A memory of Dunkirk then and now

by Hettie
(London, England)

My Grandfather lied about his age to get into World War One and then when World War Two came around he again lied about his age to take part again.


As a qualified Waterman and Lighterman who was used to working on the River Thames in London in peacetime, during WW2 he was asked to take part in the Dunkirk landings during World War Two to get the Allied troops off the French beaches as the German army was advancing and about to
conquer our troops who were stranded with no means of escape.

He set off on a river launch named the Clifton Castle and made many trips over and succeeded in saving many lives. He was awarded a medal for this bravery and a certificate (unfortunately in much later life he lost both these momentoes when his wallet was stolen).

I used to go up and down the River Thames with him as a child in the 1960's, often on the Clifton Castle.

Imagine my surprise when we went on a corporate day out a few years ago and joined a river cruise from Putney Bridge to Westminster and boarded the Clifton Castle - 60 years on she is still going up and down the River Thames with her fantastic history totally hidden from all her passengers!

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