Little Ships receive fitting reception

DUNKIRK spirit flooded into Ipswich as veterans of the evacuation were joined by dignitaries to welcome more than 20 little ships to the town's port.The fleet sailed into Ipswich at around noon on Saturday to remember Operation Dynamo, the Second World War evacuation of 385,000 British and Allied troops from French beaches.

DUNKIRK spirit flooded into Ipswich as veterans of the evacuation were joined by dignitaries to welcome more than 20 little ships to the town's port.

The fleet sailed into Ipswich at around noon on Saturday to remember Operation Dynamo, the Second World War evacuation of 385,000 British and Allied troops from French beaches.

Two Ipswich veterans of the historic retreat, who both celebrated their 21st birthdays during the military operation, were yesterday presented with a cake by the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships.

Ted Vickery and Bernard Sharp, both just turned 88, were part of the group remembering comrades who never made it home during a weekend of events including a reception at Ipswich's Corn Exchange.

Mr Vickery, who lives in Henley, was in the Royal Corps of Signals and was based at Arras in northern France.

He said: “It was quite a surprise for us to be presented with a cake. We were both very touched.

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“The whole weekend went very well and everybody had a thoroughly good time.

“It is an important event to remember. It was chaos at the time on the beach and everyone was thankful to get back.

“At the time everybody was prepared to help everybody else.

“There was a tremendous sense of comradeship when we were all on the beaches together.

“Everybody was prepared to help his neighbour.

“It must have given people back home quite a boost for their morale.”

Mayor of Ipswich councillor Inga Lockington was present both to greet the little ships as they arrived on Saturday and also attended the quayside service yesterday.

Representatives from the Royal British Legion also attended and a service of thanksgiving was led by the Rev Ken Martin, of Felixstowe Seafarers Centre.

Did you attend the weekend events? Do you have memories of the Dunkirk rescues? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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