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Page 5a.

Operation Dynamo
The Mass Evacuation from Dunkirk
(From setbacks to Success
The first boat away to Dunkirk was an
Isle of Man packet steamer Mona's Isle,
leaving Dover at 2100hrs (! on
May 27th 1940. The "ourney across
the #hannel $uring the hours of
$arkness was uneventful an$ she pulle$
into the harbour at Dunkirk at mi$night.
The %uay was a mass of battle weary
troops, many were tire$ an$ e&hauste$,
others with ban$age$ hea$s, arms an$
legs were in nee$ of me$ical attention.
',() of them were hoar$e$ onto the
Mona's Isle, an$ she left at first light
the ne&t morning. Three routes were
allocate$ to the evacuating vessels. The
shortest was *oute +, a $istance of ,9 miles, which, after leaving Dunkirk followe$ the
-rench coast as far as .o./ 0uoy, then turning .or' west on a $irect line to Dover. The
longest of the three was *oute 1, a $istance of 23 miles that followe$ the -rench coast as
far as 0ray4Dunes then turne$ nor' east until reaching the 5winte 0uoy. 6ere, after making
an almost )3 $egree turn saile$ in an easterly $irection as far as the .orth 7oo$win
8ightship then hea$e$ $ue south roun$ the 7oo$win 9an$s to Dover. The thir$, an$
although the safest from the 7erman shore batteries, was through heavily mine$ portion of
the :nglish #hannel. This was *oute ;, a $istance of << miles, an$ ships hea$e$ $ue north
out of Dunkirk, through the *uytingen =ass an$ onto the .orth 7oo$win 8ightship before
hea$ing $ue south roun$ the 7oo$win 9an$s to Dover.
*eturning by *oute +, the Mona's Isle came un$er fire from 7erman shore batteries from
the -rench coast. Many shells e&plo$e$ close to the ship sen$ing plumes of white water into
the air an$ with water spraying over the $ecks. > number of shells faile$ to e&plo$e as they
hit the ship, but one fell aft an$ smashe$ the ru$$er. The Mona's Isle was a twin screw
vessel so by careful use of port an$ starboar$ engines, the packet was able to reach safety
an$ Dover, but not before a 0f '9 ha$ strafe$ the ship a couple of times killing ), an$
woun$ing / others.
?sing the same route, two coasters, the 9e%uacity an$ the 1ew$ale hea$e$ for Dunkirk, an$
along the -rench coast came in for the same treatment. Two hits into the 9e%uacity, one
into her starboar$ si$e, an$ the other into the engine room an$ she starte$ to sink, the
crew being rescue$ by the 1ew$ale which aborte$ the mission an$ returne$ to Dover. -our
other ships, also using *oute + came in for the same treatment, all returning to Dover
without any evacuees.
The captain of the Mona's Isle reporte$ that there were literally thousan$s on the %uay at
Dunkirk, an$ what must be three times as many lining the beaches, 'it will take weeks to
move them all' an$ he complaine$ of the lack of $efence stating that as the 7ermans move
in closer, more an$ more ships will come un$er heavy fire. *amsey's plan was in $isarray,
an$ it was clear that *oute + coul$ be use$ no further. *oute ; was the ne&t choice, but
this ws heavily mine$, an$ there was also many $angerous shoals. *oute 1, although the
longest, seeme$ to be the only option at this stage.
> convoy of two transports, two hospital ships an$ a couple of $estroyers ha$ arrive$ off
the port of Dunkirk at 1100hrs on the 27th "ust as the pleasure steamer *oyal Daffo$il
that usually plie$ the Thames from 8on$on to *amsgate with $ay trippers was in Dunkirk
6arbour but un$er heavy fire especially from 0f '9s. @ith less than a thousan$ troops on
boar$, she was force$ to $epart an$ the convoy was instructe$ to return to Dover. Ather
ships, coasters an$ skoots trie$ to get into the harbour, most being force$ to leave half
empty. The transport #anterbury taking on only (< troops an$ si& skoots only <
between them. Many ships, all using *oute 1, stoppe$ "ust off the coast at .ieuport, an$
messages starte$ to be transmitte$ from ship to ship, it was too $angerous to enter
Dunkirk, they ha$ to return to Dover.
-or the worse part, more troops were arriving at Dunkirk after retreating from -rench
towns, than were being evacuate$. The situation was not looking goo$, only 3,//9 men ha$
been safely evacuate$, far short of the target. >$miral *amsey sent urgent cables to the
>$miralty stating that a greater $efensive cover was re%uire$ if they are to succee$.
Destroyers were nee$e$, the *>- nee$s to play a more active part in covering Dunkirk, the
beaches an$ of course, the ships.
*>- 0omber #omman$ were alrea$y committe$ for the ne&t three or four nights with their heavy bombers. Targets ha$
alrea$y been submitte$ an$ arrange$, anyway, there was not much that the 'heavies' coul$ $o as far as Dunkirk was
concerne$. The 0lenheim s%ua$rons though, coul$ be of use by bombing 7erman lines of communication, bri$ges an$
"unctions in an effort to slow $own the 7erman a$vance. In the five $ays of the evacuation, appro&. (< 0lenheims were
engage$ in sorties over the Dunkirk region an$ beyon$.
Dow$ing ha$ alrea$y bowe$ to pressure earlier in the month after his letter to the >ir Ministry stating that -ighter
#omman$ was committe$ to the $efence of 0ritain an$ that no further 6urricanes shoul$ be sent to -rance. @hat aircraft
$i$ eventually go ha$ either been $estroye$ in the air or on the groun$, an$ what was left was move$ either further west
in -rance, or returne$ back to operate from bases in :nglan$. An the evening of May 27th, Dow$ing was or$ere$ by the
>ir Ministry to supply enough fighter aircraft to protect the beaches an$ beyon$ using stan$ing patrols in strength from
$awn until sunset. >ir Bice Marshall 5eith =ark was informe$ of the situation an$ was re%ueste$ by Dow$ing to move his
s%ua$rons accor$ingly with the specific instruction that the primary ob"ective was the success of CAperation DynamoC an$
that the evacuation must be covere$ at all costs. -ighter #omman$s commitment D Document4'( E was )2 fighter
s%ua$rons being sent to -rance an$ inclu$e$ both 6urricane an$ 9pitfires, flying continuous sorties non4stop for the
$uration of the evacuation.
0ack on the naval front, >$miral *amsey ma$e another urgent appeal to the >$miralty for $estroyer escorts that woul$
provi$e cover for the ships engage$ in the evacuation. The .aval 9taff respon$e$ by or$ering 6.M.9. Faguar that was on
$uty in .orwegian waters to return to :nglan$ at once. 6.M.9. 6arvester was a new $estroyer that was on training
e&ercises off the south coast was or$ere$ to Dover, 6.M.9. 6avant was in 9cotlan$, 6.M.9. 9ala$in an$ 6.M.9. 0rea$win
were on $uty escorting a convoy. 6.M.9. >nthony, 6.M.9. Malcolm, 6.M.9. 9abre, 6.M.9. @akeful an$ 6.M.9. @olfhoun$
were some of the $estroyers taken off other $uties to take part in CAperation DynamoC.
Ance the $estroyers reache$ the port of Dover, they were instructe$ on their new role of $uties. Many $estroyer skippers
ha$ no i$ea as to why so many $estroyers ha$ so urgently been sent to the #hannel, but now, all skippers ha$ been
briefe$ an$ they knew what their $uties were.
The first $estroyers reache$ the -rench coast at first light on May 2$th 1940, 6.M.9. Faguar was one of the first to arrive
an$ 9toker >.D.9aun$ers saw that the ship was making for a beautiful stretch of white san$, which appeare$ to have
shrubs plante$ all over it. 0ut a closer look reveale$ that the shrubs began to move forming lines pointing towar$s the sea,
an$ 9aun$ers then realiGe$ that they were not shrubs, but men, thousan$s of them, sol$iers waiting on the beaches for
help. D'E
7etting close to the beaches was now a problem for the $estroyers, an$ they ha$ to use their own small boats to get the
sol$iers on boar$ as there was no sign of any boats that coul$ get in close. Ane by one, the $estroyers move$ in, sen$ing
their boats in to pick up as many sol$iers as they coul$. Desperate men, with only thoughts of getting away scramble$ into
the boats, some fell back into the water, many wa$e$ out to try to be first into the boats. Many, grimly hung onto the
si$es of the boats, too weak to pull themselves up. It was chaos. 6.M.9. 9abre picke$ up only ' men in the first two
hours, 6.M.9. Malcolm took fifteen hours to rescue (< men an$ the story was no better with the other ships. >s the $ay
wore on, all captains realiGe$ that small boats that coul$ get right up close to the
san$y beaches were urgently re%uire$, more men were arriving at the beaches
than were being taken off. Then most of the $estroyers sent urgent appeals back
to *amsey with the re%uest that small boats were nee$e$.
*amsey again ha$ to make some %uick $ecisions, an$ in turn ma$e an urgent
re%uest to 8on$on.
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9lowly, Douglas Tough brought together a small flotilla of small craft. In some cases their owners came with them, often,
some of the owners ob"ecte$, but Tough comman$eere$ the craft anyway. Bolunteer crews were also out on the river
confiscating any suitable craft that coul$ withstan$ the "ourney ahea$, most with owners who were willing to comman$
their boats for the operation, although at this stage, what they were really wante$ for an$ where they were going was still
The same operation was taking place along the :sse& coast. 0urnham4on4#rouch was a mecca for small craft an$ a
number of them were comman$eere$. The south coast, from the Isle of @ight to Margate, authorities were also roun$ing
up as many craft as they coul$, vessels that coul$ un$ertake the channel crossing an$ hol$ as large number of men is
possible. In 8on$on, where many of the large ships were anchore$ either in the Thames or in the $ocks, were strippe$ of
their lifeboats. More larger vessels were foun$ in the search. They were normally pleasure boats that operate$ out of the
many seasi$e resorts taking $ay trippers out for a little bit of Clife on the ocean waveC an$ coul$ possibly han$le between
3 an$ a thousan$ troops.
