Yet Nolan’s film chooses to ignore tales such as that of the Medway Queen, a paddle steamer that brought home 7,000 troops in seven round trips and shot down three German planes, or the Royal Daffodil, which returned 9,500 soldiers after blocking a hole below the waterline with a mattress. Instead, we encounter just one boat, skippered by a saintly Mark Rylance, comically attired in his Sunday best.
So, in spite of his film’s $150m budget, the Royal Air Force seems to consist of three Spitfires, although real-life pilots flew 3,500 sorties at Dunkirk. The Luftwaffe, which Hitler made solely responsible for wiping out the beached Brits, seems able to summon up little more than a couple of Messerschmitts, three Stukas and one bomber. The Royal Navy appears to comprise just two destroyers; in fact, it deployed 39 destroyers and 309 other craft.
Women are excluded from the action by being confined to stereotypical roles, such as providing tea for the homecoming menfolk. In real life, female Auxiliary Territorial Service telephonists – who received two-thirds of a male soldier’s pay – were some of the last military personnel to leave the beach. The evacuees also included female civilians, including girls, caught up in the turmoil.
There’s a lot of interesting points in this review, one that I think could’ve really fleshed out what Nolan did with Dunkirk. I do disagree though with this reviewer wanting the bloody aspect of combat to be showcased, I think a lot of that is gratuitous and unnecessary when it comes to war films. You can imply and still have a film feel visceral and horrific without doing that.
I also DO appreciate Nolan’s decision in not showcasing the Germans and keeping the enemy faceless. I thought that was a smart decision, so some of what David Cox is mentioning fails to take into account that Dunkirk’s theme of survival is the sole focus, it’s not what happens to the soldiers at Dunkirk, but how they respond.
Cox does bring up good points however on elements that could’ve enhanced the narrative. I would’ve loved to see more of the above.
The Evening News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, March 15, 1943
Less than two years after this article was published, in February 1945, one month before her 19th birthday and following months of begging her father’s permission, Elizabeth joined the ATS (Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service) learning to service and drive trucks and ambulances.
“The first "Women Guerrilla” corps has just been formed in the Philippines and Filipino women, trained in their local women’s auxiliary service, are seen here hard at work practicing on November 8, 1941, at a rifle range in Manila.“
From 1941 onward all unmarried British women aged 20 to 30 were required to join one of the Auxiliary services, which included the ATS. One of the most dangerous and exciting ATS roles was to be selected for ‘Ack Ack’ duty, manning the Anti-Aircraft guns known for their distinctive ack-ack sound as they fired. The idea to use women in gun crews was first proposed by British engineer Caroline Haslett and was eagerly approved by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Churchill’s own daughter, Mary Soames, was one of the first Ack Ack volunteers and served at a gun site in London’s Hyde Park.
As a royal proclamation forbade women from operating deadly weapons, Ack Ack Girls worked as part of mixed-gender squads where men would load and fire the weapons with the women’s support. The three main roles of the women were Spotters who used binoculars to find enemy planes, Range-Finding teams who calculated the distance a gun shell would have to travel to hit the target, and Predictor teams who worked out the length of the fuse necessary to make sure the shell exploded at the right height.
Women were subject to the same intensive training as men and had to undergo rigorous testing in terms of fitness, hearing, eyesight and nerves in order to be accepted. This was essential for enduring the hard conditions at the gun emplacements and to keep on task while bombs fell all around them. When the Germans deployed V1 flying bombs against Britain, 369 Ack Ack Girls were killed in just 3 months. Their sacrifice and dedication proved invaluable to the war effort, as well as providing a boost to civilian morale, the sound of the Ack Ack guns becoming a well-recognised symbol of British resistance.
Read a personal account of Ack Ack Girl, Vee Robinson, here.
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York, later Queen Elizabeth II (21 Apr 1926 London-)
Princess Elizabeth was the eldest daughter and first child of two for the Duke and Duchess of York (later George VI and Queen Elizabeth).
