A Personal Memoir

by Ralph Wild

Ralph Wild did not set out to be a ‘Hero of Dunkirk’. He was a clerk with the London County Council who, in the early months of 1939 when it was clear that war coming, refused a transfer to a reserved occupation and volunteered to join the Territorial Army. After a few months’ training Ralph found himself serving as a clerk with a TA artillery regiment in the British Expeditionary Force in northern France. After the fall of Belgium, his regiment retreated, frequently under fire, to Dunkirk. He was evacuated, still clutching a boxful of regimental records, the night after Operation Dynamo officially ended.

Ralph Wild continued to serve with the 92nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery until 1942, when he was commissioned in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. After the war he returned to a career in local government, eventually retiring as a senior administrator with the Greater London Council. This book will be among the last authentic memoirs of one of the most important events of the Second World War.

Informative and thoughtful, it makes no attempt to glorify war but emphasises the achievement of the BEF in impossible circumstances. It also describes the daily routine of the Army of that era, including the contrast between the experience of officers and other ranks that would eventually contribute to the social revolution of 1945. This is a book that will be read with pleasure by both the diminishing number who can remember the events of 1939–40 and the much larger number for whom the Second World War is an episode in history, but one that will never lose its fascination.

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2004. Paperback with 13 maps and plates and a full-colour cover

ISBN 1 898937 62 1