Trauma of Dunkirk
SIR – John Carey (Letters, July 15) is correct when he writes that the men who returned from Dunkirk did not look “clean and well-dressed”.
My uncle George was in such an awful state that, after leaving the railway station on his return to Manchester, he was approached in the street by his sister, who did not recognise him. When he arrived at his parents’ house, his mother took his uniform outside and burnt it.
After the war, he had nightmares about Dunkirk on a regular basis, and was afflicted by deafness caused by the noise from bombs dropped on the beach. Paul Bradshaw
Ramsey, Isle of Man
SIR – My late father-in-law escaped Dunkirk and found himself on a train to Cardiff.
En route he was told that anyone who had managed to hang on to his rifle would be sent back to continue the fight. His weapon followed many more through the train window.
SIR – My father was at Dunkirk and, although wounded, got on board an Isle of Man steamer, the SS Ben-mychree, in the harbour.
Feeling mildly celebratory, he headed for the bar, but when he ordered a drink, the barman said: “Sorry sir, we don’t open till we sail.”
This story was published in the Evening Standard at the time of the Fifties film about Dunkirk, and earned him two tickets to the premiere. It was also virtually the only story of his wartime experiences that he told. Howard Larkin
Reading , Berkshire