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Castle recreates Dunkirk evacuation

Visitors to Dover Castle will soon be able to get a feel for the drama of the Dunkirk evacuation and explore the hidden tunnels where the rescue operation was masterminded.

A new exhibition will allow guests to walk through the wartime tunnels deep beneath the castle, where the sights and sounds of how the mission was devised have been recreated.

It follows two years of research, including the gathering of testimonies from veterans of both the beaches and the tunnels, which combined with original news reels, recordings and special effects, deliver a vivid account of what Sir Winston Churchill described as a "miracle of deliverance".

The exhibition will also pay tribute to Vice Admiral Bertram Home Ramsay, the man responsible for organising the evacuation in 1940.

The Vice Admiral was brought out of retirement before the outbreak of the Second World War and charged with protecting the Straits of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel.

His initial impression of his command centre at Dover Castle was not positive. In a letter to his wife he wrote: "We have no stationery, books, typists or machines, few chairs, very few tables, maddening communications, and nothing but long retired officers or volunteers."

However with less than a week to prepare, and with the help of hundreds of the "little ships" that carried the Allied soldiers across the Channel, the operation was a great success and 338,000 troops were brought back.

The new visitor experience will highlight the scale of both the challenges faced by the Vice Admiral during Operation Dynamo and his achievements.

Visitors will be able to see his cabin as well as tour some of the original rooms of the adjacent Army headquarters, dressed as they were throughout the Second World War, including the gun operations room, the telephone exchange, and the coast artillery operations room.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: "Helping people to understand the history of this nation through our historic buildings lies at the heart of English Heritage."

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