Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Great Betty and Dunkirk

The Professor and I don't get out to see a lot of movies since we've entered the phase of life called Why Don't We Just See That On Netflix in Our PJs? (It comes directly after What Is This Spot On My Shirt? Kid Snot? and right before This Pre-Made Costco Dinner Can Feed Us Tonight, Lunch Tomorrow and Left-Overs on Friday.)

But we made an exception the other night by going to see Dunkirk because People With Good Hair Being Pursued By Nazis is his favorite movie genre (hence his love for The Sound of Music). We loved it even though my only quibble was that you never did get the scope of 400,000 people being evacuated off a small stretch of land. It has a really neat construction which I won't spoil but which was so rewarding to watch unfold.

Dunkirk rescued French troops disembarking in England (1940).

I went back to The Great Betty's short autobiography and traced the route she describes. (The military nursing begins around page 16.) It sounds like her nursing group missed being trapped in Dunkirk, proper, by the slimmest of margins.

"Of course the war hadn't really started then. Although it seemed exciting enough..."

"...landed a few miles from Doullens..."

"After a week or two, however, the war really began...the war was creeping nearer now, with Holland invaded and Belgium and presently, France..."

"...he decided that the eight of us should go north and join up...near Lille."

"The roads were jammed with refugees, cars, carts, bicycles, people walking, and not all in the same direction..."

"We reached Boulogne after getting behind the enemy lines..."

"Boulogne was expecting an attack at any moment. They added kindly that we might just get the last hospital ship on the point of leaving, if we were very quick..."

If you'll watch this time-lapse progress of the war, I think you'll spot where The Great Betty must have been around the one minute mark.

And here's a close up of the pertinent areas.


  1. Oh, my gosh, that time-lapse is amazing. The creator has a whole YouTube channel of similar historical events. Thanks for that link!

  2. Yes, that map is a real treasure...thank you, my British husband just asked if we learned European history in America....I had to reply 'not much'...many others learned more than I did.

  3. Such an interesting map; thanks for sharing it!