Meanwhile, in -rance, there was utter confusion. The 0ritish ha$ begun their evacuation, but poor communications within
the -rench ranks $elaye$ their progress. Ma"or Foseph -auvelle of the -rench -irst >rmy ha$ informe$ 7eneral @eygan$ in
=aris that the 0ritish were making plans for a complete evacuation. 9urprisingly, the -rench troops in -lan$ers ha$ no
$irect contact with =aris e&cept to relay messages via the -rench .avy who in turn coul$ make contact with their
hea$%uarters at Maintenon which was about 3 miles away from =aris. They in turn ha$ to pass on any messages to
7eneral @eygan$. >s a result, many messages became lost, an$ others that $i$ get through were misinterprete$.
7eneral @eygan$ thought in terms of a big bri$gehea$ inclu$ing a recapture$ calais. 0lanchar$ an$ -agal$e wrote off
#alais, but still planne$ on a small bri$gehea$ in the region of Dunkirk while 7eneral =riou& was intent on making a last
gallant stan$ aroun$ 8ille. D)E
9heerness, #hatham an$ Dover was now a mecca for the hun$re$s of small craft that ha$ been comman$eere$ from
rivers, boatyar$s an$ moorings. It was a strange combination of cabin cruisers, half cabin cruisers, motor launches, fishing
boats, skoots, >8#'s (>rmy 8an$ing #raft!, pleasure cruisers, or, if it coul$ was there. > number of %ueer names
came to light, like *iver Hueen, 8a$y 8uck, 6ar$ :arnt, *ough an$ *ea$y an$ Ma$ 6atter. More well known steamers were
there, like Me$way Hueen, *oyal Daffo$il, Hueen of the #hannel, 0righton 0elle, an$ the pa$$le steamer #reste$ :agle.
6un$re$s of vessels in all shapes an$ siGes were gathere$, many with names, most with numbers an$ at last the flotilla of
$estroyers an$ minesweepers began to arrive provi$ing protection an$ to gather as many sol$iers from the beaches as

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0y late on May 2$th 1940, over )(, ha$ been rescue$, an$ most vessels
ha$ taken the longer *oute 1, but by evening, news ha$ come through the *oute
;, the mi$$le $esignate$ route ha$ been cleare$ of mines, this was ,, miles shorter that the northern *oute 1 an$ shoul$
spee$ up the naval operations. The port of Dunkirk with its "etties, wharves an$ the two moles, large arms that pointe$ out
seawar$s was the main evacuation point, although many were being taken off the beaches west of the town, with as many
as ,, at the town of 0ray4Dunes further north. 0y $ay, aircraft attacks hin$ere$ much of the evacuations, as $i$ the
shellfire from 7erman artillery establishments, but at night, another menace struck. > -rench $estroyer su$$enly
$isappeare$ without a trace, 6.M.9. @akeful also e&plo$e$ near 5winte @histle 0uoy. Torpe$oe$, by a torpe$o boat, or a
submarine. .ow vessels %uickly trying to get away from the $angers of the beaches ha$ to stop an$ pick up survivors from
ships that were blowing up in the night.
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The 8uftwaffe starte$ to step up operations. *esponsible for air attacks on Dunkirk was -liegerkorps BIII. > number of
other aircraft, Funkers, 9tukas, 0f'9s an$ 0f''s ha$ been brought in from other -liegerkorps to strengthen -liegerkorps
BIII. The or$ers were simple, strike only at the beaches an$ 0ritish shipping. 0ecause the 7erman infantry $ivisions were
still making their a$vances on Dunkirk, 0elgium ha$ fallen an$ now the -rench were being $riven out of #alais, the =anGer
$ivisions an$ armoure$ $ivisions were scattere$ about the countrysi$e, so the or$ers were not to strike at any inlan$
targets. > total of < 7erman aircraft were hea$ing for Dunkirk.
The planes came $own in groups of three or four, $ropping bombs on the ships as they lay anchore$ in the harbour.
0ombs struck first the eastern mole where a -rench $estroyer, a number of small craft, the $estroyers 7rena$e an$ Faguar
an$ the steamer -ynella as well as the steam pa$$le steamer #reste$ :agle were berthe$. The mole was line$ with
thousan$s of sol$iers. The Faguar, at the en$ of the mole manage$ to get away with some ( troops, but was hit by
bombs on the way out. 6er cargo of troops were taken off by the $estroyer 6.M.9. :&press but somehow she manage$ to
return to Dover empty. The $estroyer 6.M.9. 7rena$e took a $irect hit, an$ $rifte$ towar$s the harbour entrance, only to
be towe$ by trawlers out of the way before burning fiercely an$ e&plo$ing. The -ynella was hit where she berthe$ an$
sank leaving her masts an$ funnel e&pose$ above the water line. #reste$ :agle manage$ to get up steam an$ break away
from the mole, but 9tukas, gui$e$ by the long plumes of foam ma$e by her huge pa$$le wheels, soon foun$ her an$ one
bomb right in the centre of the vessel put the pa$$le steamer out of action. 9he was beache$ an$ left to $ie, burning
herself out.
The #lan Mac>lister, a /, ton cargo ship was hit. > number of bombs scoring $irect hits. The minesweeper 6.M.9.
@averley was sunk with the loss of over , men. The Isle of @ight ferry the 7racie -iel$s with nearly 2 sol$iers on
boar$ was sunk. Two skoots came to her rescue one on each si$e an$ the three ships went aroun$ in a circle time an$
time again as the troops were transferre$. C7racieC was taken in tow in an effort to get her back home, but $uring the
night she sank in the #hannel. The port of Dunkirk was a sorry sight as the 8uftwaffe $eci$e$ to 'go home'. The oil refinery
an$ storage tanks were ablaGe, the eastern mole virtually $estroye$, homes in the town hit by shrapnel an$ stray bombs
ha$ been $estroye$. The harbour was a graveyar$ of vessels with only protru$ing masts an$ funnels out of the water
in$icating their fate.
>lthough -ighter #omman$ ha$ engage$ the enemy over the Dunkirk region that $ay, at the time of the 8uftwaffe
onslaught on the port, many of the fighters ha$ returne$ for refueling an$ rearmament, an$ the 8uftwaffe time$ their
attack to perfection when there was minimum amount of 0ritish fighters on the scene. In fact there was so many 7erman
planes in the air, you coul$ be forgiven for not noticing any 9pitfires or 6urricanes. 0ut -ighter #omman$ suffere$ a
number of casualties on this $ay. -ifteen *>- fighters ha$ been shot $own, ten aircrew ha$ lost their lives, three Defiants
$estroye$, eight 6urricanes an$ three 9pitfires. Ane of the 9pitfires was from <( 9%ua$ron base$ at 6ornchurch. .ew
+ealan$er =IA >lan Deere ha$ "ust been given comman$ of a flight, an$ was sent back to the Dunkirk beaches for the thir$
time. 6e state$ that each time he flew over the port of Dunkirk, it was getting worse an$ worse. The oil tanks were ablaGe,
an thick palls of black smoke rose high into the air almost obliterating the port itself. 6e starte$ to get on the tail of a
Dornier Do'3J
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6-6t%%. &-'%s 6r*& D2.3-r34 Th2&0-./ a '-6t a., st%a'-./ a 0-8y8'%1 h% 6*r/%, h-s +ay
thr*2/h th% thr*./ *6 r%62/%%s1 a., 6-.a''y +a'3%, th% 'ast &-'%s t* th% 8a2s%+ay4 As h%
+a'3%, t* *.% *6 th% %(a82at-*. ,%str*y%rs1 h% +as st*))%, 0y a. a./ry ar&y &a;*r4
=I a& a. RAF O66-8%r1= sa-, th% 0%,ra//'%,1 r*2/h'y 0a.,a/%, D%%r%4 =I a& try-./ t* /%t
0a83 t* &y sH2a,r*. +h-8h -s *)%rat-./ *(%r h%r%4= =I ,*.=t /-(% a ,a&& +h* y*2 ar%=1
sh*2t%, th% &a;*r4 =F*r a'' th% /**, y*2 8ha)s s%%& t* 0% ,*-./1 y*2 &-/ht as +%'' stay
*. th% /r*2.,4= D%%r% %s8a)%, h-& a., &a,% h-s +ay t* th% +ar,r**& *6 th% ,%str*y%r1
t* 0% /r%%t%, 0y st*.y s-'%.8% 6r*& a thr*./ *6 ar&y *66-8%rs4
=Why s* 6r-%.,'y9= as3%, D%%r%4 =What ha(% th% RAF ,*.%9= =That=s ;2st -t=1 sa-, *.% *6 th%
=0r*+. ;*0s=4 =What ha(% th%y ,*.%9=
D%%r% a., h-s 8*''%a/2%s1 0-tt%r'y 8*.s8-*2s *6 th%-r *+. %:ha2st-*. a., '*ss%s1 +%r%
2.,%rsta.,a0'y a//r-%(%,4
L%. D%-/ht*. Batt'% *6 Br-ta-. 19$0 @*.ath*. Ca)%
>ll through the $ay of May 29th 1940, *amsey an$ his staff were ignorant of what was taking place over the #hannel.
*eports ha$ been ma$e to 8on$on that the evacuation was 'procee$ing smoothly, an$ approaching ma&imum efficiency,'
well that was the report sent to the @ar Affice at 1$22hrs. >t 1$2#hrs a wireless report from the $estroyer 6.M.9. 9abre
C*.t-.2*2s 0*&0-./ 6*r *.% a., a ha'6 h*2rs4 O.% ,%str*y%r s-.3-./1 *.% tra.s)*rt +-th
tr**)s *. 0*ar, ,a&a/%,4 !* ,a&a/% t* )-%r4 I&)*ss-0'% at )r%s%.t t* %&0ar3 &*r%
Then twenty five minutes later, another message, this time it state$ that Dunkirk 6arbour ha$ been completely blocke$,
an$ that all further evacuations must be carrie$ out from the beaches. In the Dynamo *oom, everyone was now getting
an&ious. @hat was the position, how ba$ is it really. The captains that ha$ returne$ from Dunkirk within the last twelve
hours confirme$ that Dunkirk was in a mess. *amsey telegraphe$ 7ort's hea$%uarters at 8a =anne to try to confirm
$amage $one by the enemy an$ that the harbour was blocke$. The answer was in the negative, but there was
confirmation that communications were in a shambles.
