War Canoe

Collectable Books On the Shelf

Paddy Ashdown (1941-2018) former SBS officer and Yeovil MP described Operation Frankton as ‘the most courageous raid of World War Two’

The picture on this page lays bare several of my obsessions; kayaks, books and military history. It shows ten editions of Cockleshell Heroes (Heinemann, 1956), including a first edition (at the bottom), by C ELucas-Phillips, a book I first read nigh on 50 years ago soon after having a go in the first kayak I ever paddled.

I didn't know it, but there is considerable history around kayaks. Recreational use in Europe had its origins in prewar Germany. Johann Klepper had the idea of a foldable kayak suited to being carried on a train.

Just Hasler and his number two Bill Sparks DSM escaped while those captured were executed by the Nazis’

This, and growing enthusiasm for the great outdoors in the 1920/30s led to the production of 'folbots'. People could get a train to a station near a river, unpack, and then assemble their kayaks and paddle down a river.

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