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Ian Bryce

Ian Bryce 'found himself at Dunkirk in 1940, when an ad hoc flotilla of English fishing boats, pleasure cruisers, and other “little ships” evacuated Allied troops cut off by the advancing Germans. Young Bryce, a 17-year-old midshipman, singlehandedly rescued 109 British soldiers, eight Belgian officers, two Frenchmen, and two Jewish refugees in multiple trips in a motorboat under Luftwaffe fire.'

Actually, he rescued quite a few more men than that:

'In 1940 Bryce was a 17-year old Midshipman RNR in the minesweeper Fitzroy when, on the evening of May 28, she anchored off La Panne, nine miles east of Dunkirk. His captain ordered him inshore with the ship’s motorboat, saying: “Mid, I want you to bring off the British Army. Got it?” After several trips to the beach, Bryce’s Fitzroy rescued 109 British soldiers, eight Belgian officers, two French fighters and two Jewish refugees . . .

'On May 30 Fitzroy anchored closer to Dunkirk where Bryce found “khaki everywhere ” and “the air alive with German aircraft”. Such was the press that he once found it necessary to fire his pistol in the air to maintain discipline, but embarkation smartened up considerably after he enlisted the help of a sergeant major in the Scots Guards; that night Fitzroy landed 678 British troops in England.

'A few days later, after two further evacuation trips, Bryce celebrated his 18th birthday, becoming one of the youngest recipients of the DSC."

He spent the rest of the war serving courageously, and later wrote a rather racy biography.

He has died at the age of 89.

Ave atque Vale.

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