Derrick and 168 of his men were picked up by a small ship, skippered by a young lad who had sailed across from Southampton. As Derrick joined him, and they tried to dodge the German artillery shells, the young skipper opened an envelope with orders to sail to Poole. He said he had no idea how to get to Poole, and only knew the way to Southampton. He and Derrick and agreed to try to sail there instead.
The ship was crammed full, and their only sustenance was a small plate of stew and a quarter of a pint of water. 27 hours later they arrived safely in Southampton, and learned that if they had sailed to Poole they would almost certainly have been killed by German mines. They were among the very last British troops to get out of France by ship back to England.
Derek was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in France, in that “owing to his courage, initiative and resource he succeeded in saving over 70% of his battery from capture. They were the only unit that escaped from this place.” Derrick was awarded a second DSO when leading the regiment in Italy