BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

Rearguard at Dunkirk

by petedun

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Peter Duncanson
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 February 2004

I only know a little about the history of what happened to my Grand Father and what I do know comes mainly from my oldest brother who used to ask him lots of questions about the war.

He apparently had to try to hold off the German advance towards Dunkirk to give the rest of the army a chance to be evacuated from the beaches. He manned a machine gun so I'm told with a number of other lads and stayed right up to the end.

Unfortunately he did not make it to the beaches himself, he was caught by the Germans. After his capture he and hundreds of other Allied soldiers where marched across France to become prisoners of war for the remainder conflict.

He said that there came a point on that march where he could not march anymore and collapsed at the side of the road. The German guard is meant to have threatened to shoot him if he did not continue, which my Grand Father encouraged him to do so it would be over. However a couple of other soldiers apparently ran over and helped him to his feet and made him continue surely saving his life.

After the war he returned home a thin and changed man.

I was only three or four years old when he died and have only one fleeting memory of him. I'm thankful to my brother for passing on the stories of what our Grand Father did, I'm only sorry that I could not ask him for myself. I'd love to know what else happened or indeed who the soldiers where who helped him on the march.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - Rearguard at Dunkirk

Posted on: 25 February 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear petedun

This is a fine contribution. It particularly highlights the barbarism that Nazi indoctrinated troops were capable of. In 1940 the Germans thought that they had won the war and they could have easily used trains for BEF PoWs. They certainly found enough trains later, under more difficult circumstances, to remove Jews from France to the gas chambers.

Kind regards,


Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

British Army Category
Prisoners of War Category
France Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy