Dunkirk veteran unveils new memorial bench in Bury St Edmunds

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Dunkirk veteran George Emmett has unveiled a new memorial bench in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, this morning.

Mr Emmett, who is 93, is the oldest known survivor of Dunkirk from the Bury St Edmunds area.

George Emmett, 93, one of the oldest known survivors of Dunkirk inauguratied a new Dunkirk Memorial Bench in the Rose Grden, Abbey Gardens

George Emmett, 93, one of the oldest known survivors of Dunkirk inauguratied a new Dunkirk Memorial Bench in the Rose Grden, Abbey Gardens

He was just 20-years old when he was among 300,000 British and French soldiers forced to withdraw to the beaches and wait to be rescued by an armada of 9,33 boats between May 27 and June 4 1940.

Afterwards Prime minister Winston Churchill gave his famour speech: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Mr Emmett said: “It is great that there is still a continued interests in preserving this event.”

He also shared his own memories of Dunkirk saying: “it was a bit of a shambles really. Nobody knew wgat was happening half the time. Things were moving so quickly.

“We advanced quite a way, then we had to withdraw again.”

He was on a beach ‘two to three days’ before being rescued by a Dutch coal barge which brought him back to Ramsgate. Kent.

After the war, Mr Emmett from Brettenham worked on farms in Suffolk as a cowman.

The bench replaced a previous memorial bench which was falling apart and was paid for by an anonymous benefactor and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

This morning also saw the Royal British Legion hold a flag raising ceremony as part of an armed forces observance.