0y 212$hrs, >$miral *amsey coul$ take no chances, he
ra$ioe$ the temporary comman$ ship, the minesweeper
6.M.9. 6ebe an$ instructe$ them to intercept all personnel
ships approaching Dunkirk not to close harbour an$ to go
to :astern beach to collect troops from ships. 8ater, the
$estroyer 6.M.9. Ban%uisher ra$ioe$ that the entrance to
Dunkirk 6arbour was practicable, but there were a number
of obstructions on the outer si$e of the eastern arm.. The
night of May 29th7"0th, ha$ been a waste accor$ing to
some. It ha$ been a relatively %uiet night, an$ only about
half a $oGen vessels ha$ use$ the harbour, con$itions ha$ been near perfect. > night waste$, possibly '<, troops coul$
have been taken off. The truth was, three $estroyers ha$ been sunk, another si& ha$ been ba$ly $amage$, si& other
vessels ha$ been sunk an$ countless sol$iers ha$ been kille$, an$ *amsey's belief that (<, woul$ be save$ at Dunkirk,
was now taking on gigantic proportions as reports starte$ to flow in that there was anything up to ), sol$iers in an$
aroun$ Dunkirk.
:ven as the port of Dunkirk was swampe$ with thousan$s of sol$iers, an$ even more line$ the beaches, some in groups,
others in long lines that le$ $own to the sea, more an$ more were still making their way to Dunkirk. The -rench )n$ 8ight
MechaniGe$ Division was about to make its final with$rawal, the (th A&for$shire an$ the 0uckinghamshire 8ight Infantry
were annihilate$ near @atou, the )n$ 7loucester's ha$ been trappe$ in the heavy woo$s of 0ois 9aint >caire, the :ast
*i$ing 1eomanry ha$ been $ecimate$ in a minefiel$, some of the -rench that ha$ been hol$ing 8ille, were somehow
$esperately trying to get to Dunkirk as were those who ha$ trie$ in vain to hol$ #alais. 0ut $uring the afternoon of May
29th, the 7erman assault took a surprising turn. >n inspection of the area aroun$ Dunkirk saw the with$rawal of 7erman
=anGer Divisions an$ heavy artillery. The groun$ they sai$ was far from suitable for them. 9ome say that Dunkirk woul$
not have given them the slashing thrill of any ma"estic a$vance, all they were $oing was to push the >llies in retreat, they
now ha$ them on the run, running like woun$e$ $ogs with their tails between their legs, there was now no e&citement for
the =anGers. 0ut, that $i$ say that the 7ermans ha$ weakene$ their front. In fact, there was at least ten e&perience$
infantry $ivisions occupie$ the ,< mile perimeter of Dunkirk. 9am MeltGer a =rivate in the *oyal >rmy 9ervice #orps recalls
his e&perience on a Dunkirk beachJ
A))r*a8h-./ th% 0%a8h1 th%y +%r% sh%''-./ 2s 6r*& La Pa..% *. th% %ast a., th%y +%r%
sh%''-./ 2s 6r*& D2.3-r3 *. th% +%st4 O. th% 0%a8h -ts%'6 th%r% +%r% &ass%s *6 )%*)'%
'-.%, 2)4 Th% s&%'' I r%&%&0%r 7 -t +as &*st'y *6 0*,-%s +h-8h ha, 0%%. 'y-./ th%r%
2.02r-%,4 It +as a s&%'' *6 ,%ath a., *6 02r.-./4 Th%r% +as 0*&0-./ a., stra6-./ /*-./
*.1 *6 8*2rs%1 s* a6t%r a 6%+ ,ays a '*t *6 )%*)'% s*rt *6 tr-83'%, a+ay 6r*& th% 0%a8h%s4
Th%y 2s%, t* s8att%r a., ta3% r%62/% -. th% ,2.%s at a )'a8% 8a''%, Bray7D2.%s4 B2t th%
)'a8% t* 0%1 -6 y*2 +a.t%, t* /%t h*&%1 +as *. th% 0%a8h44444
444444I sh*2', 0% +a'3-./ *2t t* s%a1, *6 s8att%r-./4 Wh-8h I ,-,1 a., +as )-83%, 2)
a., ta3%. t* a '-tt'% sh-) 8a''%, th% Br-/ht*. B%''%1 +h-8h I 2s%, t* r-,% *. +h%. I +as a
Th% 02//%rs s2.3 -t1 +-th-. s-/ht *6 Mar/at%4 Th%y ,r*))%, a 0*&0 ,*+. th% 62..%'4
Or,%rs +%r% .*t t* s+-& ash*r%1 0%8a2s% *6 th% G**,+-. H2-83sa.,s4 Th% !a(y )-83%, 2s
2)D a., that +as +h%. I ,-, /%t a 0-t s8ar%,4 I ha, *. a Fr%.8h ;a83%t1 t* 3%%) +ar&4
Th%y )-83%, &% *2t *6 th% s%a a., a Br-t-sh sa-'*r sa-,1 A5%Bs a 0'%%,-.B Fr%.8h&a.I Thr*+
th% 0astar, 0a83 -.IB
Chr-st*)h%r S*&&%r(-''% O2r War W%-,%.6%', E !-8*'s*. 199$ ))4474#
:arlier in the $ay, the >$miralty ha$ $eci$e$ to with$raw eight of its $estroyers from CDynamoC, a move which $i$ not
please *amsey. .o plea$ing coul$ get them back, they were too valuable to be sub"ect to such a haGar$ous operation was
the message from the >$miralty, *amsey ha$ to make $o with what he ha$. -ifteen ol$er vessels, probably no loss to the
.avy if they were hit, but at least they coul$ carry men. > new man, *ear >$miral -re$erick @ake4@alker, an e&4
comman$er of the battleship *enown, an organiGer an$ a lea$er of men was poste$ to Dunkirk to organiGe operations from
that en$. 6ow many small vessels that were line$ up at 9heerness an$ *amsgate no4one knows, but all ha$ now been
briefe$, supplie$ or$ers, maps an$ a$vice on how to $eal with trouble, were now at the rea$y. >$miral *amsey was about
to sent 0ritain's most unusual navy across the #hannel.
May "0th 1940, it was late afternoon, an$ hun$re$s of large an$ small craft ha$ been given Cthe no$C to $epart from
*amsgate. There were passenger ferries, car ferries, large $ay trippers, fishing boats, tugs pulling lifeboats, cabin cruisers,
trawlers an$ $re$ges. :ven the >$miral 9uperinten$ents barge from =ortsmouth still with its fancy tassels was there. 9till
the 9mall Bessels =ool were recruiting whatever they coul$ fin$. >s the funny arma$a were crossing the #hannel, a )( foot
cabin cruiser was or$ere$ to 9heerness, the barge Tollesbury was on a cargo run up the Thames when a naval officer
or$ere$ a tug take her in tow an$ hea$ for 9heerness, the Margate lifeboat was or$ere$ $irect to *amsgate, the crew
learning of their new $uties while playing $arts in the pub. :very man must have hear$ that beckoning call as if it ha$
come from .elson to them personally. CI e&pect every man to $o his $uty.C 6ar$ly anyone refuse$ to man their boats,
even though they were tol$ that 'there may be a little $anger involve$.' :ven a seventeen year ol$ who was refuse$ to sail
with his cockle boat fleet from 8eigh4on49ea because he was too young, but he ran home an$ got his mothers permission,
the ro$e his bicycle to 9outhen$ to catch up with his boat. It appeare$ that every civilian involve$, was only too prou$ 'to
$o his $uty.'
An the way across, they passe$ larger vessels like $estroyers an$ large craft coming back
loa$e$ with sol$iers, an$ everyone stare$ in amaGement at the sight before their eyes.
W% sa+ th%s% s&a'' s)%83s )*))-./ a0*2t a'' *(%r th% )'a8%1
*.'y +h%. th%y /*t r%a' 8'*s% ,-, +% th%. r%a'-C% that th%y
+%r% s&a'' 0*ats1 s&a'' 0*ats -. th%-r h2.,r%,s /*-./ th%
*th%r +ay4 Th%. +% sa+ that a'' th%s% 8ra6t +%r% &a..%, 0y
8-(-'-a.s1 s*&% %(%. +%ar-./ tr-'0y hats a., s&art ;a83%ts4
Th%y +a(%, t* 2s as th%y )ass%, a., a.y*.% +*2', th-.3 that
th%y +%r% *. a S2.,ay 8r2-s% ,*+. t* W-.,s*r1 th%s% 6%''*+s
ha, .* -,%a as t* +hat +as at th% %., *6 th%-r ;*2r.%y4 A
8*2)'% *6 6%''*+s 0y th% ha.,ra-' /a(% th%& a 8h%%r1 a.,
s2,,%.'y ;2st a0*2t %(%ry s*',-%r *. *2r sh-) th%. /a(% thr%%
h%arty 8h%%rs '-6t-./ th%-r hats at th% sa&% t-&%4
R*0%rt T-%r.%y1 D*rs%t R%/-&%.t r%t2r.-./ 0a83 6r*& D2.3-r3
The "ourney across the #hannel was perfect, the calm of the last few $ays continue$, there was no win$, a perfect
stillness, but what was more appreciate$ was as $awn starte$ to break, a heavy mist lay on the waters of the #hannel,
giving the 8uftwaffe no hope of any rai$s as was e&perience$ the previous $ay. >t the hea$%uarters of the 8uftwaffe, they
were bathe$ in sunshine, a s%ua$ron of 9tukas left for Dunkirk, but returne$ within ten minutes reporting that you coul$
not even see Dunkirk. An the sea, the small arma$a was slowly making its way towar$s the -rench coast. 8ookouts woul$
see ob"ects an$ maybe calle$ out C....periscope port bowC, but it only turne$ out that it was a mast of a sunken ship. Many
thought that they coul$ see 7erman warships su$$enly appearing out of the thick mist, but it usually turne$ out to be "ust
one of the $estroyer escorts.
