Between 24th may and 4th June 1940 an extraordinary armada of craft, large and small, naval and civilian, embarked on one of the greatest rescue missions in history. the evacuation of 330,000 British and French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. the destroyer HMS Shikari dominates the foreground here as troops pour onto the beaches and harbour moles in search of salvation. MTB are seen picking up troops and taking them to ships further out including MTB102. Also shown is a paddle steamer with very shallow draft taking on troops close to the beach and in the distance HMS Grafton can be seen taking troops from the mole.
Very nice piece. My great-grandfather was on the pier at Dunkirk, commanding some AA guns. Was ordered to spike his guns, but since it was still going to be a bit before his unit was taken aboard ship, he disregarded the order and kept them firing until his men where the next to be loaded. (Got a DSC out of it). There's a family rumor, totally unsubstantiated, that his flak guns were the last (Army) ones firing over the beach.
A British sailor who served in Dunkirk noted that the greatest potential threat came not from the Luftwaffe but the Kriegsmarine, particularly their torpedo boats. He noted they they did not show up in battle.
Who's the paddlesteamer?
It was the paddle steamer that caught my attention in the "more from DA" thumbnails. This is a hugely evocative piece, particularly for a Clydesider like myself.
I can almost feel the fear of the soldiers on the beaches... and their hope looking for still incoming RN ships!