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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Little ships set for Dunkirk trip
Boats on the way to the evacuation of Dunkirk
Vessels in the original WWII operation will re-enact the journey
A fleet of 'Little Ships' is to re-enact one of the most important operations of WWII.

Hundreds of fishing boats and pleasure yachts crossed the Channel between 26 May and 4 June 1940 to help evacuate Allied forces from the Dunkirk beaches.

To honour Operation Dynamo, 65 boats that took part in the original rescue - one for every year since it took place - will set off from Ramsgate in Kent.

The vessels will leave on 26 May and be escorted by HMS Severn.

'Sight to behold'

In 1940, the owners of the crafts responded to a desperate call from the British Admiralty after thousands of Allied troops were trapped in France.

If Operation Dynamo had not been a success - transporting 338,000 troops from the French coast to safety - historians believe the war effort may have been critically damaged before it started.

The re-enactment takes place every five years.

Bob Bayford, from Thanet District council, said: "To see the sea transform and fill with these Little Ships is a sight to behold.

"The Little Ships played an integral role in victory in WWII and seeing this re-enactment will be a fascinating and educational experience."

Little Ships in pictures
02 Jun 00 |  UK

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