Fust after first light, the first of the little ships scrape$ their hulls up on the san$y beaches north an$ south of Dunkirk. .o
one waite$ to be counte$, every man trie$ $esperately to get aboar$, some pushe$ an$ shove$ or even pulle$ their mates
from the si$es of the boat, "ust so they coul$ get aboar$. :very small craft ha$ someone on it with authority, Cc'mon, wait
your turn, we'll be back for you shortly.C > number of very small craft capsiGe$ as sol$iers clambere$ ober the si$es, some
craft broke $own, the engines coul$ not stan$ up to the en$urance re%uire$ while others hit submerge$ ob"ects often
$oing serious $amage. There is the story of the motor launch 9ilver Hueen, trying to get back to :nglan$ without maps or
a compass. They became $isorientate$ an$ seeme$ to go roun$ in circles, then they sighte$ lan$ an$ ma$e for the
harbour. They were surprise$ when gun batteries on the shore starte$ to fire at them, they ha$ attempte$ to pull into
#alais. >long with another launch, the 1ser they trie$ to get away from the breakwater an$ someone on the 1ser fire$ a
very pistol that attracte$ an :nglish $estroyer who provi$e$ cover for them, as they escape$ the heavy guns. 0oth
$amage$, they limpe$ back to *amsgate, an$ the 9ilver Hueen, after all troops ha$ $isembarke$, slowly an$ graciously
The small ships returne$ time an$ time again to the beaches, always un$er fire from shore batteries taking tire$ an$
e&hauste$ troops to the larger vessels offshore, how many times they repeate$ this, no one knows, no one care$, no one
kept count. >s the weather cleare$, -ighter #omman$, operating from bases in 5ent kept the 8uftwaffe at bay, although
some manage$ to $rop bombs on the beaches. 0ut at last the plan was working. May "0th was the best $ay yet, thanks
to these civilian owners an$ their little boats, without them the operation coul$ not have been $one, time was running out.
Many briga$es, 0ritish an$ -rench were hol$ing the 7ermans at bay......."ust. )9,<') men ha$ been taken from the
beaches an$ ma$e the crossing back to :nglan$, an$ compare this with the ',, 3<) that ha$ been taken the previous $ay,
the small boats ha$ ma$e a $ifference. More ha$ been taken from the battere$ Dunkirk 6arbour, the actual total was
?p until now, reportage of the evacuations ha$ been kept %uiet, a blanket ban on ra$io an$ in newspapers ha$ been in
progress $uring the initial stages of CDynamoC, but now, as boatloa$s of troops arrive$ at *amsgate an$ Dover, hun$re$s
more were taken by train an$ coaches to 8on$on after being given me$ical attention an$ foo$ an$ a goo$ ol$ CcuppaC.
9tories now starte$ to flow from the newspaper presses, ra$io, $uring late afternoon gave an 'important announcement'
an$ soon, both ra$io an$ newspapers were $escribing the Dunkirk situation. D Document4'< E They arrive$, $irty, with oil
staine$ faces, torn an$ wet tunics, some still manage$ a smile, but even though they were now on home soil an$ safety,
they were e&hauste$, tire$ an$ rea$y to $rop. The 00#'s 0ernar$ 9tubbs $escribes the situationJ

Withdrawal from Dunkirk (May 1940)
Part 1
Withdrawal from Dunkirk (May 1940)
Part 2
0ack in -rance, 8or$ 7ort was $etermine$ that he woul$ stay until the en$. It was 8or$
Munster, arriving in 8on$on from the beaches of Dunkirk who broke the news to @inston
#hurchill, who was at the time in the tub.....taking a bath. #hurchill,
knowing that whether you may be sitting $own, laying $own or
taking a bath, anytime was a goo$ time to $o business. 6e was
appalle$ at Munster's report. #hurchill took the briefing from 8or$
Munster, then afterwar$s, at a meeting with >nthony :$en, Dill an$
=ownall, issue$ an or$er to 7ort in his own han$J
I6 +% 8a. st-'' 8*&&2.-8at% +% sha'' s%., y*2
a. *r,%r t* r%t2r. t* E./'a., +-th s28h
*66-8%rs as y*2 &ay 8h**s% at th% &*&%.t
+h%. +% ,%%& y*2r 8*&&a., s* r%,28%, that
-t 8a. 0% ha.,%, *(%r t* a 8*r)s 8*&&a.,%r4
>*2 sh*2', .*+ .*& th-s 8*&&a.,%r4 I6
8*&&2.-8at-*.s ar% 0r*3%.1 y*2 ar% t* ha.,
*(%r a., r%t2r. as s)%8-6-%, +h%. y*2r
%66%8t-(% 6-/ht-./ 6*r8% ,*%s .*t %:8%%, th% %H2-(a'%.t *6 thr%%
,-(-s-*.s4 Th-s -s -. a88*r,a.8% +-th 8*rr%8t &-'-tary )r*8%,2r%1
a., .* )%rs*.a' ,-s8r%t-*. -s '%6t y*2 -. th% &att%r4
C*&&2.-H2K 6r*& Pr-&% M-.-st%r*. Ch2r8h-'' t* L*r, G*rt May "0th 1940
7ort rea$ the communi%uK out lou$ to a 76H conference. #omman$er of I #orps 7eneral 0arker was present, as was
Ma"or 7eneral 0ernar$ Montgomery who now comman$e$ II #orps an$ 7eneral 0rooke. 8or$ 7ort lai$ $own the final plans
for the evacuation. I #orps woul$ be the last to make the evacuation, an$ 7eneral 0arker woul$ take over from 7ort, as
instructe$ by #hurchill. >t the completion of the meeting, Montgomery calle$ 8or$ 7ort asi$e as the others left. CIt woul$
be a mistake, 9ir, if you leave 0arker in charge to the en$. 6is authority an$ "u$gment is waning, he is no longer fit to
comman$.C 7ort aske$ him if he ha$ any suggestions regar$ing who shoul$ comman$ I #orps. CI believe that 0arker
shoul$ be sent home, an$ I suggest the 'st Division comman$er, Ma"or 7eneral 6arol$ >le&an$er, he is calm in a crisis,
has a clear min$ an$ with a bit of luck, may even get the rearguar$ back safely to :nglan$.C 8or$ 7ort was noncommittal,
but he hear$ Montgomery out.
May "1st 1940, an$ =rime Minister #hurchill arrive$ in =aris for a meeting with the >llie$ 9upreme @ar #ouncil. Marshal
=etain was there, so was 7eneral @eygan$ as was the >llie$ 7eneral Dill. >t the meeting, #hurchill e&plaine$ the success
of Dunkirk, an$ informe$ the meeting that so far, '/<, men ha$ been lifte$ out of Dunkirk. 7eneral @eygan$ then
aske$ C0ut how many -renchLC #hurchill new that the answer woul$ be an embarrassment, an$ cleverly turne$ the
conversation aroun$. They $iscusse$ the .orwegian situation, an$ the $emise in 6ollan$ an$ belgium, but the Dunkirk
%uestion lay unanswere$, an$ @eygan$ brought the matter up again. #hurchill e&plaine$ that out of the '/<,
evacuate$, only '<, were -rench, an$ trie$ to e&plain that the ma"ority of the rear guar$ troops an$ were alrea$y in or
close to Dunkirk, the -rench were far wi$ely scattere$ an$ ha$ farther to come, but as they get closer to Dunkirk, we shall
evacuate them also.
*eynau$ interrupte$. CThe facts are,C he state$, Cthat out of the 0ritish )), troops, '<, of them have been
rescue$, of the ), -rench, only '<, have been save$. 9omething has to be $one to evacuate more -rench
troops.C #hurchill went on to say that it ha$ been arrange$ that three 0ritish $ivisions woul$ stay in Dunkirk an$ stan$ by
the -rench until the evacuation was complete. > $raft was ma$e for a telegram to >$miral >brial at 0astion ,), a -rench
garrison, $escribing the $ecisions of the council an$ that the 0ritish woul$ $epart from Dunkirk first.
#hurchill ha$ hel$ his composure as best he coul$ for a long time, but on hearing the $raft he pushe$ himself up an$ the
tone of his voice increase$ an octave or two, C.onMC.....C.onM =artage 4 bras4$essus, bras4$essusMC Then with $ramatic
gestures he acte$ out an arm4in4arm $eparture. 0ut he was not finishe$, he was now emotionally carrie$ away an$
announce$ that the remaining 0ritish troops woul$ form the rear guar$, an$ C9o few -rench have got out so far.......I will
not accept further sacrifices by the -rench.C
An the beaches, evacuations were continuing from 8a =anne to 0ray Dunes, an$ the small boats were still continuing with
their task, not one civilian ha$ any thought of giving up, only a boat malfunction woul$ sent him back to Dover. 6our after
hour, the same ol$ ritual was going on over an$ over again, getting men off the beaches, patching up any woun$s,
provi$ing a small amount of foo$, enough to see them back to :nglan$. 0ut such a task, woul$ not be without inci$ent,
an$ from the won$erful writings of @alter 8or$ I must %uote a fewJ
The story of an army private pulling himself into a small rowboatN
"W%''1 &y '283y 'a,1 8a. y*2 r*+9" a sa-'*r /r%%t%, Pr-(at% P%r8y >*r3% *6 th% 14#th F-%',
A&02'a.8%1 as h% t2&0'%, -.t* a 0*at4 "!*9 W%'' .*+=s th% t-&% t* 0'**,y +%'' '%ar.4"
>*r3% '%ar.%, 0y ,*-./1 a., &a.a/%, t* r%a8h th% %:82rs-*. st%a&%r Pr-.8%ss E'-Ca0%th4
Then the story about a ships stewar$, who wante$ to be recogniGe$N
Ma;*r E4R4!a..%y Wy..1 "r, D-(-s-*. S-/.a's1 r%a8h%, th% %., *6 th% ;%tty a., )%%r%,
,*+. at a +a-t-./ &*t*r +ha'%r4 Ma..-./ -t1 -&)r*0a0'y1 +as a sh-)s st%+ar,1
-&&a82'at% -. h-s sh*rt +h-t% ;a83%t4 It +as a'&*st '-3% /*-./, IIII
>n$ can always make use of $iscar$e$ items on the beachN
Oth%r tr**)s &a,% 2s% *6 th% /r*+-./ &*2.ta-. *6 ,%0r-s that '-tt%r%, th% 0%a8h%s4
Pr-(at% C4!4B%..%tt *6 th% #th !*rtha&)t*.sh-r%=s 8a&% a8r*ss a ,-s8ar,%, ar&y 0*at
&a,% *6 8a.(as4 It +as ,%s-/.%, t* 8arry s-: &%. a8r*ss a r-(%rD .*+ t%. &%. ;2&)%,
-.t* -t a., h%a,%, *2t a8r*ss th% s%a4 Us-./ th%-r r-6'%s as )a,,'%s1 th%y h*)%, t* /%t t*
E./'a.,4 It +as ;2st as +%'' a &*t*r 'a2.8h s)*tt%, th%& a., t**3 th%& t* th% ,%str*y%r
an$ you woul$ think a 0riga$ier woul$ know betterN
Br-/a,-%r @*h. G4S&yth1 8*&&a.,-./ th% 127th I.6a.try Br-/a,%1 ra''-%, .-.%t%%. &%.
ar*2., a 0-/ sh-)s '-6%0*at stra.,%, +%'' 2) *. th% 0%a8h4 A h%a(y1 02'3y th-./1 -t
r%H2-r%, a'' th%-r str%./th t* sh*(% -t ,*+. t* th% +at%r4 E(%. th%. th%-r tr*20'%s +%r%.=t
*(%rL -t +as a s-:t%%. *ar%, 0*at1 a., .*t *.% *6 S&yth=s r%8r2-ts 8*2', r*+4
Th%y sh*(%, *66 a.yh*+1 +-th S&yth at th% t-''%r a., th% &%. at th% *ars4 A6t%r a 6%+
str*3%s th% "8r%+" 0%/a. 6a''-./ *(%r 0a83+ar,sD th% *ars +%r% ta./'%, 2)D a., th% 0*at
+as t2r.-./ -. 8raCy 8-r8'%s4 As h% 'at%r r%8a''%,1 "W% &2st ha(% '**3%, '-3% a.
