Seventy five years ago today began the evacuation of Dunkirk. 40,000 British soldiers were stranded in France. They were miraculously evacuated with a flotilla of hundreds of ships. Since the soldiers were stranded on shallow beaches, larger ships were unable to approach the shore. Admiralty officials scoured the Thames looking for suitable vessels, and the “Little Ships,” 700 smaller boats were hastily requisitioned.
Contrary to popular perception, most of these craft were not crewed by their owners, although a few were. In most cases, they were crewed by the Royal Navy. Most were used to shuttle soldiers to larger ships, but in many cases, the rescued soldiers made the crossing in these smaller vessels.
A number of recordings of broadcasts are available at the BBC.