For most people, Dunkirk is a tale that can only be told in the theater or in the history books. But for 97-year-old Ken Sturdy, a Canadian World War II veteran, Dunkirk was all too real.
On Friday, Sturdy watched the premiere of Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” at Calgary’s Westhills Cinemas.
“I never thought I’d see that again,” Sturdy told Canada’s Global News, while dressed in a jacket adorned with medals. “It was just like I was there again.”
“It didn’t have a lot of dialogue,” he said. “It didn’t need any of the dialogue because it told the story visually and it was so real.”
Sturdy is one the few remaining survivors of the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, where more than 330,000 Allied troops evacuated the French town of Dunkirk over the course of roughly nine days.
Sturdy was a 20-year-old signal man with the Royal Navy helping evacuate soldiers who were trying to get onto the boats and get away from the beach.
“I was 20 when that happened, but watching the movie, I could see my old friends again, and a lot of them died later in the war,” Sturdy told Global News.
Sturdy said he became emotional after the film for another reason, as well.
“Tonight I cried because it’s never the end,” Sturdy said. “It won’t happen. We the human species are so intelligent and we do such astonishing things. We can fly to the moon but we still do stupid things.”