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It happened at the end of May in 1940. world Ward II was less that a year old, yet already Hitler’s Nazi armies were within sight of victory. Poland, Norway, and Denmark had falled; Luxembourg, Holland, and Belgium had been overrrum; France was tottering. England’s army of 338,000 men was trapped around Dunkirk on the French coast, and if the army surrendered, the war might well end there.

But them a call went out to all the sailors of England, and they answered heroically. luxurious yachts and little fishing boats crossed the English Channel, into the heart of the battle, to rescue England’s soldiers. Among them were young people like the boy and girl in this story.

Will came back from schoool that day,

And he had little to say.

But the stood a long time looking down

To where the gray-Green Channel water

Slapped at the foot of the little town,

And to where his boat, the Sarath P,

Bobbed at the tide on an even keel,

With her one old sail, patched at the leech,

Furled like a slattern down at heel.

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p style=”text-align:left;”>Fragment to ”Dunkirk” from The Green  Leaf by Robert Nathan.