We were not really in favourable condition to evacuate some twenty-two thousand soldiers, most of them from an open beach, in the face of the Luftwaffe. But there was no alternative. The Army could not be left to its fate. The Navy must carry on.
Prisoners stated that their vessel was hit on the port side seven or eight times. “S 38” attempted to escape, tried to lay a smoke screen but, owing to the damaged steering-gear, could only go round in a curve. One engine was put out of action and a fire started in the fuel tank. Some men jumped overboard immediately the fire broke out. A seaman ran aft with the intention of dropping depth charges in the course of the pursuing destroyer, but a burst of machine-gun fire from the British discouraged this attempt.