A Veteran Who Lived It Fights Back Tears After Watching ‘Dunkirk,’ And Calls For Change

"It was just like I was there again."

The movie Dunkirk — about the 1940 evacuation of allied British troops in Dunkirk, France, who were trapped on the beaches by an advancing German army — really drives home to audiences what it must've been like for soldiers during that time. To see something that poignant on the big screen only makes the experience that much more palpable.

Well, it really hit home for 97-year-old Dunkirk veteran and decorated war hero Ken Sturdy, who recently saw the film, which opened this past weekend. 

"I never thought I would see that again; it was just like I was there again," Sturdy said in a video shared by the Huffington Post. He was only a 20-year-old Royal Navy signalman when he experienced the atrocities on that day in Dunkirk, helping soldiers evacuate the chaos on the beach to reach waiting boats.


"I had the privilege of seeing that film tonight, but I'm saddened by it because of what happened on that beach," Sturdy said. More than 300,000 British soldiers were rescued over nine days, but 68,000 were captured or killed during the battle or retreat. Sturdy witnessed the sunken boats and what little room there was for survivors on the boats that remained. 

"I cried because it's never the end, what happened. We as a human species, we are so intelligent ..." Sturdy starts to explain and gets choked up, "and we do such astonishing things — we can fly to the moon, but we still do stupid things." Sturdy's message reminds us of the sad nature of war and seeming our inability to avoid it.

Check out Sturdy's interview below:

It wasn't Nolan's intention to make audience members cry when they watch Dunkirk. Insteadhe wanted to create a human experience that "is focus[ed] on the elements that make Dunkirk unique from just another war film," and Nolan explained those elements are "the survival aspect and the suspense aspect."

There's also the educational experience filmgoers get, which they apparently loved based on the more than $50.5 million at the box office this weekend. World War II was an event that shaped our history, so when Christopher Nolan sought out to create a film that would be the most authentic adaptation of it, he had no idea just how moving it would be to those heroes like Sturdy, who lived through the experience. 

Check out the trailer for the film below:


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