More than 50 Dunkirk Little Ships will return to Dunkirk to commemorate the anniversary of Operation Dynamo


A flotilla of Dunkirk Little Ships have begun their journey across the English Channel as they prepare to mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Dynamo.

More than 50 of the small vessels involved in the evacuation of allied troops during the Second World War will travel to Dunkirk for commemorative events.

The flotilla will be escorted by both the RNLI and the Royal Navy during their journey.

Dunkirk Little Ships

Dunkirk Little Ships passing through locks near Teddington

The commemorative trip, held once every five years since 1970, honours the hundreds of vessels that took part in the rescue of more than 338,00 British, French and Belgian soldiers stranded by German forces.

The little ships of Dunkirk acted as shuttles, ferrying soldiers from the beaches to the warships, and many boats carried hundreds of soldiers back to Ramsgate.

Dunkirk Rescue

A statement on the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships (ADLS) website said: “Despite the average age of the Little Ships now being close to 80 years it is anticipated that this return may be the biggest yet.

“The task of taking this many elderly, traditional vessels across one of the world busiest shipping lanes is by no means insignificant. In fact the event is quite unique.

“With the exception of a small number of vessels that are operated by ‘Trusts’, all Little Ships are privately owned and receive no financial or other assistance from any public body or NGO.”

Dunkirk Little Ships

Credit: RNLI

Following the flotillas arrival in Dunkirk, there will be a service at the British Memorial at the Dunkirk Military Cemetery on Friday, with a reception and presentation for ADLS skippers later in the day.

Saturday will see the main commemorative events taking place at the Allied Beach Memorial, before a parade of military vehicles, bands and local organisation throughout the street of the Dunkergue Return Supper.

They’ll be a further day of events on Sunday before the Dunkirk Little Ship leave for their return journey back to Ramsgate on Monday.