While we are in a more “open” situation regarding outdoor gatherings, we are not planning a major ceremony as in the past.
Just as I did for Birth of a Nation Day and VE Day, I will attend at the Cenotaph this Saturday, June 6th on the 76th Anniversary to pay our respects to those who took part in that epic invasion. I plan to be there at approximately 09:00 hours to prepare the flag before holding a brief Remembrance Tribute.
Any who choose to attend are asked to do so with all the “social distancing” requirements in mind.
As I write this, I am reminded that 80 years ago between 26th May and 4th June 1940, the situation was dramatically different on the coast of France. During those frantic and chaotic days, Britain’s future was to say the least, in the balance. Cabinet discussions were held to determine whether or not to sue for a separate peace. Fortunately, Churchill won that argument and four years later, almost to the day, Operation Overlord was launched.
In 1940, The 300 000 plus members of the BEF had been outflanked and virtually surrounded around Dunquerque and was subject to constant harassment from the air as that flotilla of boats of all sizes and shapes strove to get them back across the channel. While over 300 000 British and French made it back, those who were assigned to the rearguard action were not so lucky. Those captured were either shot by the SS or made the long march east to the POW camps for five long years.
After the end of the Dunquerque saga known as Operation Dynamo, several thousand others were rescued from ports to the south.
I had an uncle in the Territorial Army (Britain’s Reserves) who along with several thousand others had been sent over to France. He made it home but many did not. He went back as a member of the permanent force on June 6th but this time did not come home.
I have been asked on more than one occasion why I continue to perform these ceremonies when many Legions do not do so. That family story is only one reason.