The roof is done (and it has rained today and no leaks so ... so far so good. The balcony is back up and better than ever. The grass is back down and ... for now ... the renovations are over. Anglian still have to come back to repair their issues but that will be minor compared to the last week. Phew. Champagne is int he fridge.
We have also been out to the cinema today to see Dunkirk which was very very good. It was harrowing, but then the real thing was harrowing. I thought they showed the roles of all services well in focusing on several individual stories. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for those there. Just too awful to contemplate and it is miraculous that they got anyone out let alone the incredible number they evacuated. And thanks to so many ordinary men and women who were anything BUT ordinary!
I have copied this from t'internet because I wanted to have it where I could see it and remember it
Here we reveal 40 amazing facts about one of our nation’s most stirring endeavours.
1. During May 1940 the so-called “ phoney war” came to an end as the Germans swept through Belgium and Northern France in a Blitzkrieg that left many soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force stranded as they were pushed back towards the sea.
2. The new prime minister, Winston Churchill, ordered the BEF’s commander, Lord Gort, to evacuate as many troops back to Britain as possible as the army retreated to the area around the port of Dunkirk.
3. On May 20 the British began formulating Operation Dynamo, led by Vice-Admiral Bertram Ramsay.
It was named after the dynamo room in the Dover cliffs where their operation HQ was based.
4. “Nothing but a miracle can save the BEF now,” said General Alan Brooke.
5. Initially it was estimated that just 45,000 men could be evacuated in 48 hours. Instead the operation was to become the biggest evacuation in military history.
6. A call was sent out for as many naval vessels as possible to help the Royal Navy – including small craft that could get close to the waiting soldiers in the shallow waters.
7. British civilians responded in their droves with everything from private yachts, motor launches, lifeboats, paddle steamers and barges joining the effort.
The craft came from as far away as the Isle of Man.
8. The smallest boat to take part was the Tamzine, a 14ft open-topped fishing boat, now in the Imperial War Museum.
9. On the eve of the operation a national day of prayer was declared with King George VI attending a special service in Westminster Abbey.
10. The evacuation began on May 27. Just 8,000 soldiers were rescued.
Some of the Little Ships at Ramsgate Royal Harbour
11. But over the next eight days a total of 338,226 Allied soldiers were successfully brought back across the English Channel while under attack on all sides.
12. As well as British forces a total of 140,000 French, Polish and Belgian troops were also saved.
13. The total number of vessels involved, including Royal Navy ships and civilian craft, was 933.
14. Around 200,000 men were picked up from the Dunkirk Mole – a long stone and wooden jetty at the mouth of the port.
Soldiers had to wait patiently while under attack from enemy aircraft.
15. The rest of the men were evacuated from the beaches, often having to wait hours in shoulder -deep water.
16. Around 700 “little ships ” took part often with civilians at the helm, picking up soldiers from the shallows.
They would then deliver the men to larger ships or take them all the way home.
17. Some were amazed at the patience of the troops. Signaller Alfred Baldwin recalled: “You had the impression of people standing waiting for a bus. There was no pushing or shoving.”
A paddle steamer called the Medway Queen made a total of seven round trips to Dunkirk and managed to rescue 7,000 men in total.
19. The Royal Daffodil, a Mersey ferry that also took part, was attacked by six German aircraft.
Despite being holed below the water line and having a bullet fly within inches of the fuel tank she still managed to limp back to port with her human cargo.
British prisoners and German soldiers, Dunkirk, France, 1940
20. One seaman recalled: “The little boats listed drunkenly with the weight of the men.”
21. The evacuation was aided by the fact that Hitler halted a full -scale attack on Dunkirk with his Panzer tanks – trusting that his air force would stop the Royal Navy from pulling off the feat.
22. The RAF fought hard to combat the bombs raining down on the men waiting on the beaches, flying a total of 3,500 sorties and losing 145 aircraft while the Luftwaffe lost 156.
23. A restored Spitfire which crashed on a French beach during the days of the period of the evacuation is expected to fetch £2.5million.
24. During the evacuation lorries were lashed together in the sea to construct makeshift jetties to help get soldiers aboard boats.
25. More than 200 ships and boats were lost during the evacuation with many tragedies . On May 29 the destroyer Wakeful was torpedoed and sank in 15 seconds with the loss of 600 lives. 26It is estimated that around 3,500 British were killed at sea or on the beaches and more than 1,000 Dunkirk citizens in air raids.
27. The overall success of the Dunkirk operation was partly down to British units such as the 51st Highland Division fighting a fierce rear-guard action.
28. In the retreat to Dunkirk some units had been ordered to “fight to the last man”.
29. During the escape to Dunkirk there were incredible acts of bravery such as that of Major Gus Jennings who died smothering a German stick bomb at Esquelbecq trying to save his fellow soldiers.
30. Then there was Captain Marcus Ervine-Andrews, who was awarded the VC after he single-handedly held off 17 Germans defending part of the Dunkirk perimeter, then led eight of his men to safety, wading through the canals in chin-high water.
31. There were also atrocities.
On May 27, 97 men from the Royal Norfolk Regiment ran out of ammunition and surrendered at the village of Le Paradis.
They were then shot in cold blood on the orders of the SS.
32. Around 40,000 British troops never made it back across the Channel and became P oWs.
33. Many of those ended up having to endure forced marches into Germany and served as slave labour for the Nazis, including working in mines and factories .
34. But a few of those left behind, such as Bill Lacey from Devon, made dramatic escapes. He stole a French fishing vessel and sailed it back to Britain on his own.
35 Also left behind in France was a huge amount of British military equipment including 2,400 artillery guns, 65,000 vehicles and 68,000 tonnes of ammunition. Some 445 British tanks were also lost.
36 Churchill hailed Dunkirk as a “miracle” but also warned relieved Britons that “wars are not won by evacuations ”.
37. He went on to give one of his most famous speeches to the House of Commons in which he vowed that: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!”
38. The phrase “Dunkirk spirit” has since become part of the language used to toast people who pull together in a time of adversity.
39. Hitler’s failure to capture the British army at Dunkirk has been called one of the great turning points of the war.
40. Today the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships is marking the 75th anniversary of the evacuation by organising a Channel crossing to Dunkirk involving 50 of the original craft that took part including the oldest, an 1892 sailing barge called Greta.
Nigel and I were incredibly moved a few years ago when we went to Dunkirk and saw the cemeteries and the huge walls of the names of those who did not make it (and seeing the film today we can only marvel that any did!) These are some photos of that trip.
It makes you realise how much we all have to be thankful for - every day.
On a lighter note there are new releases today from both Dawn Inskip and Pickleberrypop
Dawn's Slice of Summer Bundle is on 50% off
and I made this of the every lovely Alice
and you can still snag Pickle Barrel goodies. I was lucky enough to work with By The Sea by Dita B Designs and made this page of my cousins gorgeous gorgeous daughter
Today I am thankful for
- brave men and women who fought for freedom and the rights of all
- fighting spirit
- great scrapbook goodies to work with
- a leak free roof and a balcony re-erected