Namesakes:Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after King George V’s mother (Queen Alexandra) and Mary after her paternal grandmother, Queen Mary
Nicknames:“Lilibet” by her close family
Titles:21 April 1926 - 11 Dec 1936 Princess Elizabeth of York; 11 Dec 1936 - 20 Nov 1947 The Princess Elizabeth; 20 Nov 1947 - 6 Feb 1952 also Duchess of Edinburgh; 6 Feb 1952 - present Queen Elizabeth II
Coronation:2 June 1953 (despite the death of Queen Mary; she had asked that it go on despite this before she died)
Education:firstly, at home with her younger sister Princess Margaret by their governess, Marion Crawford, lessons focused on history, literature, language and music; later, private tuition in constitutional history, French; she was a member of Buckingham Palace’s 1st girl guides group, and later became a Sea Ranger
Interests:dogs (especially corgis), horses, equestrianism; charities and organizations (she is the patron of over 600)
Friends/Special Relationships:Elizabeth was beloved by her paternal grandfather, King George V and she regularly visited him in 1929 during his serious illness
Important Events:her and her parents made the first transatlantic telephone call on May 18th, 1939; she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War; transition of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations; 1977 Silver Jubilee; in 1981 she was shot at, however the shots were blanks; Michael Fagan broke into her bedroom at Buckingham Palace but to no surprise the Queen handled it very well (as she does all things); the 80s and early 90s were a time of struggle and criticism for the royal family, but they pulled through with the help of their fearless leader, the Queen; March 1992 - her son, Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah Ferguson, separated; April 1992 - Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips divorced; November 1992 - Windsor Castle suffers severe fire damage; December 1992 - the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana formerly separate and then divorce in 1996; August 31st, 1997 Princess Diana is killed in a car accident; the Queen gave a heartfelt and moving speech before Diana’s funeral which shooed off any public hostility that had existed; 2002 - Golden Jubilee; February/March 2002 - Both Elizabeth’s mother and sister pass away; 2003 - keyhole surgery in both knees; 2012 - Diamond Jubilee; July 27th, 2012 - Opened the Summer Olympics in London; August 29th, 2012 - Opened the Paralympics (she had also opened the Olympics in Montreal in 1976); played in a short film with Daniel Craig as James Bond for the Olympic ceremony; April 4th 2013 - received a BAFTA as the “most memorable Bond girl yet”; December 18th, 2012 - peace-time Cabinet meeting (first monarch to do so since George III in 1781)
Notable Tours:her first tour was in 1947 - Southern Africa; October 1951 - Canada and Washington, DC; 1953-1954 World Tour; 1957 USA and Canada (and again in 1959); 1961 Cyprus, India, Nepal, Iran and Pakistan; 1961 Ghana; 1964 Quebec, Canada; Ronald Reagan’s California ranch (1983); October 1992 - Dresden, Germany - angry demonstrators threw eggs at the Queen; 2002 Jubilee tour of the realms; 2011 - USA and Canada - she opened a memorial for British victims of 9/11 during her time in the US; October 2011 - Australia;
Fun Facts: She is the most widely travelled head of state in history; only twice during her reign (during two of her pregnancies - 1959 and 1963) did Elizabeth not open British Parliament; she implemented royal walkabouts; in 1991, she became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress; in 1992 the Queen sued The Sunfor publishing her Christmas message two days early and she won; she is the longest-lived and second longest reigning British monarch; and the second longest living current Head of State (after the King of Thailand)
First Met Future Husband:1934
Engagement:July 9th, 1947
Place of Marriage:Westminster Abbey
On November 20th, 1947, Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (10 Jun 1921 Corfu, Greece-) and had four children:
Prince Charles Philip Arthur George of Edinburgh, later Prince of Wales(14 Nov 1948 London-) who has married twice and has issue from his first marriage.
Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise of Edinburgh, later Princess Royal(15 Aug 1950 London-) who has been married twice and has issue from her first marriage.
Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, later Duke of York(19 Feb 1960 London-) who has been married and has issue.
Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, later Earl of Wessex(10 Mar 1964 London-) who is married with issue.
