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British Ships Mark 70 Years Since Dunkirk Evacuation


Men play music as they attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 'operation dynamo' in Dunkirk, western France, 27 May 2010

Men play music as they attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 'operation dynamo' in Dunkirk, western France, 27 May 2010

A group of boats that helped rescue Allied troops from French shores during World War Two crossed the English Channel Thursday to mark the evacuation's 70th anniversary.

Thursday's fleet included about 50 of the so-called "little ships" involved in the rescue from the French city of Dunkirk.

It was 70 years ago when Britain called for all possible vessels to help save troops trapped on Dunkirk's beaches by advancing Nazi German forces. The smaller boats were needed to ferry the troops to larger ships, which were unable to reach the shores because of shallow waters.

Hundreds of vessels responded, many of them private fishing boats or yachts.

The evacuation, known as Operation Dynamo, rescued about 338,000 troops between May 27 and June 4, 1940.

Wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described the operation as a "miracle of deliverance." It is still a strong source of pride in Britain.

Veterans saved in the evacuation took part in Thursday's reenactment.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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