Dunkirk War Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Dunkirk War Museum

Dunkirk, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Dunkirk War Museum

The Dunkirk War Museum or “Memorial du Souvenir” tells the story of the famous World War Two allied evacuation of Dunkirk.

Dunkirk War Museum history

The Dunkirk evacuation took place between 26 May and 4 June 1940 and was an operation – codenamed Dynamo – to rescue hundreds of thousands of British, French, Canadian, and Belgian soldiers cut off by advancing German forces.

At the time, the Germans had control of Calais and there were insufficient Royal Navy vessels to carry all of the troops. Thus, in a campaign widely regarded as miraculous, heroic and bold, the evacuation of Dunkirk was carried out not just by military ships but by civilian ones.

Hundreds of small boats and ships including even fishing vessels and pleasure boats were mobilised for use in the mission. While this command was given by the admiralty, many of the boats were captained by civilians. Casualties ran into the thousands as did the number of soldier taken hostage yet, despite coming under heavy bombardment, these “little ships” together with the warships, managed to evacuate around 338,000 troops.

Dunkirk War Museum today

Located in the former headquarters of the French army, The Dunkirk War Museum explores the build up to and the events which took place as part of Operation Dynamo. There is a film about Dunkirk and it also houses numerous objects relating to this event including weaponry, artillery and other pieces found on the beaches.

The Museum is well laid out making it easy to follow events as they unfolded on the beaches and in Dunkirk itself. Visitors can walk straight from the museum to the East pier where so many troops were evacuated.

Visitors spend an average of 1 hour and 30 minutes in the museum.

Getting to Dunkirk War Museum

Close to the East Mole and the evacuation beaches, the Dunkirk War Museum is located in Bastion 32, the headquarters for the French and Allied forces during the Battle of Dunkirk. The address of the location is Courtines du Bastion, 32 Rue des Chantiers de France, 59140 Dunkerque, France.

If travelling from Calais, simply take the A16 eastbound Dunkirk (a 45 minute drive). Take exit 62 towards Dunkerque-Centre/Dunkerque-Malo/Dunkerque-Rosendaêl/Centre Hospitalier. Continue onto D635 and then take Rue du 110ème Régiment d’Infanterie to Rue des Chantiers de France in Dunkerque. There will be signs directing you straight to the museum from here.

There is a free museum car park on site.

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