The last remaining veteran to attend Dunkirk AND the D-Day landings dies as memories captured on tapes
Last surviving veteran present at Dunkirk AND D-Day landings dies at age 98 as granddaughter reveals his fascinating memories, documented in tape recordings
- World War II veteran Alfred White died two weeks ago at the age of 98
- He was the last known soldier present at the Dunkirk and D-Day landings
- Memories of war, including the signing of The Armistice, are recorded on tapes
The last surviving veteran to attend both Dunkirk and the D-Day landings has died at the age of 98.
Now Alfred White’s granddaughter, Janey Doyle, is working with the Imperial War Museum to share Alf’s recordings of his experiences.
In the fascinating audio clips that were broadcast Radio 4’s today this morning, the veteran discusses his various experiences during the war, including the Dunkirk evacuation and when The Armistice was signed.
Alfred White, the last known surviving veteran to attend Dunkirk and the D-Day landings, died fourteen days ago at the age of 98 (pictured)
In the moving tapes, which will be available to the public at the Imperial War Museum, Alf (photo) tells about his experiences in Dunkirk and the moment when the armistice was signed
In 1940, Alf, a driver in the Army’s first tank regiment, was sitting on Dunkirk beach waiting for evacuation.
He had arrived in town after a truck hit a few trucks higher than his and he, along with other soldiers, was ordered to retrieve everything they could carry and follow a line of soldiers – eventually ending up in Dunkirk .
Seeing how busy the beaches were, he walked into town and eventually landed on the wharf and jumped on the King Orry boat which he described as ‘packed’.
Shortly after departure, it was hit several times by artillery.
In 1940, Alf (right in photo with brother Tom), a driver in the first army tank regiment, noticed that he was waiting for evacuation on Dunkirk beach and eventually managed to jump on a boat.
Due to Dunkirk’s busy beaches, Alf (pictured in 2015) walked into town and eventually ended up on the wharf and hopped on the King Orry boat he described as ‘packed’.
In a recording, which will be publicly available in the archives of the Imperial War Museum, Alf said, “Every time the grenade hit the boat, it stopped and shuddered, it was an awful feeling.”
He also explained that several soldiers on board the ship were killed when the captain ordered them to port so that the shells hit the top deck instead of sinking the boat.
In some recordings, Alf also discusses the night The Armistice was signed in 1945.
About the moment King Orry was hit by artillery, Alf said, “Every time the shell hit the boat, it stopped and shuddered, it was a terrible feeling.”
The group he was with had been told not to make any noise that night because the Field Marshal was asleep.
Alf said, “We were told not to be too happy about it. I felt relieved it was all over. ‘
Janey, a BBC journalist, said her grandfather had barely talked about his time in the war before asking him about it on a school project when she was in elementary school in the 1990s.
When she spoke to him, she learned that he had joined the Territorial Army in 1938 after being encouraged to do so by his older brother Tom.
The pair were then drafted into war in September 1939 when Alf was only 17 years old and the brothers managed to stay together throughout the war.
Alf joined the Territorial Army in 1938 and was drafted into war at the age of 17. Earlier this year he spoke with a fellow veteran from Dunkirk (photo)
After the war ended, he did not return home to Britain until 1946, but chose to go to Kiel in Germany to help rebuild the city.
He also ventured to Belsen concentration camp to assist in the clean-up operation.
Janey said of the loss of her grandfather, “He was remarkable, he was just such a lovely, kind soul.
“He was just the nicest, generous gentleman and he will be sorely missed.”