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Street sign to honour valour of Wirral's 'Cockleshell Hero'
Eileen Smith looks at the new memorial to the 'Cockleshell Heroes' during last month's unveiling at Woodside Prom. Picture: Paul Heaps
THE outstanding courage of Wirral's own "Cockleshell Hero" is to be further recognised in the form of a street sign in his home town of Birkenhead.
Royal Marine Corporal Albert Laver's exploits as one of a group of 10 Marines who carried out a daring raid on German ships in Nazi-occupied Bordeaux in France in December 1942, are already set in stone on a special plaque recently unveiled at Woodside promenade.
Now Wirral heritage champion Cllr Jerry Williams is pressing for Marine Laver’s valour to be given a further accolade with the naming of a street after him.
Cllr Williams said: “At the moment there are no roads available in Birkenhead but we are looking to honour Albert Laver by naming a road after him at the first opportunity.
"We are very keen to do it quickly."
Local history and heritage groups are supporting the move which would be in the same vein as the naming of Edward Manton Close in honour of the shot-down Bebington Spitfire pilot.
Mr Manton was operational for only nine days with the 6/10 County of Chester RAF Squadron when he lost his life in August 1940.
He is buried at Hawkhurst in Kent, the place where he crashed.
Cllr Williams said: "Heritage street naming is happening across Wirral. Around 70% of our roads have historic connotations. It helps to give an area a form of identity."
At last month's unveiling of the Woodside Ferry plaque Lord Paddy Ashdown, an ex member of the Special Boat Service, acknowledged the sacrifice of the "Cockleshell Heroes."
He said: "This was one of the most dangerous and daring roads of World War 11; it pitted 10 Marines against 10,000 German troops."
Wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill acknowledged that the action helped to shorten World War 11 by six months.
The Marines faced the task of paddling up the River Gironde in their Cockle Mark 11 canoes, moving by night and hiding by day.
They succeeded in sinking one ship and severely damaging four others and doing enough damage in the port to greatly disrupt use of the harbour for many months.
Corporal Laver was one of six Marines captured by the Germans and shot. Two Marines drowned and two did not make the mission because their canoe was damaged.
The remaining two made it back to the UK after completion of the raid.