In May 1940, German troops advanced through Holland, Belgium and France with astonishing speed, forcing the British Expeditionary Force and the French army to retreat to the north-east coast of France. The evacuation plan Operation Dynamo was put into effect with the expectation that only about 45,000 men might be rescued. However, by the hasty assembly of a vast armada of disparate vessels (thought to be in the region of 900, of which about 700 were privately owned), 338,226 Allied troops were brought safely back to England. Without the contribution of those Dunkirk Little Ships, as they have come to be known, thousands of British troops would have died on the shores of France, and the ongoing fight against the Axis powers rendered all the more challenging. In this title, Philip Weir reveals the story of the Little Ships which undertook such a great mission, exploring their general role and individual histories, including their preservation and participation in return runs every five years.
Country of Publication:
Series: Shire Library
15 September 2020
The Fall of France The Evacuation The Ships Other Evacuations and the Big Ships The Five-yearly Commemorative Returns Places to Visit Index
Phil Weir is a historian specialising in the Royal Navy in the first half of the twentieth century. In his PhD from the University of Exeter in 2007, he examined the development of British naval aviation between the wars, and has written for the Navy Records Society, History Today and Time. He has also contributed to both television and radio programmes, most recently appearing on the BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are?' He lives in Exeter, UK.