Dunkirk and the Little Ships

...from Shire Publications

Title: Dunkirk and the Little Ships
Author: Philip Weir
Publisher: Shire Publications
ISBN: 078-1-78442-375-9

This new book from Shire Publications and author Philip Weir takes on a famous topic and adds some valuable extra bits and pieces for those interested in the story and what remains of it today.
A small format 110-page soft-cover book it features the very readable text along with plenty of photos spread throughout the pages and which include not just archive images but plenty of more modern pictures of preserved vessels plus the remains of a couple which can still be found in the sands of the beaches to this day. It is split across 6 chapters, The Fall of France: The Evacuation: The Ships: Other Evacuations and the Big Ships: The 5-Yearly Commemorative Returns: and Places to Visit. In addition to the story of the Blitzkrieg and the BEF retreating to the coast, there are the details of the 3 cross-channel routes needed to avoid the large minefields. While we have all heard of the 'small ships, so famous in the history books, the bulk of troops were collected from the Mole in Dunkirk itself by larger ships, including destroyers from a number of nations. The small ships enabled the evacuation of men from the beaches, taking them out to larger ships who could not get closer. As well as the story of the Operation, it also includes detail of how plenty of those small ships survive and how the TV presenter Raymond Baxter purchased one of the boats, L'Orage, and was involved with starting the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships in 1965. We hear about more of the surviving boats and where they are today, including even the Polish Destroyer OMS Blyskawica and some MTBs.
While I knew some of the historical story already, I was fascinated to learn more about many of the surviving vessels and more detail on their own stories. Definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in Operation Dynamo.
Thanks to Shire Publications for our copy.

Robin