Trauma of Dunkirk

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters to the editor -

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.

Bed­ford

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

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