Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 272 May 29, 1940

Dunkirk. 33,558 British troops are evacuated from Dunkirk harbour and 13,752 from the beaches. As the weather clears, Luftwaffe planes strafe and bomb the ships and waiting soldiers. Despite Göring’s promise, it is clear that the Luftwaffe cannot prevent the evacuation in the face of RAF patrols and anti-aircraft fire from the Royal Navy ships.

At 12.40 AM, British destroyer HMS Wakeful is torpedoed by German torpedoboat S-30 13 miles North of Nieuport and sinks immediately (97 crew and 640 soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk killed, 25 crew and 1 soldier rescued by minesweepers HMS Gossamer& HMS Lydd, destroyer HMS Grafton and armed trawler HMS Comfort). HMS Grafton is torpedoed by U-62 (4 crew killed). Remaining crew and those just rescued from Wakeful are taken off by destroyer HMS Ivanhoe which then sinks Grafton with gunfire. HMS Comfort is mistaken for another torpedoboat and rammed by HMS Lydd (4 killed, 2 survivors).

Destroyer HMS Grenade is hit by three bombs (one going down her funnel) at East mole, Dunkirk (18 killed). Alongside Grenade, destroyer HMS Jaguar is badly damaged by a bomb (13 killed, 19 wounded). Minesweeper HMS Waverley (carrying around 600 troops just rescued from the beaches) is also bombed and sinks rapidly (about 350 lives lost).

U-37 sinks French steamer Marie José and British oil tanker Telena (18 dead, 18 survivors picked by up Spanish fishing boats) off Cape Finisterre, Spain.

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