A CEREMONY to commemorate the bravery of World War II’s Cockleshell Heroes will be held at Woodside Ferry in Birkenhead this weekend.
The event will take place at the memorial provided by Wirral Council which was unveiled last December by former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown.
The memorial commemorates Operation Frankton, one of the bravest and most daring raids of the war, carried out by a group of Royal Marines, including young Cpl Albert Frederick “Bert” Laver, who was born in Birkenhead.
Mr Ashdown has written a book about the mission.
The men who took part in the operation became known as the Cockleshell Heroes. Tragically, none survived.
Unveiling the memorial last year, Mr Ashdown said: “This was one of the most dangerous and daring raids of World War II, and pitted 10 Royal Marines against 10,000 German troops.
“The young men who took part, including Cpl Laver, knew there was a very good chance that they would not return, and they were prepared to risk their lives at a time when our nation's survival was at stake.”
Cpl Laver was aged only 22 when he signed up for the top secret mission. He was eventually shot by the Germans for his part in the raid, which was credited for shortening the war by six months.
The Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Dave Mitchell, will lay a wreath at 11am on Sunday, December 8, at a ceremony organised by members of the Royal Marines Association.
Cllr Mitchell said: “I am delighted to take part in this annual remembrance in honour of these brave men, and of course Birkenhead’s own son, Cpl Albert Frederick Laver.”
The memorial plaque was placed on the promenade adjacent to Woodside Ferry last year after Mr Ashdown wrote letters to councils in all the home towns of the men who took part in the raid, asking them to provide a permanent memorial.