Paying tribute to heroes of Dunkirk

IPSWICH: Hundreds lined the Waterfront in the town, applauding in honour of war heroes as they gathered to remember the anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation.

Around 1,000 people took part in the commemorations, paying their respects to 50 local Second World War heroes as they remembered their fallen comrades.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the 1940 evacuation from France, veterans, family members and strangers joined together for the Drumhead service, near to the Old Customs House.

Among the congregation were veterans Terry Miles, 93, and Bernard Sharp, who celebrated his 91st birthday yesterday.

The pair were among the Allied troops rescued from the beaches of northern France.

Robin Vickery of the Royal British Legion said the day had been a “fitting tribute” to those who served, and those who crossed the Channel to rescue our troops.

“It has been a fantastic day,” he said. “Fortunately the weather was with us and there was a constant flow of people throughout the day. The service was very moving and the troops parading were applauded by the crowds.

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“It was a very fitting tribute and an excellent day for Bernard Sharp, who celebrated his 21st birthday on the beaches in Dunkirk all those years ago.”

James Young of Ipswich Borough Council said around a thousand people flocked to Waterfront. “It was great to see the support from the public, enjoying the music and dress from the era.”

The evacuation of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo, was to rescue hundreds of thousands of allied troops trapped following the rapid advance of the German army through Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

Little Ships from across the UK, many of them private fishing boats, were drafted in to support the evacuation, which was led by the Royal Navy. Between May 27 and June 4, 1940, 338,000 troops were rescued from the beaches of northern France.

One of the Little Ships, Pudge, one of only four Dunkirk Spirtsail Barges still surviving, docked in Ipswich for the event, with members of the public jumping aboard to get a feel for what the troops’ journey home was like.

n Do you have family members who were involved in Dunkirk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

n Opinion – page 6

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