A Hampshire charity has today launched its attempt to recreate one of the most daring missions of World War Two.

Injured servicemen recruited by the New Milton-based Pilgrim Bandits boarded a cross-Channel ferry at the start of their bid to honour the courage shown by Royal Marine commandoes who were dubbed The Cockleshell Heroes.

They were joined by Sarah Holmes, 46, of Fareham, the great niece of one of the men who died on the raid.

She said; “It’s an absolute honour to be part of this trip and to be able to honour my very brave uncle and all his colleagues.”

The Pilgrim Bandits team embarked at Portsmouth, the same port from which members of the original mission left in 1942.

After canoeing 60 miles up the River Gironde in Nazi-occupied France, they attacked German ships anchored off Bordeaux. Several vessels were either damaged or destroyed, crippling the port for months.