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  • Hi, I'm Thomas. I'm Will.

  • And we're here at Dover Castle

  • And we're going back in time

  • to May 1940

  • less than a year

  • after the start of the

  • second World War. We're going to meet

  • Vice Admiral Ramsay in his

  • underground headquarters to find out

  • how he helped our troops during WWII.

  • Looks like we have a message to deliver.

  • What are you two boys

  • doing in here? This is no place for children.

  • Please sir, we were asked to give you this message.

  • Well, thank you boys. That will be all.

  • Sir, what's happening?

  • Well, we are trying

  • to organise the evacuation from

  • Dunkirk. That means that

  • we're trying to help our troops withdraw

  • from the northern coast of France.

  • I'm afraid it's all rather top secret, I can't really

  • tell you very much. What's your role here Sir?

  • Well, I'm a Royal Naval Officer

  • and I'm in

  • command of the thousands

  • of men and women who work here in this

  • command centre.

  • When were these tunnels built, Sir?

  • Well these tunnels were built over a hundred

  • years ago in the Napoleonic War.

  • Not too long ago

  • we started using them as

  • a bomb shelter, then we started

  • to use them as a command centre and later

  • as a hospital. What's happening

  • in these tunnels? We're trying to

  • organise the withdrawal of

  • the troops from France you see

  • We're trying to organise ships

  • and blankets, food

  • water,

  • medical supplies and

  • lots of the troops when they get here are going to be

  • exhausted or even wounded.

  • What happens to the soldiers when they get back?

  • Well, they'll be put onto

  • trains and sent to wherever

  • they're from in Britain

  • they'll be able to spend a few weeks

  • maybe with their family.

  • After a week or so, they'll return

  • back to their units. Do you live in these tunnels?

  • For the moment, yes.

  • There's an awful lot of work to do

  • But I do have a room at

  • the end of one of the tunnels with a little window

  • and I can see the harbour so I can see what's

  • going on out there

  • I imagine once this is all over I'll return back to

  • the Officer's quarters back at the castle.

  • But I do have my own home you know

  • in south of Scotland. Are we safe

  • here? These tunnels are really quite

  • a long way underground, deep within the

  • White Cliffs here so

  • no bombs can reach you

  • We saw a lot of ships in the harbour

  • on our way here today

  • Yes, those are the ships that we're trying to

  • organise to get over to France

  • to evacuate the troops you see

  • I saw some of the boats are

  • ordinary, not war ships, why's that?

  • Quite simply we don't have enough

  • transporters or war ships to do the

  • job, so I'm trying to organise

  • as many civilian vessels as I

  • possibly can to get

  • them over there and see what they can do

  • see if they can be useful

  • How do you even track all of the boats going in and out

  • of the harbour? That's a very good question

  • It's very difficult to communicate

  • with a lot of these small boats, particularly

  • the little ships

  • so we use a system of flags

  • to communicate - called Semaphore - I'll show you

  • Follow me this way.

  • Right boys, down here

  • What are they doing? Well these fellows

  • are doing that thing I told you about earlier.

  • Semaphore - signaling with the flags.

  • With these flags we'll be able to communicate

  • with the ships down in the harbour.

  • So, gentlemen if you wouldn't mind - D

  • O

  • V

  • E

  • R

  • There we are chaps

  • Dover. Want to have a go?

  • Right, pass over the flags then chaps

  • They'll give you a hand, but are you ready fellows?

  • Ready? D

  • O

  • V

  • E

  • R

  • Excellent work. What do you think chaps?

  • They were alright weren't they.

  • Thank you very much for bringing me the message

  • It's much appreciated

  • I'm afraid I've got to get back to work now so

  • Thank you very much

  • Carry on.

Hi, I'm Thomas. I'm Will.

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What Was Life Like? Episode 12: Meet Admiral Ramsay

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/29
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