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Plaque to be unveiled at site of WWII Dunkirk tragedy

Several events have been taking place to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk rescue mission 'Operation Dynamo'. Credit: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/PA Images

A memorial plaque will be unveiled on Sunday at the site of the MV Crested Eagle, a paddle steamer which was attacked and sunk as thousands of soldiers were rescued from the French coastline during the Second World War.

The ship was targeted by the Germans at Zuydcoote, a few miles north of Dunkirk, during Operation Dynamo, the rescue mission to save British, French and Belgian troops from the German advance across Europe in 1940.

The merchant vessel sank and all 300 soldiers on board were killed.

Later today a commemoration for the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships (ADLS) will be held on the quayside in Dunkirk, next to the famous little ships that were used to rescue men from the beaches.

Veterans have been attending a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuations including a service yesterday at the Allied Beach Memorial.

Veterans return to France to mark Dunkirk rescue mission

Between 26 May and 4 June 1940, the Little Ships rescued almost 338,000 men from the clutches of the Nazis on the beaches at Dunkirk.

Today, two of those men once again clambered on board a little ship and went back to France to commemorate that miracle journey across the channel 75 years ago.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers went with them:


Dunkirk veterans complete 'Little Ships' crossing

Dunkirk veterans Michael Bentall, 94, (left) and Garth Wright (95) on board the Little Ship the Princess Freda Credit: PA

A fleet of "little ships" has arrived in Dunkirk after crossing the Channel in honour of those who carried out one of the most famous missions of the Second World War 75 years ago.

Aboard the Princess Freda, a Thames passenger vessel that took part in the Dunkirk evacuations, were veterans Garth Wright, 95, from Plymouth, and Michael Bentall, 94, who came over from Canada for the anniversary.

'Little Ships' arrive at Dunkirk after crossing Channel

The flotilla of 'Little Ships' has arrived at Dunkirk after crossing the English channel as part of a special event commemorating the 75th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British and Allied forces from France in 1940.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers is with the flotilla, and has tweeted this image:

Eastern mole as Dunkirk little ships arrive off the French coast Credit: ITV News/Dan Rivers

The famous boats took around six-and-a-half hours to make the 30-odd mile journey, the vessels rolling and pitching in the waves.

'Little ships' halfway across Channel en route to Dunkirk

A flotilla of 'little ships' is now halfway across the English Channel as they take part in a special event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Around 50 vessels set off from Ramsgate in Kent this morning, with war-era Spitfires and Hurricanes performing an honorary flypast to mark the voyage.

Many of the shops were part of the daring operation, which helped save the lives of more than 300,000 Allied troops in France.

ITV News correspondent Neil Connery reports:

Veterans hail 'inspiring and thrilling' Dunkirk event

Veterans among those rescued in the Dunkirk evacuation 75 years ago have praised the "inspiring and thrilling" anniversary event.

A flotilla of 50 'little ships' which helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers during the Second World War is making its way to the French port in honour of the occasion.

Michael Bentall, 94, (left) and Garth Wright (95) on board the Little Ship the Princess Freda Credit: PA

Dunkirk veterans Garth Wright, aged 95, from Plymouth, is on board the Thames passenger ship Princess Freda along with former comrade Michael Bentall, 94, who travelled from Canada for the event.

This is a great occasion. They are making much more of it than I thought it was going to be.

I have been back a number of times over the years, but I have never experienced the importance like this one is.

I think it is the little ships that have contributed to the effect of it all. Seeing them all, it is an inspiring and thrilling sight.

– Garth Wright, veteran
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