Dunkirk Veteran breaks 77-Year silience

  • Veteran George Wagner, 97, speaks out for the first time since 1940 Dunkirk evacuation
  • He says it was ‘pot luck’ that he survived and many of his comrades did not
  • George’s story uncovered at launch of Christopher Nolan’s new blockbuster Dunkirk in London

The World Premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in Leicester Square tomorrow night (13 July), will be attended by George Wagner alongside HRH Prince Henry of Wales and two Veterans of Kosovo and Afghanistan.

George Wagner, of Lichfield, escaped the beaches of Dunkirk in a rowing boat aged 19. While he helped fellow soldiers to reach rescue boats by building piers out of trucks with his regiment the Royal Engineers, many of the ‘blokes’ in his unit didn’t make it home. He says it was ‘pot luck’ that he managed to escape relentless attacks from the air and the ground with little or no shelter on an open beach.

In a touching video introduced by a rising star of Nolan’s movie, Fionn Whitehead, Dunkirk Today sees George share his amazing story of survival with modern-day Veterans Gemma Morgan (who served in Kosovo) and Louis Nethercott (who fought with the Royal Marines in Helmand, Afghanistan).

The video marks the first time George has spoken publicly about what happened to him and his pals on the beaches of Dunkirk as they tried to escape German troops and dive-bombers. 

You can watch and share the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9i0T6K2xH0&feature=youtu.be

George says: “Through the years in the Army, I never had a thing wrong with me. I think it affected me later on.”

Louis and Gemma, who have both battled to overcome mental health issues since serving, have been supported by Help for Heroes.

The video of their revealing conversation with George was created by Contact, a collaboration of military charities (including Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, Walking With The Wounded and The Royal British Legion). The charities are working alongside the NHS and the MOD to help the Armed Forces Community access mental health support.

It will be screened outside the Dunkirk Royal Premiere in Leicester Square tomorrow night.

David Richmond, Chairman of Contact, says: “We would like to thank the Dunkirk filmmakers, Warner Bros. Pictures, historian Josh Levine and Prince Harry for shining a light on military mental health. Our brave men and women need our support today, just as they did in 1940.”

You can watch and share the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9i0T6K2xH0&feature=youtu.be


To request an interview or for more information, please contact:


Full list of Contact members: Big White Wall, Combat Stress, Cobseo, Help for Heroes, King’s College London, Ministry of Defence, NHS England, NHS Wales, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal British Legion, Veterans First Point, Walking With The Wounded. www.contactarmedforces.org.uk 

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By @Cobseo 55 years ago

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