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Vintage folbot (foldboat)  XML
Forum Index » Wartime Commando Weapons and Equipment
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geoffmurray1
Forum Lieutenant-Colonel
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Joined: 10/01/2007 22:08:43
Messages: 693
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Hi Geoff,

Many thanks for your efforts on our behalf?I have taken the liberty of attaching some pictures of a WW2 vintage

Foldboat that I have recently refurbished? I came across it in a rather run down state , at a boat shed, some 30 yrs ago.

Having trained in the more modern version, and my father having been 2/4 (Aust.) Commando WW2 New Guinea, I decided that it should be resurrected? The skin had to be totally rebuilt and the frame reworked. In all it took about 350 hours. Of interest in the historical picture is a Welrod silenced pistol (beside the water can and the two Sten guns (opposite end)? The basic outboard motor is also worth noting?To what extent they were used, I am not aware. However I do have a picture of one in use?.How the operatives managed to retain any freeboard, with this load is amazing .With one occupant it already sits very low in the water, presumably to present a minimal silhouette. This particular foldboat was used in a reenactment of one of the ?Z Special? raids on Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbor, after the British capitulation. Your members may find it of interest. I would be more than happy to communicate with any interested members.

I look forward to remaining in contact .

Regards William

wimwatson@bigpond.com
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Geoff Murray
CVA National Secretary


'United We Conquer'
stealthy
Forum Lance Corporal
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Joined: 06/07/2011 16:47:14
Messages: 5
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Hi Geoff and William

The type of folboat that William has described on this posting may very well be a commando ops one that served in the Pacific Campaign.

The photo posted with all of that ancilliary equipment is the Australian built type MKIII, 1943 or 1944. It also shows (in front of water can) the 'Walkie Talkie' radio SCR-536 with generator handle. The code name for this outfit as illustrated with small 'silent' outboard was MOTAX-1.

My father held the folboat patents and a total of 1024 were built for the Australian army. Many were used for clandestine ops in the Pacific, including Operation RIMAU, COPPER & New Guinea NADZAB area.

I have just completed a comprehensive book: 'Commando Kayak' on Australian built folboats. It includes full A4 prints of the technical drawings, many images of the craft in action and many formerly 'secret' documents. It is already being called a 'Definitive Work'

A small quantity of the book has been printed. More info on website:
www.hirschbooks.net (one word, & .net not .com).

The earliest known MKIII has recently been found under a house in a Melbourne suburb and is now regarded as 'very significant' by the Australian War Museum, who are now restoring it.

I will post some images as soon as I get some more free time.
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NIC
Forum Brigadier
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Joined: 10/04/2007 22:56:27
Messages: 2362
Location: Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire
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Hi Stealthy,
Welcome to the CVA - it's good to see that, with you and William, we have some real experts on the Folboats aboard...

Nick

Nick Collins

CVA Forum Administrator

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Belly
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Joined: 27/12/2010 20:58:21
Messages: 173
Location: Cheshire
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What about this one:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330583664198&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Army Commando: Setting Europe ablaze since 1940

Collector of Army Commando Insignia & Memorabilia - desperately looking for printed shoulder titles
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stealthy
Forum Lance Corporal
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Joined: 06/07/2011 16:47:14
Messages: 5
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Tried to open, but certain military items, even veteran / antiques military stuff is blocked by eBay UK to overseas areas !!

Nat security??- Who is going to paddle an old folboat from overseas to 'invade' the UK??

Without being able to open & view, I assume this one is the rigid British metal canoe, possibly WWII, that is being advertised for sale in UK.

