Neil Laughton - Retracing the steps of commandos
Ex-SAS man turned entrepreneur, Neil Laughton, is leading an expedition to retrace the steps of commandos who carried out one of the Second World War's most daring and gruelling raids.
Neil will seek to recreate Operation Frankton in which a unit of Royal Marines was sent to the Nazi-occupied port of Bordeaux to bomb ships. Their exploits inspired the 1955 film Cockleshell Heroes
Neil's team will be dropped off at the same point in the Gironde estuary where the marines disembarked from their submarine in canoes. They will then attempt to paddle along the river for 30 miles a day (48km) battling the strong tidal currents. After that, they will walk for 100 miles (160km) to reach the hotel from which the survivors of the original operation were rescued by the French Resistance.
Of the 12 marines, only two came back alive, the rest falling victim along the way to German forces and hypothermia. But the operation was deemed a success, with Winston Churchill saying that he believed it shortened the war by six months.
The expedition starts on July 7 and will be raising money for the Stroke Association and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust.