After filling up with fresh water, we set off to Dunkirk. Only 50 kilometers north, so a relatively short journey (Tosh the travel sick dog was pleased). On route, we filled up with some diesel at the intermarche at €1.01 compared to €1.35 at all the other fueling stations. We also stopped at Lidl, which made Craig’s day, he loves Lidl.
Then on to Dunkirk Memorial, somewhere we’ve wanted to visit for a while…
On 10th May 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands and British Expeditionary Force (BEF) joined forces with French and Belgium troops to meet the attack. The same day Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. The German tactics were to use armoured columns, supported by dive bombers and motorised infantry, on a narrow front to pierce the defence in several places. When this had been accomomplished two columns would converge to envelop a sector which would then be disposed of by the mobile infantry. On 13th May German forces crossed the Meuse at Sedan, pierced the last defence line the following day and by 20th May reached the Channel coast. The allied front was cut in two and the BEF severed from its bases.
On 24th May, the Wehrmacht’s tanks came to a halt, giving allied troops time to strengthen their defences around Dunkirk. Meanwhile preparations for evacution were being finalised , designated Operation Dynamo.
On 26th May troops were ordered to withdraw to the coast for evacution. The following day the exhausted Belgium Army surrendered. The harbour basins were destroyed by bombing and the evacuation took place. By 4th June, 338,000 allied troops had been evacuated.
Thousands of buriels were made in communal cemetaries and churchyards across Northern France and Belgium and, as the front swept over the old WW1 battlefields, army graves were added to the existing war cemeteries of that conflict. Throughout the summer the bodies of those lost in the waters of the English Channel continued to be washed ashore, and many were never identified.
The Dunkirk memorial commemorates more than 4,500 British soldiers who died betweem September 1939 and May 1940, or later while in captivity, and who have no known grave.
A very moving day but enlightening day. If you are thinking of visiting the Memorial then there are plenty parking spaces for both cars and motorhomes. It is free to park and free to enter.
In the afternoon, we moved across town to a free aire located right on the beach.
We took the dudes for a walk along the promanade and boy it was cold. It was dry but the icy wind cut straight thro’ you. Mac n Tosh were loving it as their nostrils were rammed with beach smells. All new stuff to 2 young pups but nothing quite beats a roll around on the sand. This is their favorite thing in the whole wide world and it gets them well giddy. However, no running off the lead today…beach rule, sigh. The promanade goes for miles and makes for a great walk and in summer the beach front cafes line the promanade with chairs, tables and mouth watering snacks.
Back at the aire just in time. We’d not been in long when the driving rain pelted Vin. Fortunately, we were sandwiched between a German and a French van, so his sides were protected. Also, by now the aire was full to the brim and not even a side line free. Mainly French and Belgium vans and plenty pooches for Mac n Tosh to sniff butts with.
Tonights sleep spot…Dunkirk aire. The aire has room for about 30 motorhomes but has no facilities. However, hop over the sand dunes with a little skip and a jump and you have a public toilet along with fresh water tap.
GPS coordinates N051.053343 E.002.414403
Route: Calais to Dunkirk
Temperature – High 19, Low 8 + windy