Jour 10 – Day 10a – TOURNEHEM-SUR-LA-HEM to Folkestone UK

??France to UK???????

Handwritten Envelope From the private collection of the Christie Family

Today I crossed the channel to the UK in the relative luxury of a car ferry from Dunkirk to Dover. Boarding was a systematic, unhurried and stressless proceedure. Once on board, people ate and drank, sun bathed in the glorious sunshine, chatted with friends and felt the cool sea breeze on their faces. The ferry was far from full, there was plenty of room to move around, children were running around and when it came time to disembark, myself and two other cyclists were allowed to go first, as it was the safest way and no one minded.

In late May 1940 it is difficult to imagine the difference. The Germans took Boulogne on 25 May and Calais the next day, leaving Dunkirk as the only viable port from which the British Expeditionary Forces, part of the French army and the remains of the Belgian army could escape. In amongst them was Flight Sergent John Christie, who had been shot down over Belguim, been bought back through an advancing enemy by his Pilot lay unconscious in a hospital and then evacuated by train towards Amiens. He had left the train somewhere near Rang du Fliers and then…

… turned upon his mother’s doorstep some days or weeks later.

Today's Route

The two cuttings above come from the envelope pictured in the heading; the first is from the People’s Journal and Angus Herald – examination of the rear shows the date as SATURDAY 1 JUNE – The year having been torn away but a quick check of the calendar showed the only time that the 1st of June fell on a Saturday was the year 1940.

IN SCRAP WITH MESSERSCHMITTS.

SPECIAL TO “PEOPLE’S JOURNAL.”

 

Brechin has been engaged on a hero hunt this week.

This follows the statement by a pilot officer of the R.A.F. that a member of a bombing crew engaged with him in an exciting “scrap” over Belguim comes “from Brechin, Scotland;”

A few days after she had received news that her airman husband was missing, Mrs A.V. Panton, who lives at Bromham Road, Bedford answered a telephone call, and was delighted to hear his familiar voice.

He had just landed in England after a thrilling experience.

Flying Officer Panton, who has already won the D.F.C., was flying over the Belgium-German frontier when his machine was attacked by six Messerschmitt fighters.

“In the fight which followed,” he said in an interview, “my machine caught fire, and I was compelled to make a forced landing.

“The sergeant-observer, who comes from Brechin, and the air-gunner were both wounded in the fight. The gunner was able to get out himself, but not the observer. I managed to release him, though my face and hands were burnt in doing so.

“Then, with the air-gunner also hanging on to me, I got him into a wood. There we hid until the coast was clear. I then seized a car, in which we all drove back to our lines.”

There are a number of Brechin men in the Air Force, but so far their relatives are kept guessing as to which the story applies.

View from the Handlebars

Battle of Britian memorial

I am almost ashamed to say that I did not know this place existed and of course had no idea that I would be passing by its gates.

I will quote the introduction on the website of the Battle of Britain Memoria

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust extends a warm welcome to those who wish to show their respects to the heroes of the Battle of Britain by visiting this unique site of pilgrimage.

The National Memorial to the Few is a peaceful space, ideal for quiet reflection, atop the famous White Cliffs and offering superb views across the Channel to France.  The central statue of a lone pilot is complemented by the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, two replica aircraft and other items of interest.

I was awestruck. A beautiful place. I am looking forward so much to the International Bomber Command Centre too.

STATISTICS AND ROUTE

Progress

Distance - 1179.85km
Climbing 8636 metres
71hours in the Saddle
  • Completed
  • To do

Where to Tomorrow?

ROCHESTER - Kent

Heading north on the Pilgrims Way to the north of Kent.

Here’s a fun fact.

By the time I get to ASHFORD – I will have climbed the equivalent of MOUNT EVEREST! 8848m – and with NO oxygen.

Hey - What about you?

Join the conversation.

The position of the British Expeditionary Force had now become critical. As a result of a most skillfully conducted retreat and German errors, the bulk of the British forces reached the Dunkirk bridgehead. The peril facing the British nation was now suddenly and universally perceived. On May 26, “Operation Dynamo ” – the evacuation from Dunkirk began. The seas remained absolutely calm. The Royal Air Force – bitterly maligned at the time by the Army – fought vehemently to deny the enemy the total air supremacy which would have wrecked the operation. At the outset, it was hoped that 45,000 men might be evacuated; in the event, over 338,000 Allied troops reached England, including 26,000 French soldiers. On June 4, Churchill reported to the House of Commons, seeking to check the mood of national euphoria and relief at the unexpected deliverance, and to make a clear appeal to the United States.

 

Don’t forget it’s never too late to help me help the IBCC tell stories just like this one – Just click on the DONATE button. Thank you.

SOURCES:

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2007/apr/20/greatspeeches1

Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer by Alastair Dyson Panton and  Victoria Panton Bacon.

Ecrivelo

Donations

  • Donated
  • TO GO

WE MADE IT!

Thank you so much to TOM LEWIS for his really generous donation of £50.00 This takes me to the target.

 

However, I have 2 more donations to add to the site tomorrow – so this begs the question …

By how much can we exceed the target before I get to Lincoln!

This post is also available in: frFrançais

1 comment

  1. Keep chanking uphill bro …. you might need 02 for the fumes and pollution on the roads here!!Everest would be a piece of cake now????
    Onwards and forwards Lord Lycra ???