Through the sea haze she saw the final stream of small boats appear. From this distance she could make out the decks crammed with soldiers.

For nine days the small boats had shuttled across the channel to Dunkirk. Over three hundred thousand men had been saved and returned to Dover.

As the boats drew closer, the haze thickened. They disappeared. Mary knew Johnny hadn’t made it off the beach.


Mary turned and looked up at the castle, on top of the white cliffs. Underneath were the tunnels from which the Navy had run the evacuation. She thought of the hours she had spent relaying messages and updating charts, stooped in the dark, damp rooms, praying that her love would be on one of those boats.

Every year Mary came back to the same spot. This year would be the last. A cruise ship and an oil tanker maneuvered out the port while she stood watching. Frail but undiminished she took in the view one last time. She had diligently remembered her Johnny and his comrades all these years. For all their sacrifices, what would they make of the world we were left with today?

Like that day 76 years ago, as the mist enveloped the horizon, she felt hope disappear.


Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

32 responses to “LEST WE FORGET”

      • To lose so many people in such a short time, not only does it have effects on each individual who is grieving someone in particular, but it affects the entire society by the sheer numbers of the demographic change. Suddenly to be missing this big chunk of a generation; the ripples go in all directions.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved this Ian. The historical bit about seeing/remembering the men come off the ship and I feel the women’s sadness and grief upon losing her love. Sounds like she was much involved in the war effort 76 years ago at home. I think it’s both honourable and sad she comes back to this spot every year. She must be quite old herself and I imagine returning might be too difficult. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much. I always try to imagine what it was like living at that time, but it’s difficult to appreciate how many people were affected. And soon no one from that time will be alive to remember those that didn’t return.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes that’s what makes it so sad. I heard of one museum/place in Canada, going around to WWII vets and getting them to tell some of their stories for future generations. I thought it was a good idea. Maybe a good thing to listen to in classrooms, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

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