Dunkirk, 26 May, 1940

It was on this day in 1940 that the British and French Army began to evcuate the mainland of Europe at Dunkirk. In all Operation Dynamo rescued 338,226 troops, however most of the BEF's equipment was lost, but the core of it's fighting forces were saved. They proved to be the nucleus of the Britains defenses, as well as the core of the Free French Army.

"The beach, black with men, illumined by the fires, seemed a perfect target." Arthur D. Divine, rescuer.

"It was the queerest, most nondescript flotilla that ever was, and it was manned by every kind of Englishman, never more than two men, often only one, to each small boat. There were bankers and dentists, taxi drivers and yachtsmen, longshoremen, boys, engineers, fishermen and civil servants. . .

It was dark before we were well clear of the English coast. It wasn't rough, but there was a little chop on, sufficient to make it very wet, and we soaked the Admiral to the skin. Soon, in the dark, the big boats began to overtake us. We were in a sort of dark traffic lane, full of strange ghosts and weird, unaccountable waves from the wash of the larger vessels. When destroyers went by, full tilt, the wash was a serious matter to us little fellows. We could only spin the wheel to try to head into the waves, hang on, and hope for the best.

Stern stuff these British. "T'was a near run thing... "


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