Keeping afloat Littlehampton links with Dunkirk’s little ships

LITTLEHAMPTON’S links with the famous “little ships” of the Dunkirk evacuation in the Second World War are being revived in a new project.

Monday, 21st November 2011, 10:00 am

Thousands of boats and ships of all shapes and sizes rescued almost a quarter of a million Allied troops from the French port and its beaches as they retreated in the face of huge German advances.

Boats from Littlehampton were among those making the hazardous trip across the Channel on the rescue mission, at a time when Britain faced the very real possibility of defeat.

Now the town’s museum is making an appeal on behalf of the Heritage Lottery funded project Wartime West Sussex 1939-45, managed by the West Sussex libraries service, for information about the evacuation, in 1940.

The project aims to create an online learning resource about the history of the Second World War in the county, drawing on people with wartime memories of West Sussex and seeking out photographs taken here during the war.

Anyone knowing of any courageous people from Littlehampton, in particular, who owned a boat and went across to rescue British troops, is asked to contact curator Juliet Nye at the museum in Church Street. Photographs of the boats or people who took part in the evacuation are very important to the project, and staff would also like to record people’s memories.

“If you have any information about Littlehampton’s involvement in the Dunkirk evacuation then please do come forward,” said councillor Joyce Bowyer, chairman of the town council’s community resources committee “It is vital that we preserve these stories for future generations.”