Operation Dynamo: ‘The Miracle of Dunkirk’

  • Subterranean Warfare
    Descend into the tunnels beneath Dover Castle, where Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay masterminded the Dunkirk evacuation
  • In the Footsteps of the ‘Frankforce’
    Visit the site of the Battle of Arras, the 1940 engagement which saw British and French troops launch a surprise tank attack on the advancing Germans
  • Dunes of Dunkirk
    Stand in the very spots from which countless servicemen were rescued in the face of constant bombardment and uncertain odds
  • Impressive Exhibits
    Learn the story of the vital role played by Calais in the events of 1940 at a unique museum housed in a former German bunker

Join Joshua Levine, historical advisor to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk', in Arras for a revealing look at the events surrounding the Dunkirk evacuation.

“Out-numbered, out-gunned, out-planed, all but surrounded” is how journalist Evelyn Montague described the British Expeditionary Force in the last days of May 1940, as their ordeal played out across the Channel. But in the face of these seemingly insurmountable odds, Mr Montague, and the rest of the country along with him, was able to watch as the rescued troops landed back on British soil just days later.

Lauded as a miracle, it’s no surprise that the Dunkirk evacuation — codenamed Operation Dynamo — is still capturing our imaginations today, most recently in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Dunkirk. But the silver screen is no substitute for the real thing, as we’re sure to find on this exclusive tour of labyrinthine war tunnels, solemn memorials, bunkers-turned-museums, and the very dunes from where troops waited to be rescued. Join expert Guide Lecturer Nigel Jones and historian and author Joshua Levine for an educational and affecting look at one of the greatest tales of the Second World War.

Top 5 Reasons to Book

  • Meet writer, broadcaster and historian Joshua Levine, who advised Christopher Nolan on his recent Dunkirk film, and enjoy expert insight into the events surrounding the Dunkirk evacuation
  • Stand in the very spots from which countless servicemen were rescued in the face of constant bombardment and uncertain odds
  • Explore a series of sites which enable us to piece together the fascinating story of Dunkirk, from museums and memorials to battlefields and bunkers
  • Meet a veteran of the Dunkirk campaign during the tour
  • Stay at the superb Hotel de L’univers, a 17th-century Jesuit monastery sympathetically converted into an Arras institution

Joshua Levine

Joshua Levine is a playwright, writer for television, and producer. Among his many historical titles are The Secret History of the Blitz, On a Wing and a Prayer, and Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk, and his recent book Dunkirk was described by Waterstones Weekly as ‘not merely the essential companion to the film but probably the finest work we’ve seen on the evacuation full stop’. He acted as official historical advisor for recent blockbuster Dunkirk.

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

Our tour begins with a visit to Dover Castle, where we not only get inside the walls of the impressive fortress, but underneath it. Cut into the famous white cliffs, a series of secret tunnels underneath the castle played host to Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay as he masterminded the Dunkirk evacuation. After our visit, we board our Club Class ferry to Calais, and enjoy lunch overlooking the very waters traversed by the little ships on their way to and from Dunkirk.

On landing, we visit the Second World War Museum where, in a former German bunker, rooms filled with artefacts and interactive displays tell the story of Calais’ crucial role in the events of 1940.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 2

Today, we examine the military situation in and around Arras, visiting the site of the Battle of Arras, where Franco-British troops launched an attack on the advancing Germans on May 21st 1940. Even with the element of surprise on their side, and despite hundreds of German soldiers captured and tanks destroyed, the ‘Frankforce’ was forced to retreat, or risk encirclement. We also travel north of Arras and hear how, in the face of the German onslaught, the BEF fought valiant rearguard and delaying actions, allowing escape to the channel ports.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 3

The focus of our final day is firmly on the dramatic events which unfolded on Dunkirk’s coast in the last days of May and first days of June 1940. We pass through the port’s perimeter where heroic troops held off their attackers during the final, vital week of the evacuation, and visit the dunes and beaches where long lines of soldiers waded into the sea, awaiting rescue.

After lunch on the coast, we move on to our final visits: firstly, to East Mole, where the majority of those saved were lifted off; and lastly, to the Dunkirk World War II Museum, which offers a vivid portrayal of the herculean evacuation effort. Afterwards, it’s time to board our ferry home, and we enjoy drinks in exclusive Club Class accommodation, as well as the chance to reflect on what we’ve learnt, on board.

Meals: B, L

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer - Historical Trips expert Guide Lecturer and Tour Manager
  2. Ferry - Return Club Class ferry transfers between Dover and Calais
  3. Meals - All meals as listed in itinerary; wine included for dinners
  4. Entries & Tips - All entrance fees, visits and tips
  5. Hotels - Accommodation at the three-star Hotel de L’univers

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2018 Tour Details

  • 3 Days
  • 1st May - 3rd May 2018
  • with Nigel Jones, Paul Beaver
  • Code: TDU18A
  • Available
  • without flights
  • sgl supp: £195

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