After failing in its mission in France to push against the Germany offensive the British were forced to drop back to the coastal town of Dunkirk. It was here the major evacuation would take place.
Leaving heavy weaponry behind, many of the infantrymen made their way to the beaches, port and sand dunes of the French coastal town. Here the men waited for a way back home while under fire from the German army who had chased them down.
Some three hundred and thirty-eight thousand soldiers were hastily evacuated. A fleet of over eight hundred boats came to the rescue. Known as the little shops of Dunkirk, this flotilla was made up of fishing boats, merchant marine boats and lifeboats all called into service for the evacuation. Around seven thousand servicemen were left as prisoners of war.
While a defeat, Dunkirk was a great propaganda victory. The British portrayed the evacuation as an example of their resolve and defiance against the Nazis.