Monthly Archives: May 2017

Samuel Pepys’ last written words

It was on Friday 31st May 1669 that Samuel Pepys wrote the final entry in his Diary. His nine-and-a-half-year diary keeping was, he said, at an end because his eyes were deteriorating.   His closing words were:- ‘And so I betake to that course, which is almost as much as to see myself go into my […]

Celebrating the return of King Charles II

In 1660, England’s Parliament declared that May 29th each year would a public holiday, “to be for ever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he entering London that day.” The ‘returning King’ was Charles II and the public holiday would be called ‘Oak […]

Evacuate and fight another day

On Monday 27th May 1940 – the first full day of the evacuation – one cruiser, eight destroyers, and 26 other craft were active and Admiralty officers combed nearby boatyards seeking small craft that could ferry personnel from the beaches out to larger craft in the harbour. In this same day the Luftwaffe heavily bombed […]

The Challenge begins

On Saturday 25th May 1940, the Luftwaffe focused their attention on Allied pockets holding out at Calais, Lille, and Amiens.  They did not attack Dunkirk. Calais was held by the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and surrendered on Sunday 26th May.  On that same Sunday 26th May 1940, at 15:30, Hitler ordered the Panzer groups to continue […]

The Dunkirk attack begins

On Friday 24th May 1940 Hitler paid a visit to Army Group A headquarters and endorsed the order of the previous day. The German forces had captured the port of Boulogne and had now surrounded Calais. The engineers of the 2nd Panzer Division had built five bridges over the Canal Line and only one British […]

The Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk 1940

The Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk in the 2nd World War is also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk.  Over the next few days I want to tell you the story. Our story begins on Thursday 23rd May 1940 when the German Field Marshal Karl Rundstedt ordered his Panzer units to halt, concerned about the […]

A Snippet from 23rd May

How do you fancy honoring the Roman god Vulcan? In ancient Rome this day was a festival in honor of Vulcan – the god of fire and metalworking.  It was marked by a ceremony called the Tubilustrium.  This involved cleaning and purifying the tubae – the straight trumpets used during funerals, sacrifices, public games and […]