Statue remembers the ultimate sacrifice of one of The Cockleshell Heroes

James Conway
James Conway

A STRIKING statue to one of The Cockleshell Heroes, who took part in a World War Two mission to blow up enemy ships in the port of Bordeaux, has been unveiled in his home town.

James Conway statue
James Conway statue

The bravery of Royal Marine James Conway is honoured with a permanent memorial in Stockport town centre, in north west England, and tells of how of the ten men on the mission only two returned.

The Royal Marines were tasked with canoeing around 130 kms up the Gironde estuary in December 1942, travelling by night and resting in the day, to attach limpet mines to Nazi ships in Bordeaux port.

Only two reached the port, others drowned or were caught, while James Conway was captured in France and subsequently executed aged just 20 years old.

Stockport councillor Kate Butler said: “James Conway’s role as one of the Cockleshell Heroes makes him a true Stockport and national hero. I’m delighted that he will be honoured with a lasting tribute in his hometown.”

Artist Luke Perry spent months researching the clothing that James would have worn at the time of the mission and meeting with and speaking to the family of James Conway in order to capture a near exact representation of him for the memorial.

Major General Martin Smith, CB, MBE, said: “The Royal Marines are honoured that on the 75th anniversary of James Conway’s death, Stockport is recognising one of its sons who bravely served in our Corps and gave his life in the service of his country.”

James Conway statue text
James Conway statue text

In 2011 The Frankton Memorial, named after the code name for the operation, was unveiled at the Pointe de Grave, at the mouth of the Gironde estuary made up of a series of bronze plaques on stone monoliths forming a tribute to the bravery of the Royal Marines and their heroic mission.

Photographs of the statue kindly provided by councillor Kate Butler.

By Craig McGinty

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  1. Thanks so much for this, Craig. And Ian, we had a private screening of the film in Stockport’s War Memorial Art Gallery as part of the commemorations with James’ family. A splendid and very moving day.

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