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1940 Dunkirk Veterans' Association

1940 DVA
 
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BACKGROUND

Operation 'Dynamo' was the code name given to the evacuation of the Allied Armies from Dunkirk and neighbouring beaches between 26 May and 4 June 1940 - the celebrated 'Miracle of Dunkirk'.

During that short period some 338,000 troops reached safety in England after being evacuated mainly in Royal and Merchant Navy ships, aided by Allied ships and a mixed fleet of little ships, from Dunkirk and from the beaches stretching 10 miles eastwards from the entrance to Dunkirk harbour.

Most of those saved subsequently took part in operations in various parts of the world and helped to liberate Europe in 1944 and 1945.

The New York Times of 1 June 1940 wrote "so long as the English tongue survives the word Dunkirk will be spoken with reverence", and the phrase 'Dunkirk spirit' has become synonymous with refusing to give up in time of crisis.

THE 1940 DUNKIRK VETERANS' ASSOCIATION

Was one of the first ex-Service organisations to be formed from personnel who served in the Forces of the Crown during the Second World War; it was founded at Leeds in 1953 and registered as a War Charity, and its Central Benevolent Fund is registered with the Charity Commission.

Four Veterans of Dunkirk

From left to right:
J.H.Else (National Chairman), Lawrence Martin, Robert Pendleton MM, W.K.Ballinger

NUMBER OF BRANCHES/NUMBER OF MEMBERS

At its peak the Association had well in excess of 100 branches in the United Kingdom and others in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada and North America, with over 20,000 members world-wide. Sadly, with the inevitable ravages of time, the Association is in accelerating decline and THE DECISION HAD BEEN TAKEN TO DISBAND ON 30 JUNE 2000 (accordingly all further enrolment ceased from 1 August 1997).

Virtually every one of the Association's surviving members cannot be less than 80 years of age by the year 2000 so, as with the 'Old Contemptibles' from the Great War of 1914-1918, it was felt the time had come to more than justify closing down legally, in good order and with good will before age and illness take further toll.

ITS AIMS

To assist all needy members and their families and to foster the spirit of comradeship which existed on and off the Dunkirk beaches in 1940.

MEMBERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS

All Service personnel who served at Dunkirk and other ports of evacuation between 10 May and June 1940 have been eligible for membership, including all personnel of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) who were taken prisoner of war as a result of that 1940 Campaign. Associate membership was also granted to those otherwise not qualified, but who had assisted at the ports of evacuation, during the relevant period.

Any enquiries regarding the DVA should be addressed to Mrs Kathleen C Norcliffe, 14, Meadow View, Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield, UK

 

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