Maldon's No.1 attraction

Limited Edition Model Canoes

The Models

To kick off the relationship between CMSM and Solo 3D Studio – we have used 3D scans of the last remaining Cockle Canoe we have in the Museum – Cachalot. So these models are not just scale models, these are 100% accurate scale models of the canoes that we used on Operation Frankton and other missions during the Second World War.

We have two available model options

A 3D printed 1/6th scale Cockle without crew

COST £350.00 (Crew available for additional cost – please enquire)

A 3D printed 200mm scale cockle with Crew. Please note this is a simple render for illustrative purposes and not the final sculpt or design.

This version will be a strictly limited run of 100.

COST £150.00

All prices include standard royal mail signed for delivery

To purchase or to find out more information please contact Tel 01529 488100  – Currently these are only available via Solo 3D Studio.  They will not be available to buy in the Museum.

All profits go to the museum to support running costs.

Operation Frankton

Operation Frankton, also known as the Cockleshell Heroes, was a daring and successful British commando raid carried out during World War II. The operation took place in December 1942 and was designed to disrupt German shipping in the French port of Bordeaux.

The objective of Operation Frankton was to infiltrate the heavily guarded port and attack German vessels using canoes. The raid was led by Major Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler and consisted of a small team of ten Royal Marines known as the Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment.

The team traveled by submarine, HMS Tuna, to the Gironde Estuary on the French Atlantic coast. They launched their canoes, named Cockles, near the mouth of the estuary and paddled over 70 miles upstream to reach their targets in the port of Bordeaux. The Cockles were designed to be collapsible and could be assembled on-site to allow for easier transport and concealment.

The raiders faced numerous challenges during their mission, including treacherous weather conditions, strong tides, and German patrols. They spent several nights hidden during the day and paddled at night to avoid detection. The team successfully planted limpet mines on several German ships, causing significant damage to enemy vessels.

However, the majority of the raiding party was captured or killed during the operation. Only two commandos, Hasler and Marine Bill Sparks, managed to escape and make their way to Spain, from where they were eventually repatriated back to Britain.

Despite the high cost in terms of personnel, Operation Frankton achieved its objective of disrupting German shipping in Bordeaux. The damage inflicted on the German vessels forced them to divert resources and delay the deployment of vital supplies, which had a significant impact on their operations.

Operation Frankton is remembered as a remarkable example of British commando bravery and ingenuity during World War II. The story of the Cockleshell Heroes has been immortalised in books, films, and documentaries, highlighting their extraordinary courage and determination in the face of adversity.

The Cockles

The Cockles, or Cockle canoes, were specialised folding canoes used in Operation Frankton (also known as the Cockleshell Heroes) during World War II. They were designed specifically for the raid and played a crucial role in the mission’s success.

The Cockles were folding canoes made of canvas stretched over a lightweight wooden frame. They were designed to be compact and easily transported. When collapsed, the canoes could be packed into a small container or carried as backpacks. This allowed the commandos to covertly transport them by submarine and assemble them near their target.

Each Cockle canoe measured approximately 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length and could accommodate two commandos. The canoes were equipped with paddles and had a limited capacity for carrying supplies and equipment.

The folding nature of the canoes allowed the raiding party to approach the target area discreetly. They could be hidden during the day and assembled at night, providing the element of surprise to carry out their attacks on German vessels in the port of Bordeaux.

The Cockles were specially designed for the conditions encountered during Operation Frankton, including the narrow waterways and strong tides of the Gironde Estuary. Despite their lightweight construction, the canoes proved to be durable enough to withstand the demands of the mission.

The success of the Cockle canoes in Operation Frankton demonstrated their effectiveness as a means of covert waterborne infiltration. Their compact size, portability, and ability to be assembled quickly made them ideal for such a daring and secretive raid.

The story of the Cockles and the brave commandos who operated them has become legendary, symbolising the audacity and resourcefulness of the British forces during World War II.