‘I’ve come to rescue you’: My grandfather at Dunkirk

Guy Farrer in SuffolkImage copyright
Ann Bell

I went to see the film Dunkirk since of my grandfather, Guy Farrer. He was one of the volunteers who went over to rescue British and French troops from the beaches. He didn’t speak about it much but he wrote an comment of his experiences. This is his story…

In May 1940, Guy Farrer found himself coming the beaches of Dunkirk in a tiny open boat. One of the trawlers in his way had just hit a cave and had “gone up in a ruinous explosion”.

In the mist, it took him a little while to make out the thousands of soldiers sitting on the beach.

The charge he had been given struck him as “crazy”.

“Fancy trying to leave a whole army from a shoal beach with the assist of paddle steamers and sailing barges!”

And things got crazier when he tried to convince the soldiers to get on his boat.

I lowered myself into the peaceful roller and climbed up the beach into France. we approached the nearest organisation of soldiers, some of whom were personification cards.

“I’ve come to rescue you,” we pronounced modestly.

“Say that again, mate,” pronounced the corporal.

“I’ve come to take you off,” we announced.

“Where to, mate?” asked the corporal. He sounded suspicious.

“To England.”

“How we going to get there, mate?” asked the corporal.

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Ann Bell

Image caption

Bethany’s grandfather Guy, graphic in Suffolk before the war

I took a low breath. “We are going by boat… We are incompetent to bring the boats any closer since the water is too shallow. You will therefore have to wade out to them. When we have a full element of troops in the boats, we will quarrel you out to the trawlers which are watchful to take you back to England. Is that clear?”

The physical looked out to sea.

“I don’t see no trawlers and we don’t see no boats.”

I looked behind me. The obscurity had thickened. There were no boats of any outline visible.

At the time of Dunkirk, Guy Farrer was 29 years old and a civilian.

He had only got concerned in the depletion operation since he was holding a march with a yacht chandler named Capt OM Watts, in Albemarle Street, London.

A penetrating sailor, Guy was scheming for his Yachtmaster’s certificate exam, so that he could join the Navy as an officer.

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Ann Bell

Image caption

Guy’s account, including a outing to the former King George V’s barber

During the class, the write rang.

Capt Watts immune himself and was divided for utterly a time.

‘That was the Admiralty,’ he told us when he returned. “They are requisitioning anything that will boyant and are asking everybody who can hoop a vessel to help take the troops off the Dunkirk beaches. we have been asked to interest for volunteers. Any takers?”

A sputter of fad flowed by the room. There were about 30 of us, all youngsters. “When do we go?” pronounced one, reaching for his bowler hat.

They were told to arrange in the City at 8pm that evening. There wasn’t time to go home, so they went to a pub.

“We laughed and joked like a garland of rugger supporters on their way to Twickenham,” Guy wrote.

“This was the biggest journey of the lives so far.

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Ann Bell

Image caption

Guy with his wife Peggy, who packaged him a span of pyjamas for the excursion to Dunkirk

“You will giggle when we tell you this was going to be my first outing to unfamiliar parts. People in my income joint didn’t go abroad much in those days and… we was utterly vehement on that comment alone.”

His wife, Peggy, my grandmother, came up from their home in Richmond to see him off. She brought him a carrier with sweaters, chocolate – and – “you mustn’t laugh” – wrote my grandfather, a span of pyjamas.

At Tilbury, he was reserved to a vessel trustworthy to a trawler. “I don’t know how prolonged these lifeboats have been out of commission,” an aged Naval commander told them. “But we put them in the water at thirteen hundred this afternoon, and they are still afloat so they will substantially be all right.”

Guy began to wish he hadn’t come.

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Getty Images

Image caption

A ‘motley way of vessels’ discovered 338,226 troops over 10 days

They set off towards Dunkirk, “part of the motliest way of vessels which had ever put to sea in time of war”.

As they approached the French coast, German aircraft seemed and a dogfight with British planes began. Bombs fell alarmingly close to their boat.

“I began to feel a little better as we neared the beaches,” Guy wrote.

But then he was faced with the plea of trying to rescue the soldiers. After unwell to convince the physical to come with him, he walked serve along the beach until he found an officer.

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Getty Images

Image caption

British soldiers fire rifles at German aircraft aggressive rescue ships at Dunkirk

The officer was also suspicious, but eventually motionless my grandfather wasn’t an rivalry agent when Guy told him he favourite going to the Fox pub, median up Richmond Hill.

Before they could get moving, there was “a noisy roar”.

I flung myself to the belligerent as an aircraft with its guns blazing, flew low over the beach. we wasn’t means to see its markings since my eyes were firmly sealed but it was clearly not one of ours. we looked around after it had left awaiting to see passed and bleeding everywhere but miraculously nobody seemed to have been hit.

“I wish they wouldn’t do that,” pronounced the officer with considerable cool. we tried to duplicate his dispassionate tinge and said, “I suspect you get utterly used to that arrange of thing.” “Not a bit of it, old man,” he replied, obscure his voice. “What you get used to is sanctimonious you are not as frightened as your men are.”

We walked down to the water’s corner with the twenty men he had selected… The officer watching my concerned expression, pronounced accidentally “I suspect there is some-more than one boat?” “Oh yes,” we said. “There’s several…”

At this moment opportunely the obscurity lifted… and there before us… was a good armada of rescue vessels, the smaller ones close in and the biggest ones utterly a prolonged way off shore. Ships and boats of all sizes and shapes, some at anchor, some delicately underway, some dull and some packaged with men, some that would never cruise again, like the one in the harbour, which was blazing from branch to stern.

Over the next few hours, the volunteers struggled to quarrel the soldiers out to the watchful trawlers, in the complicated unmanageable lifeboats, which kept getting grounded in the shallows. They had to make the troops wade out into deeper water before they could board.

Once aboard the trawler, where “every in. of rug space” was occupied, they set off for Dover.

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Ann Bell

Image caption

Guy assimilated the Royal Navy after volunteering to rescue British forces from Dunkirk

But their excursion was a brief one. Less than a mile from the beach, they hit a submerged mutilate and became stuck. “A shrill plaint of dismay” went up.

They were eventually discovered from the trawler by a destroyer. There was no room for kit, so Guy had to desert my grandmother’s delicately packaged rucksack.

Back in Dover, Guy schooled with service that he was not going to be sent back to Dunkirk, as things were “hotting up” there.

He slept many of the way on the sight back to London, woken from time to time by the locals, who greeted it with cheers and cups of tea.

The attainment at Victoria brought me neatly back to reality. we rejoined my peers in the Richmond sight and by half past 9 we was in bed with my wife.

I assimilated the speed since it seemed at the time to be the right thing to do. we spent many of my time there wishing we hadn’t come and we was profoundly beholden when they wouldn’t let me go back.

The aim of my story is to show what can occur to an typical immature bureau worker should he occur to be in a certain room in Albemarle Street at a sold moment in history.

After Dunkirk, Guy assimilated the Navy in 1941 and served in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. He eventually became a Lieutenant Commander. He died in 1984 at the age of 73.

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Posted by on Aug 12 2017. Filed under Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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