Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Operation Frankton - the evil it endeavoured to eradicate, endures in today's EU!

Last evening, on BBC television, Lord Paddy Ashdown presented a programme dedicated to the heroic exploits of ten men, who in December 1942, launched their canvas canoes from the submarine HMS Tuna off Pointe de Grave, and paddled fifty miles to plant limpet mines on the blockade running German ships lying alongside the quays of Bordeaux. Only two, Hessler and Sparks, survived - several of their comrades were shot in cold blood in brutal contravention of all decency and legality, contrived with the full complicity of the German High Command!

Similar fanaticism is in evidence in the EU of today, witnessed for example, when I turn on my radio this morning, to be informed that the democratically elected Prime Minister of Greece, has been summoned to Cannes to explain the granting of a democratic referendum to his people. This referendum, last evening received the support of his Cabinet, read here.

In South West France, the heroics of Blondie Hessler and his brave men have not been forgotten. Last March an impressive Memorial was dedicated at the northernmost tip of the Medoc, as I reported on this blog, linked here.

An organisation called Frankton Souvenir has dedicated a series of plaques along the escape route of Hessler and Sparks, from Blaye to Ruffec, as they sought refuge with the French Resistance. Walks along different sections of this lengthy trek are regulary held, next year's will be in June and will run from St Germain de Vibrac to Barret in the Charente.

The illustrated bi-lingual Walks Books written by my wife and myself include itineraries and take in some of the plaques. Book One contains a brief description of the operation - more details are here. Book Three (in preparation) will feature other itineraries upriver from Angoulême.

A book in French, written by François Bosnier and Raymond Muelle, published by Tresor du Patrimone ISBN 2-915118-00-0 has much background detail.

The Frankton Souvenir organisation has 102 French members and 52 British and would welcome new members and support. Several other activities are planned for 2012, the 70th anniversary of the action. Subscriptions are €15 and should be sent to the treasurer Guy Celle,- 32 route de Chez Guinot - 17520 SAINT EUGENE - France.

Keeping the memories of these brave men alive is perhaps some small way in which we can all  counter the threats to our liberties, which sadly are once again becoming apparent today!

Readers of this blog in the UK, who missed the programme, may see it again over the next week on the BBC ipod Player. It would be fitting if somebody with some spare time could upload the entire programme on YouTube so a wider audience could learn of the sacrifices our forefathers were prepared to make for their liberty and democracy.

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