Two pieces in the news last week spoke to naval stories of World War Two. Last Friday the 70th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British and French soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, was remembered in a flotilla of small craft that made the Channel crossing.
HMS Monmouth sails alongside the Dunkirk Little Ships flotilla to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the World War Two evacuation
[Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dean Nixon, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
Looking at this picture, it’s hard to believe how small some of the civilian craft were. This is how they must have looked to the German pilots that tried to bomb and strafe them. Very brave.
In the same week, I noted in the NYT the passing of John Finn, the last surviving Congressional Medal of Honor winner from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. He was 100.
John W. Finn, with his wife, Alice, was awarded the Medal of Honor during ceremonies at Pearl Harbor in 1942.
Chief Finn drove into work during the attack, set up a machine gun, and fired at Japanese planes for two and a half hours, suffering many wounds. My favourite part of the obituary is the Chief’s comments on the movie Pearl Harbour that came out in 1999. “It was a damned good movie,” he told The Boston Herald in 2001. “It’s helped educate people who didn’t know about Pearl Harbor and what happened there.”
“I liked it especially,” he said, “because I got to kiss all those pretty little movie actresses.”