Calais A Fight to the Finish, May 1940 by Jon Cooksey

By Jon Cooksey

This is often the tale of the conflict of Calais, a brief yet bloody fight to hold up the German increase in may perhaps 1940. it's a tale of uncertainty, of taut nerves, of warmth, dirt, raging thirst and hand-to-hand struggling with within the slim streets of the channel port referred to now to thousands of Britons as a gateway to the Continent. The advisor will take the customer past the ferry terminal and hypermarkets to bare the hidden Calais and the activities of people and devices.

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Extra info for Calais A Fight to the Finish, May 1940

Sample text

Further still are the breakwaters pointing out into the English Channel towards trade and links with Britain. On the map the shape of the town, due to the endurance of those strong physical features, does not appear to have changed a great deal in the last sixty years but the lines and contours on a map cannot show the tremendous pace and scope of development that has taken place during the last six decades. The Calais of today does not obviously present itself as a battlefield, like many of those of the First World War.

I received a great deal of help from the families of men involved in the battle. Mrs Margaret Bishop and her son Mr Fred Bishop were kind enough to talk with me about Mrs Bishop’s brother, Riflemen Don Gurr and Mrs Rosamund Kydd gave permission to use extracts from her late husband Sam Kydd’s autobiography. I am grateful to Mr Richard Nicholson for permission to photograph and reproduce an illustration from the painting Last Stand at Calais by Charles Gere. From institutions I have received considerable assistance from Mr Norman ‘Tommy’ Hummerstone, Secretary of the Queen Victoria’s Rifles Regimental Association, Major Ken Gray of the Royal Green Jackets Museum and Colonel Ian McCausland, President of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps Association.

Accidents can and do happen, so make sure your tetanus jabs are up to date. In addition to any personal accident insurance you may arrange privately it is always a good idea to carry form E111. This is issued free and is attached to a booklet, obtainable from larger post offices, explaining your entitlement to hospital and medical treatment in France and other European countries. Calais is now more accessible than ever, with the ferry companies and the tunnel operators vying for our custom. It is possible to catch an early morning train or ferry and spend the best part of ten hours in Calais before making an evening crossing for the journey home.

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