The theme of the Newark Caribbean Club carnival float in September 1995 was the nativity. Becky's Float design 9.95 Becky designed and painted the adornments.  Her shepherd sleeping peacefully among his flock is today’s advent picture.

This morning I printed enough copies of yesterday’s scanned pictures for each of the three sisters to have one of everything and Becky to have a select few she wanted.

In looking at Doreen’s captions on the Don Rivett 1940reverse of each picture, Jackie and I realised that each of our fathers had been at Dunkirk, because one of Don’s was taken on his return from that victory that our little private boat owners and their boats snatched from military defeat.  At Dunkirk from 27th May and  4th June 1940 it seemed that everything in England that floated was sent across the channel to gather up our retreating soldiers from the beach. Unknown-1images-1
UnknownThis flotilla of 700 little ships consisting of merchant marine and fishing boats, pleasure craft and lifeboats,  assisted in the rescue of 338,000 British and French troops cornered by the German army.  Some simply ferried waiting soldiers, some of whom stood shoulder deep in water for hours awaiting their turn, to the larger ships waiting off shore.  Unknown-3Others carried their passengers all the way to Ramsgate.  Many of these vessels had not been in the open sea before and many leaked alarmingly, especially for a non-swimmer like Dad.  His job in the evacuation process, until it became his turn to clamber onto an ancient fishing boat and pray all the way across the channel, was to repeatedly drive out to and beyond the front line to load his truck with exhausted comrades. That is all he ever told us about his wartime experience.

What part Don played I do not know, but let us not forget that what is history to our children was an experience never to be forgotten by our fathers, and that we should be grateful that we never had to know it.

Ian joined us just before lunch today.  Mat and Tess arrived at 9.30 for our dinner of hot chicken and korma egg curries with savoury rice and parottas.  We drank Kingfisher or Peroni according to taste

18 responses to “Dunkirk”

  1. For the first time, I have realized that the Dunkirk boat lift, employing private boats, was replicated by the Mariel boat lift from Cuba in 1980. I do hope that our children and grandchildren will not forget experiences of the previous generation.

  2. Heart-touching, tear-bringing. Always ever grateful to those who served. Thinking right now especially of Jackie’s Dad and your Dad.
    Yes, ever aware that was is “just” history today was lived by our ancestors.
    PS…Love the shepherd and his sheep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.