British Forces who entered France in 1939 were swept back by the German advance, and were in real trouble. Eventually they were ordered to get to Dunkirk on the north coast, and hundreds of boats in England were ordered to pick them up. The Belgian army had surrendered, and the Germans had already informed all foreign correspondents that the British were surrounded and had no hope of escape.
The Kent Yeomanry were in the thick of it. “On 28 May 1940 we received orders for a further withdrawal. We drove through Neuve Eglise, which was on fire from end to end, and joined through the vast throng of lorries and men and guns that was slowly moving down the poplar-lined roads towards the sea.
For us this was the last and worst night of the retreat. All semblance of order seemed to have disappeared. There was no panic but the men were just too tired to care. Units were mixed up in inextricable confusion and to make matters worse large numbers of French soldiers on horseback and foot tried to push their way past…”