Mastermind of Dunkirk and D-Day

The Vision of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay

Brian Izzard

The first modern biography of Bertam Ramsey, the man who masterminded the Dunkirk evacuation and the D-Day landings.
Date Published :
April 2020
Publisher :
Illustration :
30 images
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ISBN : 9781612008387
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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This is the first major biography of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay in fifty years. Ramsay masterminded the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in 1940. Initially, it was thought that 40,000 troops at most could be rescued. But Ramsay's planning and determination led to some 330,000 being brought back to fight another day, although the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy paid a high price in ships and men. Ramsay continued to play a crucial role in the conduct of the Second World War – the invasion of Sicily in 1943 was successful in large part due to his vision, and he had a key role in the planning and execution of the D-Day invasion – coordinating and commanding the 7,000 ships that delivered the invasion force onto the beaches of Normandy.

All this from a man who had actually retired in 1938, after forty years in the Navy. He was persuaded out of retirement by Winston Churchill in 1939, however he was not reinstated on the Active List until April 1944, at which point he was promoted to Admiral and appointed Naval Commander-in-Chief for the D-Day naval expeditionary force. Dying in a mysterious air crash in 1945, Ramsay’s legacy has been remembered by the Royal Navy but his key role in the Allied victory has been widely forgotten. After the war ended his achievements ranked alongside those of Sir Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Viscount Alanbrooke, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery and General Dwight Eisenhower, yet he never received the public recognition he deserved.

Brian Izzard’s new biography of Ramsay puts him and his work back center-stage, arguing that Ramsay was the mastermind without whom the outcome of both Dunkirk and D-Day – and perhaps the entire war – could have been very different.


Chapter 1 The Banished Warrior
Chapter 2 A Ramsay Who Riled Wellington
Chapter 3 War Breaks Out
Chapter 4 New Horizons
Chapter 5 Battle of the Admirals
Chapter 6 King of the Castle
Chapter 7 The Troops Head to France
Chapter 8 Operation Dynamo
Chapters 9 to 16: Dunkirk evacuation
Chapter 17 Salute to Ramsay
Chapter 18 Mutiny
Chapter 19 Threat of Invasion
Chapter 20 1941
Chapter 21 The Great Escape
Chapter 22 Go To It!
Chapter 23 Operation Torch
Chapter 24 The Burning Torch
Chapter 25 The Tide Turns
Chapter 26 Onward to Sicily
Chapter 27 D-Day
Chapter 28 Death


‘’This is a fascinating account of a great admiral's life and times."

- Warships International Fleet Review

‘’This excellent modern biography is long overdue, superbly written and will hopefully help restore the worthy prominence owed to one of Britain's greatest naval officers.’’

- Britain at War Magazine

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