latest book A Brilliant Little Operation was timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary next month of Operation Frankton, which was carried out by a small unit of Royal Marines who became immortalised as The Cockleshell Heroes.

Speaking at a Carey Olsen sponsored talk at the OGH Hotel last night, Lord Ashdown told his local audience how the dozen heroes paddled by canoe deep into German-held territory in the French port of Bordeaux in order to blow up enemy ships, and also how only two of the commandos survived and managed to escape.

‘This story is part of my youth,’ Lord Ashdown said. ‘It inspired me as a young boy and it became one of the memorable dates of the Corps of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and, of course, the founding event of the Special Boat Service.’

  • A full interview with Paddy Ashdown will appear in The Week this Saturday.