LONDON, June 5, 1940 (UP) -- A French artillery captain, one of the last of Dunkirk's defenders to escape from the advancing Germans, reached the English coast today after 24 hours of rowing in the choppy Channel, with a story of thousands left stranded on the city's blood-stained and bullet-raked beach.
With his gun crew, the captain retreated to the beach after their ammunition had been exhausted only to learn that there would be no more rescue armadas from the opposite shore.
"Thousands were stranded on the beach waiting for the German bombs and guns," he said. "It was terrible."
The captain and 67 other Frenchmen, and all the others who could find them, utilized abandoned lifeboats, skiffs, canoes and bullet-riddled motorboats to flee from the oncoming Germans who were spraying the beach with machine gun bullets.
The captain told this story:
"I fired my guns night and day until Monday night when all my ammunition was exhausted. Then I destroyed the guns-they were 75s-which we had been using to wreck enemy tanks at pointblank range, and retreated with my men to the beach.
"We arrived there early yesterday and found troops awaiting embarkation. I went on a pier but I could see no rescue boats. Then we were told no more boats would come...
"Boats of all kinds lying in the harbor and along the shore were commandeered. I went in a rowboat with three other officers and seven men. We put out from Dunkirk yesterday morning, and as we rowed to sea the Germans began to machine gun us from the shore."
Another group of Frenchmen fled in a motorboat and a lifeboat.
With the motorboat towing the lifeboat, they headed out into the Channel. As they neared the English coast, the motorboat ran out of fuel, and the two boats drifted helplessly all night. At dawn the soldiers rigged up a blanket signal which was spotted by the coxswain of another lifeboat which took off some of the soldiers and then towed the motorboat to shore.