As a boy I was enthralled by the antics of the Cockleshell heroes.

For the benefit of those who know little about history, they were a group of Royal Marines who canoed 70 miles up the river Gironde during the hours of darkness to attack enemy ships moored at the port of Bordeaux in occupied France with limpet mines.

Today I’m a little longer in the tooth but continue to be enthralled by the heroic acts of the brave. In all conflicts the myth and facts often get mixed up.

One such myth was the ghost of Kyiv. It embodies the gallant spirit of the highly-qualified pilots of the tactical aviation brigade who successfully defended the region of Kyiv.

It certainly gave the Russian pilots the heebie-jeebies.

Between February 24 and March 13 the Ukrainian Air Force downed 40 planes, with Major Stephen Tarabalka, flying a Mig-29, shooting down six Russian aircraft. In due course, I am certain that books and probably a film will be made about him.

And with so much heroism being shown by the Ukrainians, there will be many more based on the true-life stories such as the Ukrainian marines holed-up in the steel plant in Mariupol.

These guys have held out for months against the entire Russian might.

Some of the civilians have recently been rescued by a UN safe corridor.

The marines remaining have no choice but to fight on, by doing so they tie up many thousands of Russians who would otherwise fight against their comrades in the Donbas region.

Mike Fry

Address supplied