-.t*:-8at%, 8%.t-)%,%4"
Th%r% 8*2',.=t ha(% 0%%. a +*rs% t-&% -. /-(-./ a '%ss*. -. 0as-8 r*+-./4 Th% L26t+a66%
8h*s% a &*&%.t t* sta/% *.% *6 -ts ra-,s1 a., th% Br-/a,-%r=s -.str28t-*.s +%r%
)2.8t2at%, 0y /2.6-r%1 %:)'*,-./ 0*&0s1 a., /%ys%rs *6 +at%r4 Th% &%. tr-%, a/a-.1 th-s
t-&% +-th S&yth sh*2t-./ *2t th% str*3%1 "O.%7t+*1 -.7*2tI" Th% 8r%+ 8a2/ht *.1 a., th%
0*at &*(%, st%a,-'y t*+ar,s a +a-t-./ ,%str*y%r4 Th%y %(%. &a,% a r%a' ra8% *2t *6 -t1
0%at-./ a. *(%r'*a,%, &*t*r 'a2.8h 8arry-./ th%-r ,-(-s-*. 8*&&a.,%r4IIII
Wa't%r L*r, Th% M-ra8'% *6 D2.3-r3 19$2 <-3-./ Pr%ss ))1$J71$7
>long the beach at Malo4les40ains "ust to the north of Dunkirk, more an$ more of the -rench sol$iers were evi$ent. >t
about 1J00hrs, the motor yacht Marsayru ha$ arrive$ from 9heerness. >bout ( -rench were lifte$ before she $eparte$
for :nglan$. > little north, an$ the *oyal navy's minesweepers ha$ picke$ up about ,< -rench. Ather boats continue$ to
lift both 0ritish an$ -rench sol$iers from the beaches. Mingling amongst them were 0elgians, a few Dutch, *>- pilots that
ha$ been shot $own over the beaches an$ a number of men in civilian clothes, who they were nobo$y knows. Maybe
sol$ers who ha$ been given clothes by hospitable -rench househol$s, or "ust civilians hitching a ri$e. 9ome boats lifte$ up
to ( or < men, others, because of their siGe, took only ( or fifty, but what $i$ it matter, as long as they went back to
:nglan$ full. That was the whole purpose of the operation.
The Massey 9haw, a 8on$on fire4boat brought back /< men, other boats were fille$ to capacity, an$ an o$$ assortment of
craft venture$ to an$ fro across the #hannel. Aften a $estroyer woul$ signal a vessel who ha$ to i$entify herself, with
repercussions that it woul$ be blown out of the water if they $i$ not respon$. 0ut I $o not think that the *oyal .avy woul$
be so cruel. >fter all, many of the skippers were 9un$ay $rivers, or cockle boats, Thames tugs an$ so on, what woul$ they
know about signaling, especially at night.
May "1st was one of the busiest $ays of the CDunkirk 9huttle 9erviceC, an$ one mi$shipman was 'pulle$ over the coals'
for not atten$ing his $uty, he was fascinate$ by some of the o$$ names of some of these boats. .aia$ :rrant, 9wallow, 9t
#y, 9un BI, 0en an$ 8ucy, Moss *ose, 9kylark, =ri$e of -olkestone, Aur 8iGGie, @illie an$ >lice, an$ a long flat thing with
no name which was possibly a cement carrier known only as 9heerness 1ar$ #raft .o. /,. During the $ay, the *oyal .avy
must have release$ a few $estroyers back into CDynamoC. There seeme$ to be more of them than usual. There was the
Malcolm, 0ourras%ue (-rench!, 9abre, 5eith, 0asilisk, Ivanhoe, -ou$royant (-rench!, @orcester, @in$sor, 6avant, 9hikari,
@hitehall, Berity an$ Benomous.
The Malcolm ma$e two trips to the Dunkirk beaches, one at 02"0hrs an$ another at 14"0hrs, an$ each time she lifte$
', men an$ took them back to :nglan$. 9he was to repeat this performance the ne&t $ay. The "1st saw /2,'( troops
arrive back in :nglan$ an$ of these, ',2() were -rench. Most of the $ay, the beaches were un$er heavy shellfire from the
7ermans. If this alone $i$ not present any problems for the evacuation, constant bombar$ment from the 8uftwaffe $i$.
9till Dow$ing was using -ighter #omman$ with utmost care, with selecte$ s%ua$rons $oing their usual patrols at specifie$
times. 0ut, outnumbere$, they still score$ many victories an$ at the en$ of the $ay the 8uftwaffe lost more aircraft than
the *>-. )', 6urricane 9%ua$ron lost five aircraft that $ay an$ two of its pilots were kille$. /9 9pitfire 9%ua$ron lost
three aircraft an$ two of its pilots. )/( Defiant 9%ua$ron lost three aircraft, one was shot $own by a 0f'9 while the other
two crashe$ into each other an$ all four crewmen escape$ in"ury.
@2'y 1st 1940 $awne$, an$ the previous night ha$ been a busy one. .early 2, ha$ been lifte$ from the beaches,
although to look once again towar$s the -rench coast, one coul$ not help thinking that the evacuation ha$ yet to begin.
8ong columns of sol$iers create$ long %ueues $own to the waters e$ge, an$ there were ma$ scramble to get onto the
small boats, some capsiGing un$er the sheer weight, others almost heaving over to one si$e as far too many trie$ to
clamber aboar$ on only one si$e of the boat. Ance full, a "ourney to any of the larger ships offshore was a "ourney that
most of them ha$ $one countless times before over these last few $ays.
>s first light broke, an$ the $ay blossome$ towar$s a perfect $ay, but then that $epen$e$ as to who's si$e you were on.
The fine weather allowe$ the 7erman bombers to easily fin$ an$ pick their targets, often with great success, but to those
below, the ships an$ their crews an$ the sol$iers trying $esperately to get to the ships, they woul$ have preferre$ the fog
of the previous $ay.
>ir Marshall 6ugh Dow$ing altere$ his combat plan on @2.% 1st. 6e arrange$ that most of the patrols over the beach
area woul$ be $one between 07"0hrs an$ 0$#0hrs a time when the 8uftwaffe seeme$ to be in their greatest numbers.
>fter that at hourly intervals, a number of s%ua$rons woul$ be $oing their normal patrols until "ust before $arkness when
heavier an$ more concentrate$ patrols woul$ return.
-lying Afficer 7or$on 9inclair was with '9 9%ua$ron flying 9pitfires. Dunkirk to him on @2.% 1st was not new as he ha$
seen operation over the beaches on May )/th when he flew two patrols as 7reen 9ection 8ea$er $estroying an 0f'9 on
each. The first patrol was flown over Dunkirk at 091# h*2rs. The secon$ patrol was carrie$ out at '/ hours, again over
Dunkirk an$ again 9inclair was 7reen 9ection lea$er, $etaile$ to provi$e top cover. An @2.% 1st he again flew two patrols
over Dunkirk. 6e $estroye$ two 0f''s on the first an$ on the later patrol $amage$ a 6einkel 6e''' an$ a Dornier Do)'<.
6is first patrol was carrie$ out at 0#4# h*2rs.
MI +as 6'y-./ +-th 19 SH2a,r*. as Gr%%. L%a,%r *. )atr*' -. th% D2.3-r3 ar%a +h%.1 at
0#40 h*2rs a))r*:-&at%'y1 +% s-/ht%, 1# B6109s at a0*2t th% sa&% h%-/ht as *2rs%'(%s4
B'2% L%a,%r *r,%r%, &% t* r%&a-. -. '-.% ast%r. 6*r&at-*.1 +h-8h I ,-,4 Th% B6110s
8'-&0%, -.t* 8'*2,1 02t a'&*st at *.8% 8a&% ,*+. a/a-. a., +% atta83%,4 I sa+ *.% *.
&y )*rt 0*+ s* I %./a/%, h-&1 6-r-./ at a0*2t 200 yar,s -. 62'' ,%6'%8t-*.4 5-s )*rt
%./-.% -&&%,-at%'y 8a2/ht 6-r%1 h% s-,%7s'-))%, (-*'%.t'y -.t* th% /r*2., a., 02rst -.t*
6'a&%s4 I th%. +as at a0*2t 11000 6%%t a., sa+ a.*th%r B6110 6'y-./ -.'a.,4 I t2r.%,
*.t* h-& a., 8has%, h-&1 s%%-./ a.*th%r S)-t6-r% a0*(% &% a., t* )*rt4 W% 8has%, th%
B6110 a0*2t 2 &-'%s -.'a., at a0*2t #0 6%%t41 +-th a '*t *6 tra8%r 8*&-./ *2t1 02t th-s
st*))%, +h%. I *)%.%, 6-r%4 5% th%. ,-(%, -.t* th% /r*2., a., 02rst -.t* 6'a&%s4N
W-./ C*&&a.,%r G*r,*. S-.8'a-r -. a. -.t%r(-%+ +-th Er.-% B2rt*. FB*B 5-st*r-a.G
The increase in patrols by -ighter #omman$ involve$ 17 SH2a,r*. F52rr-8a.%sOD%0,%.G1 19 SH2a,r*.
