Derrick Mullens (who later became Sir William Mullens) was born in 1919. He was a Major with 385 Battery of Kent Yeomanry, which fought near the German border of France in 1939, and then withdrew to St Valery as part of the British evacuation of France.
“Leaving the wood to the northeast of St Valery we crossed a few fields and eventually arrived at a cliff edge. From there we could plainly see a large number of boats. Much cheered by this wonderful sight, we began to run along the cliff pursued by tracer bullets from German machines guns.”
The tide was moving fast as they made their escape in small rowing boats, to get to the big ships. Eventually they had to get out of the boats and start swimming out to sea. All the time, they were being fired on by the German artillery on the cliffs.