WWII Written accounts By Troop Sgt, Bernard Kaye No: 2073747 Royal Engineers 16th Assault Sqd

2 Prologue I stood together with my wife on that part of the beach where the Eastern Mole separates the sand dunes from the Dunkirk docks. We had crossed the channel with the Dunkirk Veterans Association for the 1979 service of remembrance for those many thousands who lost their lives at Dunkirk. As I gazed along the walkway I allowed my thoughts to travel back across the thirty nine years which had elapsed since I last stood on this fateful spot. I saw the many wrecked ships with their forest of masts protruding from the water. I saw the red glow of the docks to the west and heard the ghostly rattle of a steam crane which incredibly was still working at this time of total confusion. I heard the rumble of gunfire coming from the modern town which had risen from the ashes of the old. A sudden thunderstorm broke my reverie and sent us scurrying for shelter in the seaside buildings which had sprung up in the intervening years. It was a strange coincidence that thirty-nine years earlier my good friend James Goodyer and I had marched through such a thunderstorm as we made our way to Dunkirk through the German trap. The sudden storm made my memories even more vivid. As we sheltered from the deluge we were approached by three French teenaged youths. One enquired what the ceremony was about. I explained in my rusty basic French and the youths had obviously not previously heard of the battle. I was amazed that in the space of three decades this gigantic tragedy had so little place in French history. Thousands died at Dunkirk yet the story had already faded into the dim past. Those who died at Dunkirk were mostly young men. So soon forgotten! So much for human sacrifice! I was filled with sadness as I thought about those I had known who did not survive the battle.
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