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UNKIRK, 1940. HARASSED BY D GERMAN ARTILLERY AND THE LUFTWAFFE, THE 23RD BATTALION OF THE DUKE OF WALLINGHAM’S INFANTRY REGIMENT WERE AMONGST THE LAST MEN EVACUATED FROM THE BEACH. IT HAD BEEN LANCE-CORPORAL ERNIE DUGGAN’S JOB TO ENCOURAGE THE STRAGGLERS...

GET A MOVE ON, WATTY! THE BLOOMIN’ BOAT ISN’T GOING TO WAIT ALL DAY.


4 AS THE ENEMY AIRCRAFT SCREAMED DOWN AND DROPPED A BOMB, PRIVATE BILL WATKINS FELL AND HUGGED THE SAND.

THIS TIME I’M A GONER FOR SURE!

BUT THE SOFT SAND ABSORBED MOST OF THE NEARBY BLAST, NOT THAT IT GAVE BILL MUCH COMFORT. WHAT’S HE PLAYING AT?

LEAVE HIM, CORP. YOU HEARD THE MAJOR…IT’S EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF.


5 WORKING AS AN ORDERLY ROOM CLERK, BILL HAD AVOIDED MOST OF THE FIGHTING. NOW HE WAS PARALYSED WITH FEAR.

THAT BOAT MIGHT AS WELL BE A MILLION MILES AWAY. I’LL NEVER MAKE IT.

THE SOLDIER COULDN’T SEE A THING. WIPING SAND FROM HIS SPECTACLES…

…BILL SAW AN UNUSUAL FIGURE, WREATHED IN SMOKE.

BLIMEY! IT LOOKS LIKE A FRENCH SCHOOLKID.


6 AS THE SCHOOLBOY, WHO WAS ABOUT 15 YEARS OLD, TROTTED PAST HE RAISED HIS ARM AT BILL IN THE DUNES...

I MUST BE SEEING THINGS. HE’S WAVING AT ME.

AS THE BOY DISAPPEARED INTO THE SMOKE, BILL FELT AN IMMENSE SENSE OF SHAME. THAT KID LOOKED LIKE HE DIDN’T HAVE A CARE IN THE WORLD. WELL, IF HE CAN DO IT...

...SO CAN I. BLIGHTY, HERE I COME!

GRABBING HIS RIFLE, BILL GOT UP AND SPRINTED DOWN TO THE BEACH.


7 IT WAS ALMOST AS THOUGH THE SIGHT OF THAT BOY HAD TURNED BILL INTO A NEW, MORE DETERMINED MAN – ONE WHO WOULD NOT LET A SWOOPING MESSERSCHMITT Me109 DEFEAT HIM.

MISSED! YOU SHOULD GO AND SEE AN OPTICIAN, MATE.

ON BOARD THE BOAT, ERNIE HAD SPOTTED BILL APPROACHING.

HANG ON! HE’S ONE OF OUR MOB.

SORRY, MATE. WE CAN’T STAY AROUND HERE. IT’S TOO RISKY.


8 THE TIDE WAS IN AND A LINE OF TRUCKS HAD FORMED A MAKESHIFT JETTY.

BUT THE Me109 THAT HAD MISSED HIM THE FIRST TIME ROUND WAS COMING IN FOR A SECOND GO. TRYING TO GET BACK TO ENGLAND, EH? WE WILL SEE ABOUT THAT.

THE BOAT’S LEAVING! I RECKON I’LL HAVE TO SWIM FOR IT.

ERNIE AND THE OTHERS WATCHED IN HORROR AS THE GERMAN FIGHTER CAME DOWN LOW.

BEHIND YOU, MATE!

KNOWING OLD WATTY, HE’LL PROBABLY FREEZE.


9 BUT BILL DIDN’T FREEZE. INSTEAD HE PUT ON AN EXTRA SPURT TO REACH THE END OF THE “JETTY.”

DIE, SCHWEIN!

HERE WE GO!

AN A.A. GUN MOUNTED ON TOP OF THE STURDY VESSEL FORCED THE GERMAN FIGHTER TO VEER AWAY.

WE CAN’T LEAVE THE POOR BEGGAR, SKIPPER. NOT AFTER ALL THIS.

STOP ENGINES!


10 THE SHIVERING PRIVATE WAS WRAPPED IN A BLANKET AND HANDED A MUG OF HOT TEA.

ERNIE LIFTED AN EXHAUSTED BILL OUT OF THE WATER. BLOOMIN’ PENPUSHERS. YOU’RE TOTALLY USELESS. WHAT KEPT YOU?

REMEMBER BASIC TRAINING? I HAD TO HELP YOU THROUGH THAT.

I STOPPED FOR AN ICE CREAM. I KNOW. ONLY IT WASN’T YOU THIS TIME, CORP.

THEY LISTENED AS BILL RELATED THE STORY OF THE FRENCH SCHOOLBOY.

YOU WERE SEEING THINGS.

HERE! I BET OLD WATTY WAS AT THAT FRENCH WINE. IT’S STRONG STUFF.


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