About Dunkirk War Museum

The Dunkirk War Museum or “Memorial du Souvenir” tells the story of the famous World War II allied evacuation of Dunkirk. The Dunkirk evacuation took place between 26 May and 4 June 1940 and was an operation - codenamed Dynamo - to rescue hundreds of thousands of British, French, Canadian, and Belgian soldiers cut off by advancing German forces.

At the time, the Germans had control of Calais and there were insufficient Royal Navy vessels to carry all of the troops. Thus, in a campaign widely regarded as miraculous, heroic and bold, the evacuation of Dunkirk was carried out not just by military ships but by civilian ones.

Hundreds of small boats and ships including even fishing vessels and pleasure boats were mobilised for use in the mission. While this command was given by the admiralty, many of the boats were captained by civilians. Casualties ran into the thousands as did the number of soldier taken hostage yet, despite coming under heavy bombardment, these “little ships” together with the warships, managed to evacuate around 338,000 troops.

Located in the former headquarters of the French army, The Dunkirk War Museum explores the build up to and the events which took place as part of Operation Dynamo. There is a film about Dunkirk and it also houses numerous objects relating to this event including weaponry, artillery and other pieces found on the beaches.

Related Places

Dunkirk Cemetery and Memorial

The Dunkirk Cemetery and Memorial commemorate the commonwealth troops that fought there in both World Wars.

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