Arts & Elbows

A catalogue of commentary on events in Thanet and occassionally the rest of the world.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dunkirk Spirit

There's a humble collection of boats dotted around Ramsgate harbour at the moment, they look similar to a lot of the other watercraft there if a little older. Age is not the only difference though, each flys the Cross of St. George from their bow, which to most suggests another football fuelled moment of national pride.
How wrong most are, for these are the aquatic veterans of Operation Dynamo, the veritable scramble to rescue several hundred thousand British troops, and a good few thousand French, from the beaches of Dunkirk from 26th May to 4th June 1940. Under fire these small craft took onboard troops from the beaches and ferried them to ships offshore in deeper water. In the nine days available to them they evacuated 338,226 brave souls from the enclosing forces of the Third Reich.
Thankfully they're now here for a commemorative visit rather than another vital mission and they're worth hunting out. One is in the inner basin close to the excellent maritime museum, another two in the outer basin next to the bright orange pilot craft and four of the slightly larger ones out on the southern pontoons.
Big thanks must go to the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships who are behind this and past visits for granting the opportunity for us to remember this so keenly. For without history we not only lose our past, but our future too.

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