Dunkirk- The Artefacts

French engineer's Model 26 Adrian helmet – This example was brought back from Dunkirk as a souvenir by a member of the Durham Light Infantry.

Within our collection we have a number of items which have been recovered from the Dunkirk battlefield and beaches over the past 70-odd years. Whilst some of the objects in our collection were found 30-40 years ago and have subsequently come into our possession, many more of these artefacts have been far more recent discoveries.


The fact that items continue to be recovered is hardly surprising given the sheer scale of destruction and the amount of equipment abandoned by the Allies in May and June 1940. The stories behind the discovery of these items are often as fascinating as the objects themselves. They have been discovered in barns, cellars, canals, sand dunes and the sea bed and the state of preservation after some 75 years under water, or buried in the sand, is often little short of miraculous.


There is something very poignant and thought-provoking in bringing together and preserving such items, which were actually present during one of the most important moments in our nation's long history. While the items are in themselves merely inanimate objects, they fuel the imagination and bear testament to the waste, destruction and futility of war.

French infantryman's helmet brought back from Dunkirk by a German soldier. The painted inscription reads "a souvenir of Dunkirk 1940".

To view some of the Detritus, click here.

To view the remains of a French MAS36 abandoned at Bergues, click here.

To view the remains of a French FM24/29 abandoned in a canal near Dunkirk, click here.

To learn about the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle and view a Boys recovered from near De Panne, click here.

To view a part of a Spitfire which was shot down over Dunkirk, click here.

To view and read about a British Army  helmet recovered from the beach at Zuydcoote near Dunkirk, click here.

To view a collection of British Army cap badges collected by a schoolboy in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in the wake of Dunkirk, click here.

To view the remains of a Bf 110 which crashed near Bourbourg France, click here.

To return to the main museum menu, click here.

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