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This Dunkirk war veteran was moved to tears by Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster

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Matt Tate
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If you’ve already seen Christopher Nolan’s latest cinematic epic, Dunkirk, you’ll know it’s a relentlessly tense, visceral experience (particularly in its optimal IMAX setting). The lean runtime, throbbing score and sparse dialogue make it a decidedly unique war film, as well as a valuable history lesson.

For 98-year-old Ken Sturdy, though, watching the movie felt like going back in time. A Dunkirk survivor, the World War II veteran was moved to tears by Nolan’s vivid portrayal of one of Britain’s landmark military events. 

“It was so well done,” he told Global News. It’s like in every detail it told the story just the way it was. Yes, I’m so pleased I saw it. 

Sturdy, now a citizen of Canada, was just 20 when the 1940 evacuation took place. Surrounded on all sides by the encroaching German army, it has been hailed as a miracle that more than 300,000 Allied soldiers were successfully evacuated, but some 68,000 were captured or killed. 

“I was 20 years of age, then I was in the Navy until the end of the war. So many of my friends are gone now and I keep going with all my memories. They’re all there. And that film brought it all back again.

“...I had the privilege of seeing that film tonight, but I am saddened by it because of what happened on that beach,” he added. “One of my mates was taken prisoner and they marched the few of them who weren’t killed on the beach off to Poland. He spent five years in a German prison camp.”

Sturdy, visibly emotional throughout the interview, talked about the ‘inevitability of war’, and how it saddens him that, nearly 80 years later, it continues to happen on such a large scale. 

“Tonight I cried because its never the end. It won’t happen,” he told reporters.

“As a human species we are so intelligent, we do such astonishing things. We can fly to the moon, but we still do stupid things.”

(Image: Global News)