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

SS Solider Finally Convictedof Murder


I have always been of the opinion that if you do something wrong, you must be punished for it. only would you send this man to prison for life:

His name is Heinrich Boere and he was a member of the SS during the war. He has recently been found guilty of three murders in 1944. He was initially sentenced to death in 1949, albeit the trial occurred without him present. In the 1980’s, a German court ruled this to be an illegal trial as he wasn’t present. Lots of legal wrangling later, he’s finally been tried and found guilty.

He claims that he had no choice but to kill the 3 men (one a bicycle seller, one who helped Jews go into hiding and one a resistance fighter), or be shot himself by his Nazi superiors. The court did not buy this and he was found guilty.

When I first saw his picture, for a moment I felt sorry for him. An 88-year-old man being dragged through legal proceedings for something that happened over 65 years ago. He looks like someone’s kindly old granddad.

But then I remembered. I remembered every school history lesson. I remembered everything I learned about fascism and Nazism. I remembered every stupid, insane comments made by 1001 different racist b*****ds. I remembered every story I had ever heard about the treatment of people by the SS. I remembered learning about the Nazi war machine trampling Europe and it’s people, killing with little or no regard, invading, controlling, exterminating people like rats. How can I feel sorry for this man?

He claims he had no choice but to kill these men. Maybe so. I’m sure SS soldiers were not above the fanatical whims of their officers. But he DID have a choice about signing up for them in the first place. He DID have a choice about choosing to live his life according to Nazi belief’s.

He has been sentenced to Life In Prison for his crimes. It still remains unclear if he will serve his time, but I hope that he does. We have people on the run still for Nazi war crimes and also on the run for crimes during the Bosnian war. If we don’t punish these people, what message does that send to others? Time should be no factor where Justice is concerned.

Berlin Stag Weekend


What a weekend!! Some serious drinking was involved, quite a bit of cash got flashed about and spent, several calls on the porcelein phone were made and one cracking weekend was had!!

The merryment started Thursday evening. Our flight was at 6am on the Friday, so beer was being drunk on the Thursday night. Needless to say, I had 1 hours sleep before the taxi arrived to take us to Stanstead. This was fine as on the way, we had a crate of Tiger beer to sup. We stopped to collect my brother and best-man and continued on the journey. We were all given the obligatory Hats and Sunglasses to accompany our suits, however the hats were made of plastic and were so uncomfortable!!

We landed in Berlin early doors and proceeded to drink. We marched up to the Brandenburg gate as we were told by my brother in law that all the bars were up this direction. He lied simply so he could go sight seeing!! By this point, all 9 of us were busting for the toilet. Serveral went to various shops and cafe’s, but 4 of us decided to use a public toilet cubicle. We only had 1 Eruo between us. So we crossed swords…… Someone lent against the door button…..  Two little old lady’s had the shock of their lives as 4 English drunken bums were crossing swords in front of them……..

The rest of the night passed in a drunken blur. To our astonishment, there were “lady’s of the night” everywhere!! Very attractive they were too. 50 euros for quicky in the park, 80 euros for comfortable fuck in their flat and one even suggested she would shit on us!! My best man spent most of the night outside one of the bars talking to one of the lady’s. This pisssed her off as he wasn’t actually going to pay, but felt big that he was “chatting up” a prostitute. He gave up in the end when she threatened to slit his throat if he didn’t leave her alone….. We called it a night pretty much after this (26 hours straight on the lash will make you tired). At some point during the night, my mum’s husband managed to find himself out the front of the hotel in nothing but his underpants….. No more questions were asked…..

Following morning half of us were up bright and breezy at about 8.30 am and went to a Mexican restaurant for breakfast. The only reason we stopped here was because we saw they did cooked breakfasts and tequila was about the only thing that would save us! We sat there in the cooking sun for  the next 9 hours and proceeded to drink them out of Gold Tequila, pick up several people who decided to sit with us and drink, have some guy offer to sell us his daughter (only a joke of course) and spend over 600 euros. During this time, I was dressed in a stripey outfit ala convict style with handcuffs.

We decided to move on after this and walked off in, what we thought, was the general direction of the bars we had found the previous night. We passed the Holocaust memorial (dressed how I was didn’t seem evry appropriate!), Bugatti show room (drooling over the Veyron) and after an hours walk, found the bars.

Again, the night passed in a drunken blur. My dad ended up asleep in a chair at some restaurant by about 7, ended up going home early doors. We went to several bars/clubs/drinking establishments before the beer scooter came to collect us. We went back to the hotel, where we had a few nightcaps before turning in.

The flight home was awful. I was throwing up left right and centre and Ryanair doesn’t believe in spacious toilet facilities. As we landed, I had to make a mad dash for the toilet. Most people could see I was in trouble and graciously moved out of my way. Except one German woman who obviously wanted to be first of the plane. So I proceeded to hold my hand over my mouth, retch a few times and then breath on her. She soon moved!

All in all, it was a cracking weekend. More stories and events took place, but as my previous post explains: WHAT GOES ON STAG, STAYS ON STAG