WWII: Dunkirk Evacuation | How the 'little ships' helped rescue the Allied troops
CHANNEL | Unknown
RECORDED | 24 May 1950
DURATION | 4 minutes 37 seconds
Seafaring veteran CH Lightoller describes how he sailed Sundowner, his 58ft boat, to rescue troops from Dunkirk at the request of the Admiralty. On 1 June 1940, Lightoller, together with his eldest son and a young member of the Sea Scouts, set out at speed across the Channel ahead of the other vessels. German bombers attempted to strike the boat throughout, but Lightoller managed to rescue 130 men and bring them safely back to England. This recording was made for the programme 'Dunkirk: A Personal Perspective'.
Lightoller's boat was renamed from Hobo to Sundowner in honour of his Australian wife (in Australia, a hobo who tends to enter town at sunset is known as a 'sundowner'). Reportedly, the boat was built in Sheerness in 1912. Around 1930 at the request of Lightoller, it was salvaged and converted from its original form as a 52ft long steam pinnace to a 58ft long cruising yacht. Lightoller's log reveals details of Sundowner's history, including debates about whether the portholes should be polished brass or painted white. After Dunkirk, Sundowner was requisitioned for defence roles throughout the war and incurred damage to her stern.
Charles Herbert Lightoller was one of the survivors of the sinking of RMS Titanic. He recounted his memories for a BBC radio programme about the Titanic in 1936.
The photograph above shows Lightoller's boat, Sundowner, which now resides in the Royal Harbour, Ramsgate.
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Commander Lightoller is interviewed by Charles Gardner.
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A senior officer's account of Dunkirk.
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Recollections of those who took part at Dunkirk on shore, in the air and at sea.
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Dunkirk veterans from north-east England remember the evacuation.
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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.
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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.
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The War Office warning about recent news reports.
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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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