'We must never forget those that paid ultimate sacrifice'

A SAILOR from Liversedge has spoken of his pride at being onboard a Royal Navy vessel which led a collection of ships to France to mark the 70th anniversary of a Second World War rescue mission.

Thursday, 3rd June 2010, 4:53 pm

Leading Seaman David Barraclough works onboard HMS Monmouth, which led a flotilla of vintage vessels across the English Channel in commemoration of Operation Dynamo.

The operation saw the evacuation of 338,000 troops rescued from the beaches of northern France between May 27 and June 4, 1940.

LS Barraclough, who has been with the Royal Navy for 12 years, trains officers onboard and helps to ensure the ship is fully maintained at all times.

The 41-year-old said: "The Dunkirk commemoration is very important. We should never forget the fantastic efforts of those that took part.

"We should also ensure that those who paid the ultimate price and lost their lives are also remembered.

"Had it not been for the determination and courage of those that took part in the operation, many of us would not be around today."

LS Barraclough attended Millbridge Junior School and thenn Liversedge Secondary School. He left at the age of 16 and joined the Royal Air Force for six years.

He had a numbber of jobs as a civilian before deciding on a career with the Navy.

He said: "Over the past 12 years, I have seen some absolutely fantastic places. I have been to Egypt, Russia, America and Dubai.

"I can't think of any other line of work that can offer opportunities like that. My job is challenging but it is also one that I enjoy hugely."

The Dunkirk evacuation, dubbed Operation Dynamo, came after the speed of the German advance through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France left nearly half a million British and French troops trapped there.

The rescue was led by the Royal Navy, which drafted in ships and boats of every size.

Described as a ''miracle of deliverance'' by British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, it is seen as one of several events in 1940 that determined the eventual outcome of the war.

Over the last week the Devonport-based HMS Monmouth was involved in a series of events in Dunkirk to commemorate the occasion.

LS Barraclough now lives in Portsmouth, Hampshire, with his partner, Nicola, and children, Kayleigh, and Jamie, 11.

HMS Monmouth has spent the past six months in the North Arabian Gulf, protecting oil platforms in the region.

She is currently undergoing maintenance before a deployment to North Arabian Sea where she will carry out counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations.