The Dunkirk Evacuation

Christopher Nolan's 2017 blockbuster told the story of the Dunkirk evacuation to a whole new generation. Many of those evacuated were from Northern Ireland.

Royal Ulster Rifles at Dunkirk 1940

Imperial War Museum Photo: HU 1135 (Part of the Major H E N Bredin Collection). War-weary officers of the Royal Ulster Rifles awaiting evacuation at Bray Dunes near Dunkirk during Operation Dynamo in May 1940. The RUR were part of the British Expeditionary Force in Europe. Photo used under Fair Dealing.

Royal Navy Rescue

The famous "little ships" made up a small part of a fleet that included ships from both the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy.

The British Expeditionary Force

Men from Ireland and Northern Ireland served in the British Expeditionary Force in 1940. Many of these men in the British Army evacuated from Dunkirk.


Samuel Craig

Rifleman • 7011030

Rifleman Samuel Craig served as one of "Monty's Ironsides" in the Royal Ulster Rifles as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He went missing in 1940.

Robert Crawford

Gunner • 1473864

Gunner Robert Crawford served with 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He saw action across Europe and survived Dunkirk.

Norman Victor Henderson


Sergeant Norman Victor Henderson served in 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles during World War Two. He lived in Copperfield Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim.

Robert Millar Keenan


Private Robert Millar Keenan from Belfast, Co. Antrim served from Dunkirk, France through North Africa and Italy with the British Army during World War Two.

James Knox

Gunner • 147640

Gunner James Knox served in 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He was wounded during action in northern France in June 1940.

51st Highland Division in North Africa

John McMillan Leishman


John McMillan Leishman was born in Falkirk, Scotland and served in the 153rd Infantry Brigade, 51st Highland Division. He later made his home in Belfast.

Thomas Wright Lannigan

Gunner • 1475147

Gunner Thomas Wright Lannigan was born in Belfast, Co. Antrim and died in Middlesex, United Kingdom on 16th November 1940. He fought at Dunkirk that summer.

Sergeant Alexander Liggett

Alexander Liggett

Sergeant • 7877628

Sergeant Alexander Liggett served in Europe and North Africa in the Royal Tank Regiment before being taken prisoner of war by the Nazis in 1943 and 1945.

James Lockhart

James Lockhart

Sergeant • 7009959

Sergeant James Lockhart of 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles died on 26th March 1942. The Belfast born soldier had received treatment in Hatfield, England.

George Herbert Menary


Sergeant George Herbert Menary from Belfast, Co. Antrim is buried in Dundonald Cemetery, Dundonald, Co. Down. He died on 1st April 1949, soon after the war.

David Maxwell Phillips

Warrant Officer Class III

Warrant Officer Class III David Maxwell Phillips served as a Platoon Sergeant Major in the Royal Irish Fusiliers serving with the BEF at Dunkirk in 1940.

Robert Robinson

Gunner • 1465720

Gunner Robert Robinson was more often known as "Charlie". Born in Belfast in 1907, he served with 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment at Dunkirk.

Robert Wright BEM

Robert Dawson Wright

Company Sergeant Major

Robert Wright BEM was known in Belfast for his long service with the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum. Bob was a decorated war hero who served in Burma.

Royal Air Force at Dunkirk

Invaluable air support from the Royal Air Force enabled the evacuation of thousands of men from the beaches in northern France.

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