Operation Suicide

The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid

Published Feb 2012 by Quercus

ISBN: 978-0857382405


At nightfall on December 7 1942, twelve British canoeists arrived by submarine off the coast of France, tasked with infiltrating the dockyards of Bordeaux, and wreaking havoc with the German shipping they found there.

Manning fragile ‘cockles’ through the turbulent waters of the Bay of Biscay, and making an assault on a port bristling with German soldiers ordered to execute any Allied Commando they captured, their prospects looked bleak. It was fully expected that all would die in the attempt.

Featuring a cast of characters ranging from Blondie Hasler, the ingenious and courageous leader of the raid, to the Comtesse de Milleville, who risked outrageous danger as she ran a secret resistance network, Operation Suicide is an enthralling account of one of WWII’s most iconic missions.

'an attention to detail coupled with a relaxed, readable style for a non-fiction work ... Don't wait for the paperback'


'Lyman's account of their feat of endurance and of their comrades' sacrifice will make you feel proud to be British'

Daily Express

'a compelling story: this cockleshell will float'

Daily Mail

'I enjoyed reading this book very much ... it achieves the very difficult objective of shedding new light on a very-well known and intensely studied event in history'

Daily History

'readable, detailed, well-written ... This book certainly deserves a place on your bookshelf, if you want a good up to date account of the raid'

Globe and Laurel

'Robert Lyman has uncovered a wealth of new material. His book paints a vivid picture of this extraordinary episode'

Mail on Sunday

'It rips along at a cracking pace, bringing the raid and protagonists vividly to life'

Navy News

'a good read and contains some detail not in previous titles, in particular Hasler and Sparks' escape to Spain with the French resistance'

Royal Canoe Club

'This is an excellent account of the raid and everything that surrounded it ... An excellent study of an incredibly daring raid'-

History of War