• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Dunkirk celebrations

#1
Is it my age or what! I was furious at the French hijacking of this event - what had it to do with them in fact? Even the memorial states words to the effect of "to the memory of the glorious airmen, sailors and soldiers of the French Army ?? eh?? and as an afterthought "and allies" " Maybe my memory of history is flawed but whose army was it at Dunkirk?? There seemed to be no British military presence nor flags - they were all French ; apart from a handful of Brit vets! Incidently how many French divisions does it take to defend Paris? Answer; nobody knows it's never been done!!
 
#3
It was French First Army that formed the Dunkirk Perimeter from 21 May 1940, while most of the BEF headed for the port. They were mostly elite mobile troops and fought extremely hard as the German war diaries in Freiburg testify.
 
#4
Yes, you're memory is flawed.

5 Divisons of 1st French Army were encircled near Lille. Their spirited defence for 5 days delayed the German advance thus denying 7 German divisions from taking part on the final advance to Dunkirk. It is believed that this action allowed an extra 100 000 men to be evacuated.

Churchill insisted that the Royal Navy return to Dunkirk on 4 June and attempt to rescue as many of the French rearguard as they could. Over 26000 men were evacuated but between 30-40 000 men had to be left behind.
 
#5
Shamus said:
Is it my age or what! I was furious at the French hijacking of this event - what had it to do with them in fact? Even the memorial states words to the effect of "to the memory of the glorious airmen, sailors and soldiers of the French Army ?? eh?? and as an afterthought "and allies" " Maybe my memory of history is flawed but whose army was it at Dunkirk?? There seemed to be no British military presence nor flags - they were all French ; apart from a handful of Brit vets! Incidently how many French divisions does it take to defend Paris? Answer; nobody knows it's never been done!!
Prick aren't you then?
 
#7
In my defence I will point out that a lot of Brit history, any I've read, and the general media, fail to mention the involvement of the french forces, even today in the Telegraph there is a letter saying the rearguard action, which enabled the evacuation, was by the 51 Highland Div, no mention of the french. Equally the TV commentary only mentioned the 51 Div - presumably being as ignorant as me of the french actions. In which case that explains the absence of Brit flags , military etc.etc. Mes apologies a la toute of france. I still won't eat snails.
 
#9
natotattie said:
Shamus said:
No I'm not a prick you arse I just got my facts wrong! Sorry for that!
Just as well you aren't Int Corps then.
Since when is our Corps interested in facts?


Define: Int Corps Fact

A device used to support your own assessments. If fact does lend support to your assessment then you must spend most of your time demolishing the credibility of said fact rather than revising original position.
 
#11
This comes from believing history as written by the Brits - Indian history, Irish history, Iberian peninsular history(Sharpe novels!!), European history, African history, Asian history, North American history, as someone said " he who controls the past controls the present......the future" etc. I did Irish history, written by the Irish, at school ; you wouldn't think it was the same world!! Lord Offaly and all that !!
 
#12
Before someone corrects me yet again it's "he who controls the present controls the past; he who controls the past controls the future" George Orwell
 
#13
In Shamus's defence, for I know he is a man of honour

History books unfortunately, has turned Operation Dynamo into a success of British ingenuity in that one third of a million men were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk when it was initially expected that only one tenth of that number could in reality be expected to return. Whilst it was a success, that could only have been achieved by the rearguard actions of the 51st (Highland) Division and 5 or 6 Divisions of the French Army who were ordered to hold up the German advance.

The original 51st (Highland) Division went into the bag at St Valery-en-Caux and are commerorated by the Pipe Tune "Heroes of St Valery". The Division was re-constituted back in the UK and went on to achieve fame during the North African and Italian campaigns.

My own late father, who was with the BEF, was on one of the last Naval vessels to leave the beachead, on 02 June 1940, the evacuation taking place between 27 May and 04 June 1940, and although he would say little of his wartime experience, he had nothing but praise for the battered French Army who were placed in an almost impossible situation. Whilst 198000 British Troops were evacuated, almost 40% of the total number evacuated from Dunkirk (140000 men) were French.

Those Frenchmen who managed to escape on the last vessels out of Dunkirk went on to form the nucleus of the Free French Army back in Britain whilst the remainder of the French Army who surrendered to the Germans, either went into captivity or were absorbed into the innefective Vichy French Army.
 
#14
Thanks Highlander - very interesting post - Clearly I allowed my dislike of the modern cheese - eaters etc. and my ignorance, to override my normally amazing good sense and judgement ( for which I was famous in the Int Corps!) and I let loose an ill- judged blast. I will wear de famous sackcloth of my ancestors ( many of whom were priests, monks and nuns) and who punished themselves , and sometimes others, with knotted ropes,etc. or anything to hand; I will whip myself severely and live on Guinness for some weeks; no food shall pass my mouth. Maybe I will enlighten myself by reading something on the subject of Dunkirk; it's all been very informative and humbling!
 
#15
Shamus, the events were organised by the municipality of Dunkirk, not by the UK, so it was indeed their show. Contrary to what you imply in your post, there was a strong British presence on top of the veterans, including Prince Michael of Kent as Honorary Admiral of the Little Ships Association, diplomatic and military representatives, the Help for Heroes cyclists, a contingent from HMS Monmouth, cadets from Scotland, several RBL standard bearers from northern France and Belgium as well as many wreaths being laid by veterans associations and groups.

There was also official representation from Belgium and the Czech Republic along with their veterans.

ps There were at least a couple of arrsers present.




 
#17
I was there. Very very fortunate to meet Garth Wright and escort him last Friday back to the beach and also to the Commonwealth War Grave where his two best friends were buried. A sharper and more active 90 year old you will struggle to meet, it was an absolute honour spending time with him. I believe that he will feature in a BBC documentary in the week prior to this years Remembrence Sunday.
Garth went on to serve in North Africa and also fought at Monte Casino but he said the the worst time was the 36 hours he spent on the beach at Dunkirk.
My Grandfather was at Dunirk so to listen to a testament first hand was sobering and helped me to understand exactly what was going on and for that Garth will always have my thanks.
 
#18
His cloak of invisibility must have slipped momentarily.

Surely I was not the only one to see a former OC Mountain Troop, G Sqn 22SAS, trip over the steps, as he laid his wreath at the memorial?

The Coldstreamers Drill Sergeants will be fuming for weeks !

Thoroughly Nice Chap though

BTW who signed the works-ticket for that detail??
 

Latest Threads

New Posts