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Last on

Sun 14 Nov 2010 00:00 BBC Radio Scotland

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 11 November 2010

In the summer of 2010 the entire country commemorated the heroes of Dunkirk, when an armada of small boats helped save a third of a million Allied troops from France in May 1940. Days later Churchill told the Commons we "would fight them on the beaches" in the next phase of the war. What he neglected to tell them was that we were still fighting as he spoke - members of the 51st Highland Division, alongside their French allies, were still fighting their way across France long after the last boat had left Dunkirk. At the time their story was simply not told, possibly because Churchill didn't want the British public to hear any further bad news. They vanished from France and from the history books simultaneously.

In 'The Forgotten 51st' Iain Macdonald tells the remarkable story of what happened to the men of the 51st Highland Division. The story of those forced to surrender at St Valery en Caux, the story of those that escaped and of those who spent the rest of the war in prison camps. Rich with archive and poignant first hand accounts, this colourful and moving programme brings a rarely aired story back to life to claim its rightful place in history 70 years on.

  • Information regarding the photograph

    Information regarding the photograph

    Major General V M Fortune, GOC [General Commanding Officer] 51st Highland Division (right), with General Major Erwin Rommel at St Valery after the surrender of the 51st Division to Rommel's 7th Panzer Division. (12 June 1940)

    Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum


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