FS)-t6-r%sO5*r.8h2r8hG1 41 SH2a,r*. FS)-t6-r%sO5*r.8h2r8hG1 4" SH2a,r*. F52rr-8a.%sO!*rth*'tG1 #4
SH2a,r*.O5*r.8h2r8h1 J4 SH2a,r*. FS)-t6-r%sO%.'%yG1 J# SH2a,r*. FS)-t6-r%sO5*r.8h2r8hG 74 SH2a,r*.
FS)-t6-r%sO5*r.8h2r8hG 14# SH2a,r*. F52rr-8a.%sOTa./&%r%G1 222 SH2a,r*. FS)-t6-r%sO5*r.8h2r8hG1 24#
SH2a,r*. F52rr-8a.%sO5a+3-./%G1 J09 SH2a,r*. FS)-t6-r%sO!*rth*'tG1 J1J SH2a,r*. FS)-t6-%sOR*8h6*r,G. In
all, ' pilots of -ighter #omman$ were kille$, ) were taken prisoner, ' sustaine$ serious burns an$ ( were $eeme$ safe
after crashing their planes. > total of '3 aircraft were $estroye$.
The gallantry of all concerne$ was the same as the previous $ay, an$ the $ay before that. :very boat ha$ its own story to
tell, every sol$ier coul$ spen$ hours telling of his e&periences of how he got to Dunkirk, how he waite$ an$ waite$ on the
beaches, an$ how he finally ma$e it home. In fact, there woul$ be half a million in$ivi$ual stories that coul$ come out of
the Dunkirk operations. (far too many for this web site MMM!
An @2'y 1st 1940, /(,()9 >llie$ troops ha$ been lifte$ from Dunkirk, miraculously (3,2' ha$ been taken from the port
of Dunkirk itself, an$ of these, ,<,', were -rench. >t last, #hurchill coul$ present some figures to =aris without any
embarrassment. 0ut although on paper, the figures looke$ goo$, there were still ',9, troops in an$ aroun$ Dunkirk
which comprise$ ,9, 0ritish an$ ', -rench. 7eneral >le&an$er in Dunkirk, was $etermine$ to get the 0.:.- home,
but he ha$ to have more time, time that was in reality running out. The 0ritish were hol$ing the =erimeter, but for how
long, an$ at what stage woul$ the >$miralty 'pull the plug' on Dynamo.
>le&an$er cable$ 8on$on of his plight, he wante$ to e&ten$ the evacuations through the night of @2.% 2., an$ "r,.
8on$on ha$ to be notifie$, so that they coul$ keep the ships coming. 0ut, unaware of the full situation, neither the
>$miralty or the @ar Affice coul$ make any firm $ecisions. >t 1$41hrs on @2'y 1st, 7eneral Dill in 8on$on cable$
W% ,* .*t *r,%r a.y 6-:%, &*&%.t 6*r %(a82at-*.4 >*2 ar% t* h*', *. as '*./ as )*ss-0'%
-. *r,%r that th% &a:-&2& .2&0%r *6 Fr%.8h a., Br-t-sh &ay 0% %(a82at%,4 I&)*ss-0'%
6r*& h%r% t* ;2,/% '*8a' s-t2at-*.4 I. 8'*s% 8*7*)%rat-*. +-th A,&-ra' A0r-a' y*2 &2st a8t
-. th-s &att%r *. y*2r *+. ;2,/&%.t4
G%.%ra' D-'' t* G%.%ra' A'%:a.,%r @2.% 1st 1940
>le&an$er coul$ now call the tune, at least through to "r, @2'y. If the 0ritish coul$ hol$ the perimeter, it coul$ be $one. If
the 7ermans broke through an$ pushe$ all the troops to the #hannel, all woul$ be lost. The perimeter must be hel$ at all
9lowly, >llie$ troops in some way or other may for Dunkirk, as thousan$s of others ha$ $one
over the previous three or four $ays. The )n$ #ol$stream 7uar$s were hol$ing a line along
0ergues4-urnes #anal, the 'st :ast 8ancashire *egiment were also along the canal, but east
of 0ergues. -urther along to the left was the <th 0or$erers. An the other si$e of the canal
was a party of the 7erman infantry an$ about mi$$ay they manage$ to cross the canal. 9o
$esperate was the situation in relation to hol$ing the perimeter, even officers were
threatene$ shoul$ they $isobeyJ
A. *66-8%r 6r*& th% B*r,%r%rs h2rr-%, *(%r t* Ma;*r M8C*rH2*,a'%=s 8*&&a., )*st t*
+ar. that h-s 0atta'-*. +as %:ha2st%, a., a0*2t t* +-th,ra+4
"I *r,%r y*2 t* stay )2t a., 6-/ht -t *2t1" th% Ma;*r a.s+%r%,4
">*2 8a..*t ,* that4 I ha(% *(%rr-,-./ *r,%rs 6r*& &y 8*'*.%' t* +-th,ra+ +h%. I th-.3
M8C*rH2*,a'% sa+ .* )*-.t -. ar/2-./L ">*2 s%% that 0-/ )*)'ar tr%% *. th% r*a, +-th th%
+h-t% &-'%st*.% 0%h-., -t9 Th% &*&%.t y*21 *r a.y *6 y*2r &%. /* 0a83 0%y*., that
tr%%1 +% +-'' sh**t y*24"
Th% *66-8%r a/a-. )r*t%st%,1 02t th% Ma;*r ha, ha, %.*2/h4 "G%t 0a83 *r I +-'' sh**t y*2
.*+ a., s%., *.% *6 &y *66-8%rs t* ta3% 8*&&a.,4"
Th% B*r,%r%r +%.t *661 a., M8C*rH2*,a'% t2r.%, t* La./'%y FLt @-&&y La./'%y *6 th%
2., C*',str%a& G2ar,sG1 sta.,-./ .%ar0yL " G%t a r-6'%4 S-/hts at 2#04 >*2 +-'' sh**t t*
3-'' th% &*&%.t h% )ass%s that tr%%4 Ar% y*2 8'%ar9"
M8C*rH2*,a'% )-83%, 2) a r-6'% h-&s%'61 a., th% t+* C*',str%a&%rs sat +a-t-./1 /2.s
tra-.%, *. th% tr%%4 S**. th% B*r,%r%r r%a))%ar%, .%ar th% tr%% +-th t+* *6 h-s &%.4
Th%y )a2s%,1 th%. th% *66-8%r &*(%, *. )ast M8C*rH2*,a'%=s ,%a,'-.%4 Th% t+* r-6'%s
8ra83%, at th% sa&% -.sta.t4 Th% *66-8%r 6%''1 a., La./'%y .%(%r 3.%+ +h-8h *.% *6 th%&
/*t h-&4
Wa't%r L*r, Th% M-ra8'% *6 D2.3-r3 19$2 <-3-./ Pr%ss )2"2
The #ol$stream's an$ the :ast 8ancs hel$ on till $usk. -or the time being, the 7ermans were still on the opposite si$e of
the canal. >s Darkness fell, it was time for the 0ritish to with$raw. The #ol$stream's, the :ast 8ancs, )n$ 6ampshire's,
<,r$ -iel$ *egiment all starte$ on the roa$ towar$s Dunkirk. The -rench ,)n$ Infantry Division an$ the ')th Division
with$rew towar$s the 0elgian frontier an$ covere$ the eastern flank of the perimeter, an$ with the /2th Division hol$ing
the western flank, the whole perimeter was now hel$ by -rench troops. This was %uite in$ifferent to what #hurchill ha$
tol$ *eynou$ in =aris that the 0ritish woul$ form a rearguar$ enabling the -rench to evacuate. The position now was that
the 0ritish were making for Dunkirk while the -rench were forming the rearguar$. Throughout the night of @2.% 1st an$
2.,, other 0ritish starte$ to converge on Dunkirk, the <th 7reen 6owar$'s, the /th Durham 8ight Infantry, the 99th -iel$
*egiment, an$ the 'st an$ /th :ast 9urrey *egiments.
0y the time they got to either the east mole, or to Malo4les40ains, there was %ueues of men, four or five abreast lea$ing
$own from the pave$ promena$e to the waters e$ge an$ in many cases out into the water where men stoo$ with water
lapping at their shoul$ers. There was $isappointment went men were tol$ Csorry, this one full, one's coming as soon as we
pull out.C >n$ even further $isappointment as $arkness gave way to the early morning light, C 9orry, we have to pull out
now, c'mon.....let go, you there...let go I sai$, we will be back tonight.C It ha$ been $eci$e$ that evacuations were not
possible $uring the hours of $aylight. :very man, every ship woul$ be a target for the 8uftwaffe, an$ the authorities were
not going to give them that pleasure.
444444444a0*2t 41000 Br-t-sh +-th s%(%. a.t-7a-r8ra6t /2.s a., 12 a.t-7ta.3 /2.s r%&a-.%,
+-th th% 8*.s-,%ra0'% Fr%.8h 6*r8%s h*',-./ th% 8*.tra8t-./ )%r-&%t%r *6 D2.3-r34
E(a82at-*. +as .*+ *.'y )*ss-0'% -. ,ar3.%ss1 a., A,&-ra' PS-r B%rtra& 5*&%Q Ra&s%y
,%t%r&-.%, t* &a3% a &ass%, ,%s8%.t *. th% har0*2r that .-/ht +-th a'' h-s a(a-'a0'%
r%s*2r8%s4 B%s-,%s t2/s a., s&a'' 8ra6t1 44 sh-)s +%r% s%.t that %(%.-./ 6r*& E./'a.,
-.8'2,-./ 11 ,%str*y%rs a., 14 &-.%s+%%)%rs4 F*rty Fr%.8h a., B%'/-a. (%ss%'s a's*
)art-8-)at%,4*. Ch2r8h-'' Th%-r F-.%st 5*2r 1949 Cass%'' E C*4
Despite the change to night evacuation, there was no let up for -ighter or 0omber #omman$s. 9%ua$rons of -ighter
#omman$ attacke$ 7erman lines "ust outsi$e the perimeter assisting the -rench that were still able to hol$. 0omber
#omman$ sent in 0lenheims an$ @ellingtons a little further afiel$ slowing $own any a$vancing 7erman support troops,
an$ surprisingly recor$e$ not a single loss over three $ays of operations. -ighter #omman$'s losses have been shown
earlier, but their part was all important, especially when one consi$ers that they only ha$ ten to fifteen minutes over the
target area.
