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A SECONDWorldWar veteran yesterday recalled the blood-soaked sands as he joined other survivors on Dunkirk beach to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous troop evacuation. John Davis, who fought in the rearguard, described seeing "headless and limbless torsos with stomachs ripped out".

He said the "sweet smell of death" was overwhelming.

Mr Davis was among about 50 veterans who gathered for a ceremony at the Allied Memorial on Dunkirk seafront. More than 50 of the original "little ships" that took part in the evacuation also made the journey across the Channel.

Mr Davis said:"Seventy years ago these sands were blood-soaked. They were running with blood.

"Eachhalfanhour therewas a raid and always there were 30 to 50 wounded or dead.

"We couldn't bury them, we hadn't the means, so we covered them with tarpaulins to give them some respect.

"After the fifth day I noticed the stench - the sweet smell of death.. It was a glorious summer so we had this stench of death around us.

"I was rearguard. I was kept busy but I was all the while aware of this smell and the smoke fromthe tanks thatwas drifting over. It was very, very traumatic.

"I'd only ever seen neighbours laid nicely in coffins. Now I'd seen headless and limbless torsos with stomachs ripped out. It was a shocking sight for a 19 year old."
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 30, 2010
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