My history hero: ‘Blondie’ Hasler (1914–87)
Chosen by Paddy Ashdown, Liberal politician and diplomat
Herbert george ‘Blondie’ Hasler is most famous for leading the ‘Cockleshell heroes’ in Operation Frankton, a daring commando raid on the French port of Bordeaux in December 1942. Ten Royal Marines undertook the treacherous task of canoeing up the Gironde estuary and planting limpet mines on German ships in the port. Of the ten men, only two made it back to Britain alive – escaping over the Pyrenees to neutral Spain – one of them Blondie Hasler.