An the morning of @2.% 2., 1940, all ships were firmly tie$ up at the ports of Dover, *amsgate an$ a couple of other
south coast ports. *amsey ha$ watche$ the situation of the last few $ays closely an$ coul$ see that the Dunkirk perimeter
was shrinking all the time. >t a meeting in the Dynamo *oom, he announce$ that the coming evening was to be the last
chance that they woul$ have of successfully lifting the remaining troops off. >n all out effort has to be ma$e. 6e
emphasiGe$ that to be able to control the evacuation on this final night, there must be absolute control an$ $iscipline.
CTonight,C he sai$, Cwill be a mass operation.C >ll troops were to leave from the harbour at Dunkirk, there woul$ be no
lifting off from any of the beaches. >lthough there were success from the beaches, the operation was slow an$
$isorganiGe$. -ar more control coul$ be sustaine$ from the moles an$ the "etties at Dunkirk 6arbour itself. The only
e&ception woul$ be the -rench, who using their own ships woul$ use the beach at Malo4les40ains "ust east of the mole an$
"ust below the casino, an$ also the west pier by the outer harbour. The slow vessels are to leave here from 1700hrs
onwar$s an$ they shoul$ be at their embarkation positions rea$y to leave by 2100hrs "ust as the faster vessels woul$ be
arriving. >ll $eparture times will be staggere$ an$ ships will leave at regular intervals $epen$ing on their siGe an$ spee$.
6e mentione$ that he still ha$ a full compliment of ships even though they ha$ suffere$ many casualties, an$ any ship that
was not 'O fit shoul$ stay behin$, or if any minor repairs ha$ to be carrie$ out that $ay the skippers ha$ to make sure
that their vessel was in perfect running or$er an$ confi$ent that they coul$ see the night through.
Th-s &%ssa/% -s t* -.6*r& y*2 a'' that th% 6-.a' %(a82at-*. -s sta/%, 6*r t*.-/ht1 a., th%
+h*'% .at-*. '**3s t* th% !a(y t* s%% th-s thr*2/h4 I +a.t %(%ry sh-) t* r%)*rt as s**. as
)*ss-0'% +h%th%r sh% -s 6-t a., r%a,y t* &%%t th% 8a'' +h-8h has 0%%. &a,% *. *2r
8*2ra/% a., %.,2ra.8%4
A,&-ra' B%rtra& Ra&s%y t* 8a)ta-.s a., s3-))%rs *6 th% 6'%%t 10#2hrs @2.% 1st 1940
9ome crews were to make ob"ections known. They ha$ ha$ enough, many felt that their ships, large an$ unarme$ were
too much of a target for the 8uftwaffe an$ the safety of the sol$iers (an$ the crew! woul$ be at risk. 0ut they were tol$ in
no uncertain terms that the whole operation from $ay one ha$ been a risk, an$ whatever crewman stan$s $own will be
$ealt with an$ the vesselN woul$ receive replacements. 0ut the first of the small ships left on time at 1700hrs precisely.
-irst were the fishing boats an$ tugs. .e&t came a number of skoots, followe$ by yachts, cruisers, steamers, pleasure
craft, large trawlers an$ faster pleasure craft. Ance they were clear, the faster packets an$ steamers, ferries,
minesweepers an$ a few motor torpe$o boats. 8ast to leave were the eleven $estroyers.
>t about 20"0hrs, wor$ came through that a number of 0ritish troops were trappe$ on the eastern beaches an$ the
skoots, on arrival at the port were $iverte$ to pick them up. >t the en$ of east mole, #aptain Tennant's chief assistant took
up position with lou$hailer, an$ acte$ like a maritime Ctraffic copC $irecting the boats to their berths or wherever they were
re%uire$. Ane by one, the small boats $eparte$ fille$ to capacity, an$ as they left, the ferries an$ larger pleasure steamers
began loa$ing. 9kippers were re%ueste$ to get as many men as possible on boar$. Most men ha$ to stan$, some were
allowe$ to sit, but by stan$ing more troops coul$ be accommo$ate. Three men carrying a stretcher on which a woun$e$
comra$e lay, were tol$ that unless the woun$e$ man coul$ stan$ he woul$ not be allowe$ aboar$, the stretcher woul$
take up room that coul$ be occupie$ by four or five able bo$ie$ men. 9ome manage$ to get aboar$, other stan$ing troops
supporting the woun$e$, but others, too ba$ly woun$e$ ha$ to be turne$ back.
0y 2200hrs, the strange assortment of vessels ha$ been loa$e$ an$ were on their way back towar$s :nglan$, everything
was going to plan an$ the $estroyers starte$ to take up positions on the mole. The $estroyers 9hikari an$ 9abre were
among the first to take on troops. >gain the or$er was for every man to stay in the stan$ing position so that the ma&imum
number of sol$iers coul$ be taken on boar$. The 9abre manage$ to start taking on stretcher cases an$ woun$e$, the
$estroyer Benomous was loa$e$ with so many men that she almost capsiGe$. >t 22"0hrs, it appeare$ that the last of the
sol$iers ha$ been lifte$, the @inchelsea was loa$e$ with mostly -rench troops, an$ it ha$ appeare$ that there were no
more 0ritish aroun$. > MT0 was or$ere$ to investigate the canals an$ wharves for anyone who may be lagging behin$. It
was an eerie task, the 7erman shells were still hammering away at the port, buil$ings were burning, e&plosions coul$ be
hear$, $ense smoke lay over the town. @as the evacuation complete, in Dunkirk it appeare$ so.
0y 011#hrs on @2.% "r,, a message was sent back to :nglan$, C=lenty of ships, cannot get troops.C Those in charge on
the mole $iscusse$ the situation, '.....there must be more, they must be up on the beaches.' > search was ma$e of the
beaches to the west an$ to the left. Time now was running out, the first light of $ay woul$ be in a few hours. The pa$$le
steamer Ariole foun$ a crow$ of poilus, the captain beckone$ them aboar$ after learning that they woul$ only un$erstan$
french. Ather ships searche$, The Tynwal$, The >lbury, the >utocarrier an$ even the $estroyers :&press, #o$$ington an$
Malcolm, but no -rench coul$ be foun$, lou$hailers were use$, many almost plea$ing for anybo$y to come aboar$.
9u$$enly, su$$enly a large group was seen at Huai -eli& -aure about half a mile insi$e the harbour. There was a number
of %uays an$ piers insi$e, but how $eep was the water to allow any large ship in there, an$ turning room was another
problem. The steamer *ouen ma$e an attempt, but only to run agroun$. It was not worth the risk of trying anymore. The
call went out for small ships, an$ 1orkshire 8ass respon$e$ making her way up the inner harbour an$ rescue$ some '
Ather small ships arrive$ an$ all were or$ere$ to check an$ search all waterways within the port an$ harbour. The mission
was a $angerous one. 0uil$ings an$ wharves e&plo$e$ almost at waters e$ge as they were hit by 7erman shells. >long the
%uays, < -rench were foun$ here, ' were foun$ there, in an$ out the waterways they went soun$ing short blasts on
their horns. > few 0ritish were foun$, obviously lost an$ $isorientate$, a number of poilus were foun$ an$ taken aboar$.
9ome of the vessels bumpe$ into each other, the 6aig receiving a large hole, but it was above the waterline an$ presente$
no imme$iate $anger. More small ships plucke$ about '< 4 ) from the beaches. Then wor$ came through, the -rench
Divisions were still fighting a rearguar$ all roun$ the perimeter.
The ')th Division was still hol$ing the eastern flank, the ',3th Infantry were managing to hol$ back the centre while the
/2th was miraculously hol$ing back a $ivision of =anGers. >s the first light of $ay $awne$ in the early hours of the
morning. The 7erman infantry an$ =anGer $ivisions ma$e their thrust, ably supporte$ now by 9tuka $ive bombers. The
eastern perimeter was being $riven back, as was the western an$ centre sections. 0y 0"00hrs that morning, the 7ermans
were "ust a couple of miles from the port itself. The gallant -rench, were either kille$ where they $efen$e$, or taken
prisoner. Many of the retreating -rench were now into the port an$ making their way to the mole. Most of the ships ha$
long left for Dover, but one or two ha$ remaine$. The -rench boar$e$ what boats were in the harbour, an$ $one their best
to hol$ up any $eparture because their comra$es 'woul$ be here pretty soon.' The 9ub 8ieutenant on $uty ha$ a har$ task
to perform in controlling the persistent -rench as he coul$ not speak the language.
The light on the horiGon got lighter, there was no time to waste, >$miral @ake4@alker patrolling the beaches an$ the inner
an$ outer harbours, or$ere$ all ships to leave. C.ow.....ow, let's go.C Most of the -rench that were on the mole ha$ been
taken aboar$, but the re%uest to wait for lagging comra$es, an$ you $i$n't have to un$erstan$ the language to see what
the -rench sol$iers were implying. >nyone arriving now woul$ be left to the mercy of the 7ermans. >t 0""0hrs the last of
the ships left Dunkirk, all that was left was to position three ships across the harbour an$ scuttle them. The reason being
that the 7ermans woul$ have to clear them if they wante$ to use the port, but with ships turning in the ti$e, one of them
sank parallel to the harbour allowing an easy entry in an$ out of Dunkirk 6arbour.
