Culture Magazine

British Imperturbability: Grenadiers Guards Under Fire At Dunkirk

By Sfalcont

posted by author Charles McCain


The Grenadier Guards rehearse for Trooping the Colour to celebrate the Queen’s birthday on June 12. Captain Alex Rawlins inspecting the men of *Nijmegen Company, 1 Grenadier Guards at Wellington Barracks before moving onto Horseguards for the Trooping the Colour rehearsals.

caption from London Daily Telegraph with photo by Heathcliff O’Malley 

At Dunkirk  end May 1940

“…We went straight into the Mole (a long wooden pier) at Dunkirk, which was under shell fire from the Germans. We took off what was left of the Guards. They marched down the Mole in threes and in step. The NCO said, ‘Guards, halt,  Guards, left turn, Guards will embark.’ I think there were about 1000 of them and they embarked under fire in about 20 minutes…when the ship began to leave the Guards began to clean their weapons and get ready for action…The Guards paraded on the quay side at Dover and marched to the trains. Unshaven, tired out, very strained indeed with rifles spotless. In my opinion the finest soldiers in the world….”

from the diary of Lt-Col. P.B. Longdon, MD. RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corp). as cited in Dunkirk: the Great Escape by A.J. Barker

* “Nijmegen Company… is an independent company which was created when the 2nd Battalion was placed into suspended animation as a result of the 1993 round of defence cuts. Nijmegen Company carries the Colours of the 2nd Battalion and maintains its customs and traditions.”

from the website of the Grenadier Guards.

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