While all was going wrong for the Allies in France in 1940, the desperate defence of one port was the concern of the 20th Guards Brigade and a group of aging destroyers. In part one of this special feature, Lt-Cmdr Frank Donald RN (ret) and Capt John Rodgaard USN (ret) detail the defiant 48-hour defence.
SECOND WORLD WAR | THE FALL OF FRANCE
When Frank Donald was growing up, the 1943 book HMS Wideawake was the equivalent of the family bible. It’s the semi-fictional story of a destroyer from November 1939 to the end of July 1940, and vividly describes the real-life battle in Boulogne harbour between eight destroyers, including the Wideawake, and German panzers. Wideawake’s task was to rescue a brigade that had been landed to defend the port.