>s @2'y "r, 1940 $awne$, #hurchill ha$ to respon$ to a cable from 7eneral @eygan$ receive$ overnight, that the -rench
troops that ha$ been hol$ing the perimeter coul$ not get back to Dunkirk in time of the last ships $eparture. #hurchill
respon$e$ imme$iately that Cwe are coming back for your men tonight.C >fter notifying *amsey at Dover, who was still
relishing in the success of the whole operation, of the cable from @eygan$, *amsey ha$ the task of issuing fresh or$ers to
his comman$, that boats were to be nee$e$ that evening to evacuate the remaining -renchJ
I h*)%, a., 0%'-%(%, that 'ast .-/ht +*2', s%% 2s thr*2/h1 02t th% Fr%.8h +h* +%r%
8*(%r-./ th% r%t-r%&%.t *6 th% Br-t-sh r%ar/2ar, ha, t* r%)%' a str*./ G%r&a. atta83 a.,
s* +%r% 2.a0'% t* s%., th%-r tr**)s t* th% )-%r -. t-&% t* 0% %&0ar3%,4 W% 8a..*t '%a(%
*2r A''-%s -. th% '2r8h1 a., I 8a'' *. a'' *66-8%rs a., &%. ,%ta-'%, 6*r 62rth%r %(a82at-*.
t*.-/ht t* '%t th% +*r', s%% that +% .%(%r '%t ,*+. *2r A''y44444
A,&-ra' Ra&s%y t* h-s 8*&&a.,1 1009hrs @2.% "r, 1940
>t 1J00hrs, the fleet set out once again. >s on the previous night, it was a task for the big ships, the $estroyers, the
#hannel steamers an$ the largest of the pa$$le wheelers. > number of the smaller vessels also became involve$ to operate
the west pier where a number of -rench sol$iers ha$ waite$ the previous night. Ane of the larger ships woul$ be locate$
"ust outsi$e the port an$ a couple of smaller vessels woul$ go into the narrow waterways of the inner harbour , collect any
men they coul$ fin$, an$ loa$ them onto the larger ship. The ob"ective was the same, the eastern mole outsi$e Dunkirk
6arbour. >long with a number of officers, seamen, me$ics an$ signal men, four -rench officers went along to assist in the
language barrier between the -rench an$ the 0ritish. The plan was that evacuation woul$ take place between 22"0hrs
an$ 02"0hrs the ne&t morning an$ it was hope$ that they coul$ lift about '(, men.
@hen the first of the flotilla arrive$ at the east mole, they foun$ a number of -rench troops waiting. 0ut the win$ an$ the
ti$e ma$e berthing $ifficult. The number of ships starte$ to buil$ up waiting their turn to berth. It was 2""0hrs before the
first ship was able to tie up an$ take the first of the -rench aboar$. > number of small ships venture$ into the waterways,
others scoure$ the east an$ west beaches. 0y half past mi$night, after a thorough search of the waterways aroun$ Huai
-eli& -aure most of the -rench ha$ been lifte$ an$ they reporte$ that they were all there was an$ no one else remaine$.
The east mole was not as packe$ as first thought, an$ %uickly all the -rench there ha$ been taken off. 0ut the area west of
the mole, where there was a "etty an$ shallow water was where an observation boat foun$ practically the whole of the
-rench ,)n$ Infantry Division. 6ere there was an estimate$ 2, men, an$ the usual -rench problem occurre$. Troops
refuse$ to be separate$ from their units, an$ gaggle$ an$ shoute$ out in their native tongue almost to a point of hysteria.
9oon they were tol$ that they shoul$ forget who they wante$ to sail with an$ when, they shoul$ get into the boats as soon
as possible an$ they will be re4unite$ with their frien$s an$ their units on arrival in :nglan$. This seeme$ to $o the trick
an$ an or$erly fashion was then a$here$ to.
It was well into the morning of @2.% 4th now. >s each of the ships left the $eserte$ mole, two or three hun$re$ more
-rench woul$ su$$enly appear out of nowhere an$ file onto the mole. Ance a vessel was un$er way, it ha$ or$ers to
continue. The -rench sol$iers ha$ to wait for the ne&t ship to berth. 8uckily, after the main with$rawal the previous night,
the 8uftwaffe, the heavy artillery an$ the =anGer Divisions hea$e$ south, 6itler now ha$ his sight firmly glue$ to the taking
of =aris. Anly a small number of 7erman artillery units remaine$. 7unfire an$ sniping continue$ through the night, but
being un$er threat of 7erman $ive bombers ha$ gone an$ the task of evacuation was ma$e a lot easier. 0ut there were
still problems to be overcome. > buil$ing use$ as a fiel$ hospital house$ the woun$e$. >ll the rooms were packe$ tight
with in"ure$ men laying on stretchers or improvise$ be$s an$ most of the hallways also became littere$ with the casualties.
They coul$n't get them all out, so who coul$ be lifte$ was $rawn by lottery, manes out of a hat, one hat for the officers
an$ another for the enliste$ men.
0100hrs came, still there were many to be lifte$ out. 0200hrs came, more men ha$ been foun$ in the town, 0"00hrs
passe$, still they flocke$ onto the mole. Bessels left with a full loa$, the @hitshe$, Marlborough, 5ingfisher, 8ocust an$ of
course the $estroyer Malcolm complete with piper.
0y 0""0hrs, the first light of the morning sky appeare$ over the horiGon. Ten minutes prior, at 0"20hrs the 9hikari was
the last of the $estroyers to leave. Anly Motor Torpe$o 0oat '3 was left taking a last look at the harbour an$ the moles.
The port still burne$, it ha$ sustaine$ an avalanche of bombs an$ shells. 0uil$ings crumble$ an$ masonry constantly
crashe$ to the groun$, walls of buil$ings swaye$, weak from a constant battering of e&plo$ing shells, then crashe$ to the
groun$ with a tremen$ous roar. .ow, the port of Dunkirk was a shambles, a graveyar$ of bent an$ twiste$ hulks, $eserte$
an$ aban$one$ guns, trucks an$ carts. The -rench still came in their masses almost as if from nowhere, filing into the
town an$ towar$s the mole. 0ut it was too late, MT0 '3 "ust looke$ on helplessly, the crew feeling as if they ha$ let the
si$e $own, but there was nothing that they coul$ $o. Anly pray that they 7ermans will look after them in a humane way.
An @2.% 4th 1940, )/,'3< -renchmen were lan$e$ in :nglan$, nearly '), more than *amsey ha$ first thought he
woul$ be able to lift. 0etween May )/th an$ Fune (th '9(, ,,2,))/ >llie$ sol$iers ha$ been evacuate$ from Dunkirk, an$
it has been estimate$ that some (, troops ha$ still been left in -rance. >$miral *amsey's fleet of many shapes an$
siGes numbere$ '< *oyal .avy vessels an$ /< commercial an$ privately owne$ boats. / pilots of -ighter #omman$
were kille$, '< sustaine$ in"uries, 2 were taken prisoner, an$ ) were missing presume$ kille$.
7ermany went on to take =aris on @2.% 14th 1940, an$ the 7erman forces pushe$ further towar$s the west coast.
0ritish an$ -rench troops were still occupying the .orman$y an$ #herbourg peninsulas, but mainly for the purpose of
evacuating troops back to :nglan$ via the #hannel Islan$s. 0y Mon$ay @2.% 17th 1940, Marshal =etain ha$ aske$
7ermany for an armistice, an$ the following $ay, 6itler an$ Mussolini met in Munich to $eci$e on the terms of the
armistice. D Document4'' E -rance ha$ now fallen, 7ermany now ha$ full control of the whole of .orthern :urope, only
7reat 0ritain stoo$ in the way for total $enomination, to inva$e 0ritain an$ con%uer the birthplace of the 0ritish
:mpire.......7oering estimate$ that it woul$ take "ust two weeks.
I sa+ *.% ,%str*y%r t*+%, -.t* th% East%r. D*83s +-th -ts st%r. 0'*+. 8*&)'%t%'y *66
a., a.*th%r *.% ,*83%, +-th -ts 0r-,/% a'&*st 0'*+. a+ayD sh%'' 6ra/&%.ts &-./'%,
+-th 0'**, )'a-.'y sh*+%, that th-s /a''a.t sh-) ha, 0%%. -. a 0att'%4 E(%ry*.% r%a'-C%,
that -t +as .*+ *2r t2r. t* 0% -.(a,%, a., 0%-./ -. th% s)%8-a' )*'-8%1 +% +%r% .*+ *. a
+ar 6**t-./4
It +as a 0-tt%r 0'*+ t* 2s +h%. +% 3.%+ that th% !aC- h*r,% +%r% .*+ *.'y 2# &-'%s
6r*& D*(%r4 4
Ba''**.s +%r% )2t 2) ar*2., D*(%r a., -ts ,*83s t* +ar, *66 th% ,r%a,%, ,-(% 0*&0%rs
that ha, 8a2s%, ha(*8 +-th *2r tr**)s a., th% 8-(-'-a.s1 02t -t s**. 0%8a&% )a-.62''y
8'%ar that +% ha,.=t &28h -. th*s% ,ays t* st*) a.yth-./4
S%(%ra' a.t-7a-r8ra6t /2.s +%r% &a..%, *. th% )r*&%.a,% 02t th%s% +%r% (%ry 6%+1 as
&*st *6 th%& ha, 0%%. ta3%. t* h%') L*.,*.4
G%*r/% B%tts *6 th% S)%8-a' P*'-8% *. th% D*(%r s-t2at-*. @2.% 1940
!The "att#e of France is over$ % e&pect that the "att#e of "ritain is about to begin.!
'inston (hurchi## in the )ouse of (ommons *une +,th +-./

CHURCHI!" "P##CH ($U%#
*A Poilu, pronounced [pwal]. A French slang word meaning "a private soldier".
[1] alter !ord The Miracle of Dunkirk 1"#$ %i&ing Press p#'
[$] alter !ord The Miracle of Dunkirk 1982 %i&ing Press p"$
(he Miracle of Dunkirk )* alter !ord 1"#$ %i&ing Press
Their Finest Hour )* inston +hurchill 1"," +assell
Dunkirk - Defeat & Victory )* (errance -o))s 1"./ Penguin
Berlin Diary 1934 - 1941 )* illiam !.0hirer
+riti)h +road'a)tin, Cor-oration "ound .r'hi/()
-ave *ou chec&ed out all the documents lin&ed 1rom this page
2ocument 13. 4arl* 5n1oreseen Pro)lems
2ocument 1,. 6AF Fighter +ommand7s +ommitment to France
2ocument 1.. "8peration 2*namo" through the pages o1 !ondon7s 72ail* (elegraph7
2ocument 11. (he 9erman : French Armistice Agreement
8ver the last 1ew pages we have seen the prelude to what was to )ecome &nown as the ;attle o1
%ow ,o to
0ection three, where we loo& at Fighter +ommand, its structure, its leaders and the s<uadrons and
pilots that too& part.
"#%D #M.I
"#C0I1% 0HR## 2 P.3# "I4
0H# "0RUC0UR# 15
5I3H0#R C1MM.%D
M.I% M#%U
+I+I13R.PH6 +.C7 01 P.3# 51UR
(he ;attle o1 ;ritain : 1",= we)site > Alan !.Putland 1"""