Friday 11th September 2020
A one day visit to see where 338,226 British and French troops were evacuated by the Royal Navy and the “Little Ships” between Sunday May 26th and Tuesday June 4th 1940.
OPERATION DYNAMO was carried out on the beaches and “moles” of Dunkirk under nearly continuous German artillery and air assault at a cost of 84 RAF aircraft, 240 ships and vessels of varying sizes from British and French destroyers to fishing boats, and 1000 British Expeditionary Force (BEF) men killed on and around the beach. That so many men were saved to fight another day was truly a miracle, and a testament to the heroism of all those who made it possible.
Prior to evacuation the BEF, ten regular and ten territorial divisions, some 390,000 men, had fought their way back from forward positions around the Franco/Belgian frontier, in contact with rapidly advancing German Panzer Divisions.
From 10th May to the last British soldier being rescued on 3rd June the BEF suffered 68,000 casualties, including 3,500 killed. In just two weeks from 10th to 28th May most of the British, and tens of thousands of French, troops were bottled up in Dunkirk as the Germans broke through the French defences on the Maginot Line and swept in behind the BEF to capture Boulogne and Calais.
After the last British soldier had been evacuated from Dunkirk there were still 100,000 BEF left further west in France from the Somme to the Seine. But theirs is another story!
We will visit –
Wormhout; key position on the “corridor” being held open for withdrawing BEF units, including the ambush site of SS Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich in his staff car.
Esquelbecq: the site of the massacre of 80 British soldiers of the Royal Warwickshire and Cheshire Regiments by men of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Liebstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment.
Estaminet la Belle Vue for lunch.
Bridge over the Canal de la Basse Colme on the line of the inner defended perimeter, held by 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment from 28 May to 1 June, to hold back the German advance whilst the evacuation from the beaches proceeded.
Operation Dynamo Museum
The East Mole and beaches where the evacuation took place.
The Dunkirk Memorial and Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.
Cost: £75 which includes a guide, handbook, all travel, and lunch.
Download Booking Form: GWB – Dunkirk 2020 Booking Form