Doncaster hero Ben set to retrace daring World War Two mission

Ben Parkinson has started training for his Pilgrim Bandits Cockleshell Heroes expedition.

Ben Parkinson has started training for his Pilgrim Bandits Cockleshell Heroes expedition.

Heroic Ben Parkinson MBE has joined forces with other amputee servicemen to start training for his next epic challenge - by re-enacting a daring World War Two mission.

The paratrooper, the most seriously injured soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan, and nine others will retrace the December 1942 Operation Frankton, an attack on German shipping at the French port of Bordeaux.

The team hope to retrace the gruelling 75-mile kayak journey carried out by a 34-man unit of canoe-sculling royal marines, known as the Cockleshell Heroes.

Ben, 29, of Bawtry Road, Bessacarr, who lost both legs and suffered brain injuries in a bomb blast in 2006, expressed his excitement on Facebook, posting: “Waterborne in 2014. Training everyday for cockleshell.”

The team will complete a parachute jump from Royan Airfield on the west coast of France before attempting a five day kayak up the Girande Estuary. They aim to arrive at the port in Bordeaux on D-Day, June 6.

They recently completed training off the coast of Dorset and are due for more in Aberdeen next month. Ben has been completing training at home after adapting a multi gym to replicate the motion of kayaking.

Mum Diane Dernie, 55, said: “I am so proud of what he has done. He is so determined.”

Proceeds will go to the Pilgrim Bandits Charity, which organises challenges for injured soldiers. Ben joined former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown at the House of lords for an official launch last week.

Ben has raised £5,500 so far. Visit http://www.justgiving.com/pilgrim-bandits/raisemoney




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