Return from Dunkirk Railways to the Rescue: Operation Dynamo (1940)
There can be no denying that the Battle of Flanders was a significant defeat for the Allies, but it could have been a great deal worse. For every seven soldiers who escaped through Dunkirk, one man was left behind as a prisoner of war. In the nine days from 27th May to 4th June, 338,226 men escaped, including 139,997 French, Polish and Belgian troops, along with a small number of Dutch soldiers. It was not, for the British at least, a rout. The success of Operation Dynamo was that, whilst the British Expeditionary Force lost all its heavy equipment, a quarter of a million experienced soldiers returned to England.
The rescue of the bulk of BEF provided a psychological boost to morale. Since, once they were back, the UK retained the ability to defend itself against the threat of invasion. Britain with its Empire now standing alone against the Axis menace resulted in the Dunkirk Spirit. Britain’s ejection from the Continent and the subsequent Battle of Britain demonstrated clearly that as never before the whole population of the country was affected. This brought about a coming together of the whole community to meet the need of the hour.
It has been contended that the evacuation of our troops from Dunkirk was a glorious feat of improvisation. Nonetheless, the hastily created organisations set up under the imminent threat of war rose to the occasion by enabling others to contribute in time of need to marvellous effect. A general was heard to remark that he wished that ‘the Army could operate with as few written instructions as the Southern Railway does in an emergency’.
Softback, 184 pages with 91 images. There is a large fold-out map of Dover harbour and its railways
Condition: Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2021