“There was every kind of ship I that saw coming in this morning, and every one of them was crammed full of tired battle-stained and blood-stained British soldiers.”
Reporting from Dover, Bernard Stubbs describes the scene as the ships return from Dunkirk and the troops disembark. He then follows the soldiers onto trains as they head home and also boards a ship to see what the conditions were like. Stubbs notes that, regardless of the strife, the port was well organised and the troops in good spirits.
Recorded: 31 May 1940
Duration: 4 minutes, 23 seconds
From the BBC archives: A member of the crew aboard HMS Malcolm recounts the evacuation at Dunkirk.
Mechanic F. C. Turner recounts how HMS Malcolm was sent to Dunkirk to help pick up troops, including soldiers who had to be rescued from the SS Clan McAlister which was bombed by German aircraft. He describes in detail the scene at Dunkirk, including when the ship came close to being bombed, and the notorious mud that hindered the evacuation. Typically, he had no food or sleep and only one cup of tea throughout the entire mission. This recording was made for the programme ‘Dunkirk: A Personal Perspective’ (broadcast 1950).
‘A Bay on the South Coast of New Holland, January 1802’ by William Westall. Painting in collection of Ministry of Defence (via BBC Your Paintings).
Fascinated by the potential mineral wealth of the newly-discovered Terra Australis (Australia), the Admiralty sent Captain Matthew Flinders to follow elements of Captain James Cook’s map and to explore, particularly, the South Coast of the new continent – between what is now known as Albany and Melbourne. The artist accompanying the voyage in 1801 was the very young William Westall. This particular painting is typical of his developing lyrical style: a superb landscape painter, his particular strengths were his ability to show strange trees and vegetation, such as the snake which is shown in the foreground. The ship at anchor in the bay is HMS Investigator.
An interesting radio documentary from the BBC regarding Britain’s development of the Chevaline programme and the decision to keep Denis Healey out of the loop.
The Bomb, the Chancellor and Britain’s Nuclear Secrets
BBC Radio 4
Polaris A3TK Chevaline PAC and re-entry vehicle.
In the first edition of a new series, Mike investigates documents which suggest that Labour Chancellor Denis Healey was kept in the dark over plans to modernise Polaris, Britain’s nuclear weapons system in the mid-1970s.
Dubbed Chevaline, the upgrade programme was top secret and highly controversial, that would eventually cost hundreds of millions of pounds more than originally estimated. And all this at a time of economic hardship. Striving to keep his split party together on the highly sensitive issue of nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Harold Wilson restricted decision-making to a small circle of ministers.
But Thomson discovers papers which suggest that officials may have gone to extreme lengths to ensure that Chevaline was kept on track, proposing to withold key information from a sceptical Chancellor on the “need to know” basis. Was national security the real reason or were other motives at play?
Mike puts the claims to former Cabinet Ministers Tony Benn and Lord Owen, formerly David Owen, Foreign Secretary in the late 70s.
Producer: Laurence Grissell
Good grief. Healey, Benn and Owen. Those are names from the 1970s/80s for any Brit to conjure with.
Denis Healey interviewed for the programme.
Tony Benn interviewed for the programme.
David Owen interviewed for the programme.