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'Well done anyway.'
With these words Lieutenant Linton of the Royal Engineers was dismissed by his general, having carried out an act of outstanding bravery and technical skill. He'd blown up a strongly made brick-built railway bridge over the River Canche near Etaples. In doing so he'd delivered a crippling strategic blow to enemy supply lines to the south.
But he'd blown the wrong bridge. He'd disobeyed orders.
Hero or hothead? Medal or court martial? Major Linton's graphic account of the dark days of French collapse and the retreat of the BEF in Northern France highlight the critical state of our forces in 1940. The pathos of Paris on the brink of occupation, and the desperation in Boulogne following Churchill's belated order to withdraw, are recorded vividly by a soldier who put himself in harm's way. Was his decision the right one? Read on to find out.