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15 October 2014
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Aftermath of Dunkirk

by KathyKay

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Archive List > Dunkirk Evacuation 1940

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09 February 2004

My friend and I joined the ATS in March 1939 with some bravado, but surprise, surprise, when war was declared on 3rd September 1939, we were both posted to our military destinations within a fortnight of the outbreak.
This is my account of my experience following the fall of Dunkirk, which followed the capitulation of France, leaving the British troops to fight it out alone and being entrapped on the beaches of Dunkirk.
The ATS company that I was in had been housed in a requisitioned country house in Narborough, but we had recently been transferred to a newly built militia camp in Ramsey, Hunts. Following the debacle at Dunkirk, troops, about 100 at a time, who had been returned to British soil and were able to walk, were marched into the camps as they had arrived back - exhausted and in tatters, some wearing legless trousers and armless jackets and even less - to be fed and provided for.
This is where I come into the story as I and my ATS platoon, whatever our routine jobs were, had to help in the kitchens preparing food i.e. peeling potatoes, cleaning other vegetables and washing up (Army style). Camp beds and blankets had to be provided and the quartermaster had to re-equip the soldiers with suitable clothing. After several days, the troops were despatched to an Army base elsewhere, presumably they were issued with necessary documentation dealing with their safe return and possibly a period of well - earned leave before being returned to a war zone. The batches of troops continued to come and go for several weeks and although it was hard and tedious work we all felt we had given valuable service and we know that the troops were more than grateful to have been rescued from Dunkirk and cared for back on British soil.

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