Dunkirk – ‘Operation Dynamo’
(Four day tour)
With the release of the new Hollywood movie Dunkirk, Rifleman Tours offers you the opportunity to walk, not in the footsteps of actors, but in the footsteps of the real men, heroes one and all, who were evacuated from this stretch of beach in 1940.
On 14 May 1940 the Germans burst through the Ardennes, advanced west and then turned towards the English Channel effectively flanking the Allied Forces. A series of counter attacks were initiated, notably the Battle of Arras, but all failed to stop the German spearhead which reached the coast on 20 May and separated the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from the French and Belgium Armies. Once at the coast the Germans swung north threatening the ports and trapping the British and French Armies.
On 25 May, the War Office gave the order to evacuate British Forces from Dunkirk, codename ‘Operation Dynamo’. In the nine days from 27 May to 4 June, 338,226 British and Allied troops escaped in what became known as ‘The Miracle of Dunkirk’.
Day One: Depart by coach from your chosen UK collection point and proceed to Dover for our channel crossing. The ferry still takes the X Route as used by many of the evacuation ships. Once we have docked we proceed to Ypres and book into our hotel where the rest of the evening is at your leisure and you are free to enjoy a meal and one of the famous Belgium beers before taking in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Day Two and Three: We go to La Paradis, scene of one of the SS massacre sites. From here we visit Cassel which was gallantly defended by battalions of the Ox & Bucks and Gloucester regiments to stop the advancing Germans. A packed lunch is taken here before we move on to Wormoult and the site where the 100 captured Warwicks were put in a barn and grenades were tossed in with them by the SS.
We then follow the escape corridor back to Bergues and look at the town and the site of the VC action by Captain Andrews of the East Lancs and the stand by a company of the Coldstream Guards commanded by Lt Jimmy Langley which took place on the canal bank leading east from the town. We then make our way back to Ypres via Dixmude where bridges were blown to stop the advancing German army.
We then head for the beaches of Dunkirk following them from La Panne in Belgium down to Bray Dunnes in France. We look at the various events that took place on the beaches and visit the wrecks that still lie on the beaches giving testament to this momentous evacuation. We will also visit Fort Des Dunes before making our way on to the Eastern Mole where the majority of soldiers were rescued from and then the Dunkirk Memorial before entering Bastion 32 now the Dunkirk War Museum which has been recently expanded. It was here that the French commanded the evacuation. Finally we will visit the Dunkirk Cemetery and pay our respects to the fallen.
Day Four: After a hearty breakfast and time in Ypres we will have a leisurely return back to the UK.
“Thanks again for another very special experience. Staying in Ypres for two nights allowed us to attend the Menin Gate ceremony on both Friday and Saturday. Doing Dunkirk on the Sunday and seeing all those beaches, mostly completely deserted, but with the rain beating down and the wind so strong I was thinking of those dark days in May and June 1940. As you said, thank god that the weather was so much better in 1940 than in 2015 and the Channel waters quite calm. Otherwise the evacuation operation would have ended very differently. The sites of the two SS atrocities where they executed surrendered British soldiers also made a big impression on me. I know we all enjoyed the tour and hope we can do another one with you very soon. I appreciate all the personal touches and, indeed, all the hard work you must put in. Sincere thanks.”
“Our second trip with Rifleman Tours and, just like the first this one was of the same high standard. Tony briefed us the evening before with maps showing the disposition of both sides and the difficult position the UK forces found themselves in. On the ground over the following two days he took us to all the important sites following the retreat and rearguard actions with detailed explanations of individual heroic actions. Tony is a perfect host and guide with extensive knowledge and we learnt a great deal. We can thoroughly recommend Rifleman Tours.”
“This was our second tour with Rifleman Tours. We would like to congratulate you, Tony, on yet another informative, relaxed and enjoyable tour. Your knowledge, and the way you deliver it, together with your research and your attention to detail, are all second to none. The personal stories you told us once again made history come alive in a very accessible manner and made all the difference to learning about the events we covered during the tour. The ‘goodie basket’ was also much appreciated again this year! We look forward to planning our third tour with you and will highly recommend you to anyone we know who is looking to take a Battlefield Tour. Thank you – from us all.”
For the full testimonial click here
For the photo gallery of our 2015 Dunkirk tour click here