Dunkirk ‘Little Ships’ add a splash of colour to Ipswich Waterfront for memorial event
PUBLISHED: 18:14 27 May 2018
© Stephen Waller
Little ships involved in rescuing soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk added a splash of colour to Ipswich Waterfront this weekend.
More than a dozen – around 20 in total – of the vessels were docked at Haven Marina for a memorial event marking their role in transporting thousands of men from the French coast 78 years ago.
It began with a parade by cadets and veterans around the marina – which was followed by a wreath laying ceremony to commemorate those who took part in Operation Dynamo.
During the operation more than 330,000 soldiers were retrieved from the beaches of Dunkirk in the north of France by ships of all shapes and sizes.
The boats, often known as the Little Ships, spent 10 days carrying soldiers back across the north sea.
Around 10,000 men never made it home from Dunkirk.
Yesterday’s service was led by the associations honorary chaplain Reverend Gordon Warren.
He paid tribute to those who went out of their way to aid the soldiers at Dunkirk.
“Let us remember and never forget the sacrifice of the precious few who saved the many,” said Mr Warren.
“Such miracles are too important to forget or rubbish.”
During the service he also highlighted the role of Peter Haines, the 14-year-old boy from Kessingland who insisted on joining the crews setting off for Dunkirk despite his young age.
Mr Warren also spoke of the admiration we should have for the ships which still remain long after the war has ended.
“They should all by now have been have been pensioned off and got free television licenses and yet they are proudly displaying their courage for all to observe.”
The service was also attended by a number of dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare Countess of Euston.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin and the newly invested mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley were also present.
The event was organised with the help of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, which aims to preserve both the memory of the ships’ voyage but also the remaining vessels themselves.
After the service members of the public were invited to view the boats and learn about their stories.