Sorry, I only have info on pre-war and wartime folboats- i,e, like the ones that FOLD up & pack in bags about size of golf kit ravel bag, not rigid ones - like the Australian built MKIII one attached from WWII Pacific War.
More info on www.hirschbooks.net
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Belly
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Joined: 27/12/2010 20:58:21
Messages: 173
Location: Cheshire
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The item in question was a ?Mk 2** Cockle Canoe WW2? and went for 1,220

If only I had somewhere to store a 5m long canoe I would have bid for it!!
The description in full was:

This auction is for an original World War 2 canoe used by special forces in Commando style attacks. It is the ONLY Cockle Mark 2 ** (double star) canoe known to survive. It is the 3 man version of the Cockle Mk2, the type used by the famous Cockleshell Heros and was developed by Major Blondie Hasler DSO OBE (of the Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment, the leader of the Cockleshell raid and one of the few survivors of the mission.This type was not used on Operation Frankton but was used on other assaults such as Operation Sunbeam, the attack on Leros. This type could also be used for the incertion / extraction of agents. More history and information can be found in the books "Cockleshell Canoes" and "Cockleshell Heros the final whitness" both by Quentin Rees an expert on these canoes. If you are interested enough to read this listing the you must read these books, they are on ebay and if you read them you will realise what an important piece of history this canoe is. Some history of the units and their operations can be found here:-

http://www.specialoperations.com/History/WWII/Cockleshell.htm

This canoe was built in 1942 by Saunders Roe Aviation. It was designed by Fred Goatley under the supervision of Major Hasler. Goatley also designes the folding assault boats as seen in the film "A Bridge Too Far" one of which I am also selling on ebay, see my other items. Like the assault boats this canoe can be folded flat, it was designed to fit through a submarine hatch. The locking mechanism can be seen through the round hatch. There are three sets of paddles included, a fourth is listed seperatly on ebay. The floor "grates", seats, backrests and cushions are included. One of the cushions is damaged but the other two are intact, amazing as they seem to be made of paper and chopped up blankets! Each seating position has a plastic pocket for maps and a bulldog clip on a piece of string.

The deck and the bottom of the canoe are made from laminated wood, the sides and cockpit area from a canvas like material. The sides and deck appear to be in good condition with no holes or damage. There is one small hole on the botton of the hull, it can be seen in the last photo, it will need to be repaired before use... I had to remove the canoe from the water as soon as I noticed it! The fabric "spray deck" has dried out and is brittle, there are some large splits/tears around the front seaing position (see photos) but this seems to be an old design fault as there are old repairs to it. The spraydeck is the only "bad" area, the rest is in reasonable condition with some paint cracking in areas.

I bought this canoe from a film prop company, the previous owner bought it from a retired Major who stored the canoe in their yard, he cannot remember the Majors name. All he could recall were that the Major used to shoot coins off a fence in the boatyard in London with a revolver and he had bought the canoe from the Major some sixty years ago. The canoe had been in dry storage since then.

Dimensions.(approx) Length 5m30cm Width 71cm Height 45cm Paddles 2m when connected.
I have been informed of some errors in my description. The canoe would have been built in late 1943 or 1944 by Harris Lebus or Parkstone Joinery. The Mk2 was developed by Hasler not the Mk2**, it was designed by Fred Goatley.
Thanks for all the interest and questions, here are some more detailed description of some parts.
The bow and stern has a metal cap and rope trim. The deck has the following fittings. Four paddle holders, four large metal rings, four cleats, wooden fittings for rope at each end. The spray deck has two wooden battons per seat so the canvas sides can be held flush, each seat position also has a wooden upright to support the spray deck.
Inside there are six uprights which lock into place to help the fore and aft folding mechanism support the hull. There are six pockets, one each side per seat, one of these has some kind of canvas waterproof item. There are some short leather straps attached to the inside of the hull, two per seat. There is also a mount on the floor in the front seat and the corresponding hole in the deck, think this is for a mast, have also seen a photo of cockle canoes with a machine gun mounted on the front!
There are some old repairs on the hull, this canoe was used, one of the repairs has what looks like a round sticking plaster on the inside! The hole on the underside of the hull is in the shape of a V, each side of the V is less than 10cm long. would be easy to patch. One of the seat back supports has a cracked piece in the lamination which can easily be clamped and re glued.
The "belts" on the spraydeck which fit around your waist have press stud tabs to hold them closed.
The hull fixings are very small copper nail and roves, like wooden clinker boat fixings. They look like rivits. Very well made!
Two of the paddles are in battleship grey, the third is the same colour green as the deck.

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Army Commando: Setting Europe ablaze since 1940

Collector of Army Commando Insignia & Memorabilia - desperately looking for printed shoulder titles
[WWW]
 
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