The theme of the Newark Caribbean Club carnival float in September 1995 was the nativity. Becky designed and painted the adornments. Her shepherd sleeping peacefully among his flock is today’s advent picture.
This morning I printed enough copies of yesterday’s scanned pictures for each of the three sisters to have one of everything and Becky to have a select few she wanted.
In looking at Doreen’s captions on the reverse of each picture, Jackie and I realised that each of our fathers had been at Dunkirk, because one of Don’s was taken on his return from that victory that our little private boat owners and their boats snatched from military defeat. At Dunkirk from 27th May and 4th June 1940 it seemed that everything in England that floated was sent across the channel to gather up our retreating soldiers from the beach.
This flotilla of 700 little ships consisting of merchant marine and fishing boats, pleasure craft and lifeboats, assisted in the rescue of 338,000 British and French troops cornered by the German army. Some simply ferried waiting soldiers, some of whom stood shoulder deep in water for hours awaiting their turn, to the larger ships waiting off shore. Others carried their passengers all the way to Ramsgate. Many of these vessels had not been in the open sea before and many leaked alarmingly, especially for a non-swimmer like Dad. His job in the evacuation process, until it became his turn to clamber onto an ancient fishing boat and pray all the way across the channel, was to repeatedly drive out to and beyond the front line to load his truck with exhausted comrades. That is all he ever told us about his wartime experience.
What part Don played I do not know, but let us not forget that what is history to our children was an experience never to be forgotten by our fathers, and that we should be grateful that we never had to know it.
Ian joined us just before lunch today. Mat and Tess arrived at 9.30 for our dinner of hot chicken and korma egg curries with savoury rice and parottas. We drank Kingfisher or Peroni according to taste