Our recent 'Miracle of Dunkirk' tour was extra special
At the end of May, it was seventy-eight years since the ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk. In a dramatic week in May/June 1940, more than 348,000 British, French and Belgian soldiers were lifted from the beaches and quay of the French port by an armada of little ships and warships of the Royal Navy under the very noses of the Nazi invaders.
To mark this anniversary, Historical Trips organised a three-day anniversary tour, led by co-founder Nigel Jones and military historian Col. Paul Beaver. Our special guest lecturer was Joshua Levine, historian and adviser to the recent award-winning Christopher Nolan film, Dunkirk.
Blessed with fine weather, we were honoured and privileged to also welcome three Dunkirk veterans brought along by Josh, who were making what will almost certainly be their final visit to the scenes of both their service and suffering.
Garth Wright (98), Jim Baynes and Ted Oates (both 97) shared with moving memories and humour about their sometimes terrible experiences while they were awaiting rescue, and they revisited the very beaches where they dodged enemy fire.
As well as Dunkirk itself, we toured the battlefields around Arras where British tanks made a counter-offensive in a vain attempt to halt the headlong German advance on May 21, 1940, and the scene of the massacre at Wormhout, where the Waffen SS slaughtered scores of British Prisoners-of-War, as well as the cemetery where many of the victims were buried.
For obvious reasons, the presence of the old soldiers made this tour quite unique, and we hope that it was a special experience for both them and our guests.