There is a moment in the newly released film “Dunkirk” when a British officer peers out at a ragtag flotilla of civilian boats approaching where he stands at the water’s edge on a beach in the north of France.
A single word slips from his lips.
That’s the moment when the first tear fell for Cyril Tozer, who watched the film in a theater in Holtsville on Wednesday.
Tozer, who was born in England, had been on Dunkirk’s wide beach in June 1940, when the fate of World War II hung in the balance.
Then a 17-year-old British soldier, Tozer had been among the more than 350,000 British and French troops who had been routed by Hitler’s Nazi army in May 1940, and had fled through France to the beaches outside of Dunkirk.
Caught between the water’s edge and Hitler’s advancing troops, their only hope was an evacuation across the English Channel. Failure meant capture, and likely a quick end to World War II.
But Nazi planes and submarines made a military-only evacuation almost…
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