'Little Ships' Sail To Denmark

Friday, June 02, 2000
A fleet of "Little Ships" left the famous white cliffs of Dover behind them and set off across the Channel on Friday to mark the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation of 340,000 Allied soldiers from France.

The 58-strong flotilla had been due Thursday, but rough seas forced them to postpone 24 hours.

Sixty years ago, a rag-tag British flotilla plucked 340,000 Allied soldiers from certain death or capture at Dunkirk. Dubbed the "great tide of small vessels" by British wartime leader Winston Churchill, hundreds of pleasure craft, fishing boats and tugs braved German fire for 10 days to ferry stranded soldiers from the beaches to navy ships in deeper waters.

Whether pragmatic withdrawal or heroic escape, the hurried evacuation undoubtedly saved the lives of thousands of British and French troops pinned down by the Nazi advance.


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