Fleet is marking the evacuation 70 years ago of 338,000 troops from the beaches of Dunkirk

A fleet of ‘little ships‘ set out across the Channel this morning to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, the attempt to rescue British, French and Belgian troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940.

They departed Ramsgate bound for the French coastal town in convoy with HMS Monmouth after a departure ceremony featuring the Parachute Regimental Band and a 200-voice choir.

The fleet includes 50 original little ships that took part in Operation Dynamo as well as veterans of the evacuation. On arrival in Dunkirk after the 8-hour crossing, rose petals will be scattered and doves released.

The evacuation 70 years ago was described by Churchill as a “miracle of deliverance” after 338,000 troops were picked up off the beaches and ferried back to England between 24 May and 4 June 1940.

Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire