Thursday, 5 June 2008

A Landmark In English History: On 4 June 1940 The Dunkirk Evacuation Ended

""We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations." Winston Churchill to the House of Commons. However, the successful evacuation across the English Channel of 198.229 BEF Troops and 139.997 French poilus, albeit at the cost of all the British Army's heavy equipment and many ships, was, most importantly, not a defeat in the manner of Malaya and Singapore but a withdrawal and that counted for much. As a result of Operation Dynamo a national myth was created from the story of the heroic Little Ships and Tommies patiently queueing shoulder deep in lines for a place on a boat. That myth became the Dunkirk Spirit and bound the British nation together through the darkest times of the war, evolving into the Battle of Britain Spirit.

If we wish to honour Britain as a whole and understand more deeply what being British is I cannot think of a better day than 4 June as a new public holiday. And to make things fun, all petty bureaucracy and red tape that might conceivably prevent the holding of street parties would be ignored for the day on the grounds that our beloved Health & Safety regulations would now be printed in German if well-meaning clipboard-holding fluorescent-jacketed people had assessed the evacuation plans and equipment sixty-eight years ago. Remember, common sense and self-responsibility never hurt anyone.

The facts about Dunkirk.

No comments: