Evacuation of Dunkirk

In late May 1940, as Nazi armies closed in, 1400 naval vessels and 'little ships' – fishing boats and pleasure craft crewed by civilian volunteers – braved intense German artillery and air attacks to ferry 340,000 Allied soldiers to the safety of England. Conducted in the difficult first year of WWII, this unplanned and chaotic evacuation – dubbed Operation Dynamo – didn't save any heavy equipment but was nevertheless seen as a heroic demonstration of Britain's resourcefulness and determination.

The events were depicted from the perspectives of land, sea and air in the Oscar-winning film Dunkirk (2017), directed by Christopher Nolan.