In June 1940, 80 years ago this month, Hitler’s forces had swept across Western Europe. The men of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) had retreated to Dunkirk, where their fate hung in the balance. Amongst the small ships that set out to rescue them was a lifeboat with a 19-year-old Exeter boy aboard.

Michael J. Pollard had always been a keen sailor, and family links with Topsham Sailing Club stretched back to 1898. While studying at the London School of Printing (L.S.P.) he attended navigation evening classes at the Albermarle Street home of Captain O.M. Watts.

Michael Pollard went on to have a distinguished war career, and in 1957 became Commodore of Topsham Sailing Club (a post his father had held ten years earlier).

Topsham Museum is very grateful to Michael Pollard’s family for allowing us to publish this letter:

Dunkirk letter Michael Pollard, Topsham Museum – 6th June 1940