WWII: Dunkirk Evacuation | How the 'little ships' helped rescue the Allied troops
CHANNEL | BBC Television Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 13 November 1956
DURATION | 27 minutes 10 seconds
Lieutenant General Sir Brian Horrocks commanded a battalion of 700 men on the frontline when German forces invaded France and the Low Countries in May 1940. In this programme, he recounts the scenes he witnessed on the road to Dunkirk. In his view, the Phoney War allowed for the troops to be trained up, and morale and discipline were high. However, he was shocked when he first came upon the scene of stranded troops at Dunkirk. Whitehall was informed (by holding the phone up to the scene) and an evacuation requested. Film footage and recorded statements also provide insight, with one witness crediting the breakwater known as the Mole for making the epic naval escape possible.
Sir Brian Horrocks joined the Middlesex Regiment on the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He was captured during the First Battle of Ypres and remained a prisoner until the end of the war. After dedicating 15 years to working as an infantry captain, he had become a high-ranking officer by the start of World War II. Aside from his military career, he competed in the pentathlon at the 1924 Olympic Games.
Winston Churchill makes his first prime ministerial broadcast.
An appeal for Dunkirk recruits on behalf of the government.
Bernard Stubbs reports on the returning troops.
Rt Hon Anthony Eden recounts the events of the 'battle for the ports'.
Ed Murrow reports on his visit to a fighter airfield.
Four members of the BEF describe their retreat to Calais and Dunkirk.
Reporter Ed Murrow hears Churchill's speech in the Commons.
JB Priestley pays homage to the small boats of Dunkirk.
The shipping minister recounts the past few days at Dunkirk.
A Pathe news cameraman describes Dunkirk.
The role of Margate's lifeboats in the Dunkirk evacuation.
A Thames tugboat master describes how he helped with the Dunkirk operation.
The captain of the Royal Daffodil recounts being bombed.
Commander Lightoller is interviewed by Charles Gardner.
Memories of Dunkirk by those who were there.
A member of the crew aboard HMS Malcolm recounts the evacuation at Dunkirk.
A senior officer's account of Dunkirk.
A former sergeant speaks about his dramatic escape from Dunkirk.
Recollections of those who took part at Dunkirk on shore, in the air and at sea.
Former French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud is interviewed about Dunkirk.
One man relives the darker moments of Dunkirk.
Dunkirk veterans from north-east England remember the evacuation.
Survivors share their memories of the Wormhoudt massacre.
Richard Holmes tells the story of Dunkirk as he walks its beaches and breakwaters.
...Hitler had not halted the Panzers?
A memo from the Assistant Senior News Editor about the Ministry of Information.
The BBC informs the Ministry of Information about its preliminary Dunkirk news reports.
Memo from the BBC to the War Office.
The BBC is held to account by Military Intelligence.
A summary of a telephone conversation between the BBC and MI7.
All broadcasts from officers and men in the army are to be stopped.
Recognition for the part played by the French.
The Ministry of Information sends an urgent message forbidding interviews with servicemen.
The Ministry of Information stops further broadcasts by a general.
The War Office warning about recent news reports.
The Ministry of Information refutes Nazi claims.
A BBC memo highlights censorship communication problems.
Worries about France and instructions from Ministry of Information and the Foreign Office.
The unprecedented demands of broadcasting in wartime continue to cause problems.
The War Office reconfirm their policy on broadcasts by serving officers and men.
A yachtsman tells of his voyage to Dunkirk.
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