On June 4, 1940 Operation Dynamo was abandoned. This was the codename for the evacuation of British and Free French armies from the French coastal town of Dunkirk.
Attempts to stop the German invasion of Belgium had failed and the British Expeditionary Force were forced to take up a defensive positions closer and closer to the sea. When the Belgian forces capitulated, the BEF was in dire difficulty.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the naval commander in Dover to muster every available craft in order to evacuate as many men as possible. He estimated that some 50,000 men might be saved, however, 75 years ago, between May 26 and June 4, 1940 nearly 340,000 men were rescued from Dunkirk and nearby ports.
The rescue succeeded thanks to good luck, German mistakes, and the brilliant efforts of the Royal Air Force which provided cover for the ships and the privately own motorboats that sallied forth into the English Channel from every British port, bay and estuary.
The jubilation of the British people for this “miracle of Dunkirk” was tempered by Churchill’s speech in the House of Commons when he cautioned everyone that wars are not won by evacuations and that this deliverance should not be viewed as victory.
Nevertheless, this was also the moment of one of his finest wartime speeches, with the stirring lines:
“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.
At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.
The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
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, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
Many brave men gave their lives in defence of a free World, a world without fear of oppression, and that is why we must NEVER SURRENDER to the scourge of Islam which seeks to rob us of those freedoms….Never Give Up, and at all costs. Never Give In!