Personal Account – G J Roberts Royal Navy, HMS Shikari

Personal Account – G J Roberts Royal Navy, HMS Shikari

HMS Shikari was one of the first ships used at Dunkirk and was one of the last leave on the final night of the evacuation. During the first night of the evacuation nobody had much idea what was happening. We sent in the motor boat towing the whaler, we learned later that having got to the beach the soldiers, in the darkness, capsized the whaler. Able Seaman Jerry Ford in the whaler was drowned.

Later in the evacuation, we were on our way into the port, when somebody on a ship going out shouted to us to make a signal to Dover, to say the German's had entered the town.

If my memory serves me correctly, our Captain cleared lower decks on Sunday morning and told us we would be escorting some ships over that were to be scuttled to block the entrance to the dock. This operation meant that we would leave Dover in the evening daylight, arrive and do the job in the dark. Then after motor torpedo boats brought the crews to us we would return to Dover. Unfortunately, we didn't arrive until early morning, and although we heard the MTBs go in, we never saw them again or the scuttling crews. We hung around the port some time, but then returned back to Dover and as far as I know that was the end of the operation.

In the beginning of the operation the soldiers were carrying and keeping all their gear, rifles, greatcoats, heavy boots, packs and steel helmets. Later towards the end they were getting rid of everything, which meant in some cases they were coming aboard in only their underwear.

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