JATA Logistics + Auxiliary | José Miguel García Pérez
This Logistics and Auxiliary Services centre was designed for JATA, a manufacturer of household appliances. Designed by José Miguel García Pérez, the new centre houses production lines, a laboratory, and administrative areas. The building was designed to reflect the philosophy of the forward-thinking appliance brand.
The façade is decorated with a repetitive pattern of concrete panels and glass windows. The angled forms add visual interest to the exterior while providing a perfect plane for the sun to hit. Upon entry, one is greeted by a double height space with a unique grand staircase. The white staircase is the centrepiece of the room and provides a nice contrast to the strict shapes of the façade. The interior spaces are all naturally illuminated by skylights and the openings in the exterior structure.
It is not often you see a structure of such architectural value housing manufacturing services. This space establishes the brand as one that cares about beauty as much as their bottom line.
German student and revolutionary. At the age of twelve, she chose to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), as did most of her classmates, but her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, of friends, and also of some teachers. Political attitude had become an essential criterion in her choice of friends. The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement left a strong impression on her. Her firm Christian belief in God and in every human being’s essential dignity formed her basis for resisting Nazi ideology. In spring 1941 she began a six-month stint in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to think very hard about the political situation as well as to begin practicing passive resistance. After her six months in the National Labor Service, in May 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Although this group of friends eventually was known for their political views, they initially were drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy, and theology. The question they pondered the most was how the individual must act under a dictatorship. During the summer vacation in 1942, Scholl had to do war service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her father was serving time in prison for having made a critical remark to an employee about Hitler. The White Rose was founded after Scholl and others read a stern anti-Nazi sermon by Clemens August Graf von Galen (the “Lion of Münster”), the Roman Catholic Bishop of Münster. The core members initially included Hans Scholl (Sophie’s brother), Willi Graf, and Christoph Probst. In early summer 1942, this group of young men co-authored six anti-Nazi political resistance leaflets. Contrary to popular belief, Sophie Scholl was not a co-author of the articles. Initially her brother had been keen to keep her unaware of their activities, but once she discovered them, she joined him and proved valuable to the group because as a woman, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller. Calling themselves The White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazis. She and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on 18 February 1943. On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by a guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich’s Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were : How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (b. 21 April, 1926) was never supposed to be Queen. Born as the daughter of the then Duke of York (King George VI), her Uncle, Prince Edward was the heir to the throne. Then, she was affectionately known by her family as “Lilibet”. After her Uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, her father became King and she became the heir.
During WWII, Princess Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service an honorary second subaltern, where she trained as a driver and a mechanic. It was after the war was over that Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on the 20 November 1947. To pay for her iconic wedding gown, Princess Elizabeth collected rationing coupons. Philip renounced his titles and converted to Anglicism before the wedding, whereby he was styled The Duke of Edinburgh. The pair had met when Princess Elizabeth was only 13, and after the meeting Elizabeth reportedly said she had fallen in love with him. The pair had their first child, Charles, in November 1948. They would go on to have three more children: Anne, Andrew and Edward.
On 6 February 1952, King George VI died, leaving his 25 year old daughter Queen of the United Kingdom. At the time, she had two children under the ages of four. Her coronation took place 2 June 1953, and it was the first coronation to be televised internationally.
Queen Elizabeth II has celebrated her Silver (1977), Golden (2002) and Diamond Jubilees (2012). Since her reign began, there have been 12 US Presidents, 12 British Prime Ministers, and 6 Archbishops of Canterbury. She is credited for her work with the Commonwealth, which consists of 53 sovereign states and of which she is the Head of. In 2015, she surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest reining British Monarch, and the longest reigning Queen regnant in world history. She is the worlds oldest reigning monarch, and the oldest British monarch. Prince Philip is the oldest consort, and their marriage is the oldest surviving marriage, now going into it’s 69th year.
Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) enlisted as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in February 1945. Her Army Number was 230873.
During her service she trained at Aldershot as a driver and mechanic. These were two operational support tasks carried out by ATS women during the war. In this photograph the Princess is busy removing the spark plugs from an engine.