Over 50 Dunkerque Little Ships are due to take part in this weekend's commemorative return to mark the 70th anniversary of the evacuation

More than 50 Dunkerque Little Ships are expected to take part in this weekend’s 70th anniversary commemorative return to the French port, which played an integral role in the rescue of Allied Forces during World War II.

The boats are due to sail from Ramsgate at 7am tomorrow and are expected to arrive in Dunkerque at around 3pm. The fleet is due to make the return journey on Monday 31 May.

As many of the boats are more than 80 years old, Friday 28 May has been set aside as an alternative departure date if bad weather prevents departure. The fleet will be escorted across the Channel by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth, patrol boat HMS Raider, and an RNLI lifeboat.

While the ‘little ships’ are often remembered for bringing troops back to the UK from Dunkerque, the main role they played in 1940 was in evacuating troops from the beaches and harbour and taking them to larger vessels offshore.