THE TRUE STORY OF THE 41,000 BRITISH SOLDIERS WHO WERE LEFT BEHIND AFTER THE EVACUATION OF DUNKIRK, MAY 1940
'Meticulously researched, very well written and deeply moving' Andrew Roberts
'Few readers will be unmoved by Sean Longden's account' Dominic Sandbrook
At 2am on the morning of the 3rd of June 1940, General Harold Alexander searched along the quayside, holding onto his megaphone and called "Is anyone there? Is anyone there?" before turning his boat back towards England.
Tradition tells us that the dramatic events of the evacuation of Dunkirk, in which 300,000 BEF servicemen escaped the Nazis, was a victory gained from the jaws of defeat. For the first time, rather than telling the tale of the 300,000 who escaped, Sean Longden reveals the story of the 40,000 men sacrificed in the rearguard battles.
On the beaches and sand dunes, besides the roads and amidst the ruins lay the corpses of hundreds who had not reached the boats. Elsewhere, hospitals full of the sick and wounded who had been left behind to receive treatment from the enemy's doctors. And further afield - still fighting hard alongside their French allies - was the entire 51st Highland Division, whose war had not finished as the last boats slipped away.
Also scattered across the countryside were hundreds of lost and lonely soldiers. These 'evaders' had also missed the boats and were now desperately trying to make their own way home, either by walking across France or rowing across the channel. The majority, however, were now prisoners of war who were forced to walk on the death marches all the way to the camps in Germany and Poland, where they were forgotten until 1945.
'Sean Longden is a rising name in military history, and is able to uncover the missing stories of the Second World War' Guardian
Sean Longden studied history at the University of London. He has conducted hundreds of interviews with servicemen to write this book. He is also the author of the acclaimed To the Victor the Spoils and Hitler's British Slaves. His forthcoming book, T-Force will be published by Constable in autumn 2009.