Dunkirk - Battle of France - Retreat to Dunkirk

To plan and arrange your tour, call us on: 01709 385500

Alternatively, if you’re interested in booking a tour for a smaller group, take a look at what our sister site offers: legerbattlefields.co.uk

Dunkirk’s evacuation was code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk. During World War II Allied soldiers were evacuated from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk in Northern France between May and June 1940.

Dunkirk evacuation - Operation Dynamo
dunkirk evacuation

Battle of France

During the Battle of France, German troops surrounded and cut off a large numbers of British, French, and Belgian troops and the operation commenced. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this a ”colossal military disaster" saying "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. He hailed their rescue as a "miracle of deliverance".

Day 1

Stand 1 - We start by examining some of the fighting in the Battle of France during May 1940.

Stand 2 - We follow the fortunes of the Durham Light Infantry and Royal Welch Fusiliers covering the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force to the coast at St Venant. In addition we will visit the memorial and nearby Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.

Stand 3 - At the elevated town of Cassel we examine the defensive action by the Glosters and Ox & Bucks Light Infantry in delaying the German advance.

Stand 4 - Next is a visit to the site at Esquelbecq near Wormhout where a massacre of British troops took place by the SS. In recent years the French authorities and British veteran associations have restored a barn as a shrine to the men murdered at this spot.


Day 2

Stand 5 - At Bray Dunes we examine the story of the evacuation beaches and those little ships taking the troops directly from the shoreline.

Stand 6 - Following on, we visit the East Mole in Dunkirk Harbour and hear of its important role in the evacuation of troops straight onto the ships.

Stand 7 - Nearby, We will spend time at the recently refurbished and excellent Operation Dynamo War Museum. Housed in Bastion 32, it served as the headquarters for the French and Allied forces during the Battle of Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo. It tells the incredible story of the battle and of the evacuation of more than 338.000 allied soldiers.

Stand 8 - Finally, we will end the day with a visit to Dunkirk Town Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing commemorating more than 4,500 casualties of the British Expeditionary Force who died in the campaign of 1939-40 and who have no known grave.

Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery

Suggested Itineraries

All tours can be tailor-made to suit your needs. Some groups have specific sites that they wish to visit including graves, where they may wish to lay a wreath. Others like to combine a history tour with some leisure time, such as a day visit to Bruges, a visit to Bellewaerde Theme Park outside Ypres or add on a visit to Disneyland® Paris.

What is included:

Day 1 tour

  • Return Executive Class coach travel from school or pick up point
  • Return travel on Eurotunnel
  • Entrance to museum
  • UK Guide throughout your tour

Price from £69.00 (based on 40 - 46 paying students)

Day 2 tour

  • As above
  • Hostel / Hotel accommodation on dinner, bed and breakfast basis

Price from £149.00 (based on 40 - 46 paying students)

Staff Travel Free based on 1:10

Jacqui Shaw - Our Head of Schools and Colleges Battlefield Tours

Expert guidance and planning

Here at Holts, we believe that Battlefield Tours are an important part of how a student learns about history, and perhaps even themselves. We have passion, experience and the knowledge to help make the most of your Battlefield Tour and make it an experience for your students to remember for a lifetime.

Our Head of Schools and Colleges Battlefield Tours, Jacqui Shaw, was educated at Reading and Cambridge, and has worked as a teacher for over 20 years. Inspired to learn more after visiting the Battlefields herself on a school tour, she has been returning ever since and is excited to be able to bring the experience to new generations of students. With Holts, we seek to bring history to life, understand the past, and ensure a memorable and rewarding Battlefield Tour for your students.

To arrange and plan your tour, call us on 01709 385500