Proud of the Dunkirk Spirit


70 years ago, a flotilla of nearly a thousand ships crossed the English channel destined for the beaches of Dunkirk to rescue more than 300,000 Allied troops from the advancing Nazi forces. Among these vessels were not only navy ships, but civilian ships also: fishing boats, lifeboats, pleasure boats and paddle boats. These sailors were not navy men, they were normal men answering the call, not only of their country, but of humanity. Soldiers fighting for freedom from oppression were pinned down and navy ships couldn’t get close enough for the rescue due to the shallow water. These “little boats” could and went in to rescue the Allied troops.

Date Troops evacuated from Beaches Troops evacuated from Dunkirk Harbour Total
27 May 7,669 7,669
28 May 5,930 11,874 17,804
29 May 13,752 33,558 47,310
30 May 29,512 24,311 53,823
31 May 22,942 45,072 68,014
1 June 17,348 47,081 64,429
2 June 6,695 19,561 26,256
3 June 1,870 24,876 26,746
4 June 622 25,553 26,175
Totals 98,780 239,446 338,226

Thats a brief explanation of the events at Dunkirk (sure I’ll be corrected on details, but that’s the essence). I’m so very proud of all the men and women in the Allied Forces who fought and died during WWII, but the everyday civilian truly makes me proud.

I’ve been fortunate in my up bringing. My mum is a warden for a sheltered home (old peoples home) and I’ve had the pleasure of living there with them and hearing stories of life during the war. Some truly harrowing, but others truly inspiring. How people went without things in their everyday lives, Londoners enduring the Blitz, resistance fighters on the continent consistently defying the Nazi regime and doing all they can to undermine their war efforts.

I was lucky enough to know a man, Robert, who had his own boat during the Dunkirk evacuation. I saw a picture of this boat with him standing on it. It was a small fishing boat which he could have walked the length of in maybe 8 strides. He took this boat from Ramsgate to Dunkirk to help rescue as many soldiers as he could. He told me what he saw and experienced. I couldn’t do it justice by re-telling his story, but as a young boy of 13, I was awe-struck by the bravery of him and others and I’ll admit, shed a tear or two. He showed me the flags they used to communicate with one another (not sure of the correct term for them) and it felt strange holding this material which had taken part in a moment of history.

The term “Dunkirk Spirit” was coined for such men as Robert. For me, it typified the British grit and determination in the face of adversity. It showed true honour and respect, attributes that are sorely missing in today’s society. I wonder if our generation would be so ready to jump to action as these heroes were? Would an ASBO earning chav put his life on the line to help others with nothing in return?

An audio-slide, courtesy of BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8695580.stm

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Hitler’s A Cool Leader


It appears the West Midlands ambulance service has caused a bit of uproar due to a survey they gave their staff asking them to rate various leaders. One of them was Adolf Hitler:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8672781.stm

I’ve often had a similar discussion with many different people. Not necessarily “is he cool?” but more along the lines of a successful leader for his country.

I’d like to point out at this stage that I am NOT a Nazi and never will be. I think they are disgusting and should never be allowed near human society.

Now, back to my point. I have often argued that Hitler was a successful leader and he revolutionised post WWI Germany from a country on it’s knees to one of the strongest in Europe. Obviously, this was on the back of some amazingly sick ideals and laws and at the expense of the likes of the Jews, but nevertheless, he did make Germany a strong country again.

It does leave us the quandry of whether he would have been so successful as a leader in other situations. For example, if Hitler weren’t a Nazi, but a Labour party leader, would he have been such an influential speaker, an innovative thinker in regards to national and international policies and as charasmatic a man?

Some would say not (myself included). It would have been his life experiences and his fierce racist and facist beliefs that made him willing to push through radical policies and his beliefs which made him the potent public speaker that he was. This does leave his natural charisma but this alone is not enough to produce a true leader.

So on that conclusion I’ll leave you with a question: are leaders of people (politicians, soldiers, team captains!) born or created through life experiences?

I’ve Finally Jailbroken my iPhone


I’ve taken the plunge and jailbroken my iPhone. All I can say is……. WOOHOO!!!!

Now I’m no app developer or IT whizz. Far from it. I know what I know, and I enjoy what I know. I also like my little enjoyments in life and this jailbreaking business is certainly going to give me the enjoyments! Already, my phone now has a background picture, sounds different (Star Wars theme so a light-sabre sound emits when I lock and unlock my phone…….yes I’m a geek) and performs differently.

I have noticed that the performance is a little……haggered. Nothing drastic, but a definite slowing. Athough at the minute, the enjoyment it’s giving me is far out weighing the sluggishness (however small).

I’m now at the point where I want more. I’ve been flicking through google trying to find different apps, themes, things I can do with my newly released iPhone. If anyone has any hints or tips, put them in the comments and we can all benefit from the wealth of knowledge!

And Who Said British Politics Was Boring


Today is the day for the General Election in Britain. It’s the closest run election in years and we’re looking at a hung parliament if all sources and opinions polls are to believed. The main problem for this is the age old issue of our politicians being untrustworthy, slimy, dull private school boys with no touch on reality.

In the last round of elections for our MEP’s, the British National Party got a shock result by gaining two seats. This outraged the nation as the BNP are believed to be a racist political organisation. The BBC invited Nick Griffin onto Question Time in light of the result and he was torn to shreds and shown for the farcical plank he really is.

But one thing the BNP are is not dull:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8663681.stm

Now I have to say, I think the young Asian men walked over looking for trouble. You can tell by their saunter, needless language and the spit in the face. But this only showed the BNP for their true selves as, after this spit, the gloves came off (literally) and everyone piled in for a huge street brawl! Obviously, the young guy should NOT have spat in Mr. Bailey’s face, but his reaction was a total disgrace. How can this man hope to represent a constituency of people when he reacts like this? Politicians are always being abused (verbally and physically) but they have to accept that as figureheads, they will be inline for this sort of attention.

The worst part was his entourage. Instead of trying to split the brawl up, the jumped in and started kicking and punching also! Absolutely, the three asian lads were so wrong and should be punished within the law, but so should Mr. Bailey and his cronies. Would David Cameron and his Torries kick off in the street?

Ignorance is NOT Bliss


I work as an accountant in a small team. I have 2 part time staff and 1 full time. My part timers are experienced and get on with things. However, my full timer is 21 and shows absolutely NO signs of wanting to better herself. All she does is data admin, so nothing too taxing on the brain.

We had a call from the MD’s PA yesterday asking for the VAT break down on the cost of this thing she was buying. She asked my full timer who said she didn’t know. After helping the PA, I said to my full timer I’d teach her how to calculate it (very simple process). She just shrugged and said she wasn’t bothered.

This infuriated me! I can’t understand how someone is happy with not knowing something. Knowing that someone else knows something I don’t just kills me!

I started to wonder if this is a sign of the times. A calculator won’t help me unless I know the formula, Google can’t help unless I know what I’m talking about, so whats the point in worrying about it. Someone else will pick up the pieces. You see this all over the country. ASBO’s being handed out like sweets (without much success) are showing that kids are frustrated. But they can cause this frustration themselves by not applying themselves. BRING BACK NATIONAL SERVICE!!