Dunkirk Harbour and the Beaches

by Phil Johnson | August 26th, 2011

As promised, here are some photographs of Dunkirk and the evacuation beaches. Dunkirk was virtually demolished in May and June 1940, rebuilt during the war, then extensively rebuilt in the 1970s. The harbour in particular has been changed beyond virtually all recognition, however, in the photograph below, taken from the highest point in the harbour, you can see the key feature, with the East Mole (itself rebuilt) running out to sea on the right-centre of the photo.

In the next photo below, you can see a close up of the concrete bunker in the centre of the first picture. This bunker is reputed to have been used by Capt Bill Tennant (RN), the architect of the evacuation on the French side of the Channel, as the Command Post for his Naval Shore Party. As you can see, it is perfectly placed to monitor the mass evacuation from the East Mole. On the negative side, it is right in the target area for German bombers. You can also see how the East Mole stretches out to sea beyond the main harbour. Imagine the original flimsy structure, packed with thousands of soldiers, with numerous and varied ships and boats tied up alongside it; all of them being bombed, shelled and strafed!

In the next photo, you can see a view of Bray Dunes, looking west towards Dunkirk. It is a peaceful scene now, but in 1940 it was crowded with thousands of men, abandoned vehicles and equipment, the dead and dying.

The final photo in this post is a view looking back towards Dunkirk Town and inner harbour. In May and June 1940, this harbour was blocked with sunken ships, and the town beyond was on fire. Above all of this, hung a huge black pall of smoke from the ruptured oil storage tanks nearby.

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Seelöwe Nord is the online home of Andy Johnson, a war fiction novelist. Seelöwe Nord is a war novel that tells the alternative history of Operation Sealion, the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. Followed by Thunder in May, and the recently released Crucible of Fate, the trilogy of War Fiction remains a popular read within the genre.

Andy has also started to publish small Leadership and Management Booklets drawing from his extensive experience across many sectors and industries, both military and civilian, the first of which is entitled Captains of the Gate and is now available for download on eReaders directly from Amazon.