4 June 2010

Tuesday 4th June 1940

Rather warm, brilliant cloudless day, but very boisterous cooling N.E.wind: a door slamming day. Paid Uncle Alf and Aunt Hannah a visit and to see their garden. In evening along rail path: saw special trains conveying members of the British Expeditionary Force returning from France and Flanders after being surrounded by the German hordes and barely escaping from annihilation.

On this day:

  • Dunkirk evacuation completed. 180 UK aircraft lost; six French and UK ships sunk, 75,000 vehicles abandoned along with 11,000 machine guns and thousands of other artillery pieces and other equipment. 
  • Winston Churchill, to Parliament, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing ground, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender."
  • On radio, the same words were spoken as if by Churchill - who said he was rather busy - but in fact by a stand-in actor impersonator, Norman Shelley of the BBC repertory staff. Churchill approved the broadcast, saying, "Very nice. He's even got my teeth right."

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