The Second World War in Europe ended 70 years ago on May 8, 1945.

With this important anniversary about to take place, I thought your readers would be interested in this old photograph.

When the entire British Army became trapped at Dunkirk, in sheer desperation, King George VI called for a national Day of Prayer to be held on May 26, 1940.

In a national broadcast, he instructed the people of the UK to turn back to God in a spirit of repentance and plead for divine help. Millions of people across the British Isles flocked into churches pleading for deliverance.

This photograph shows the extraordinary scene outside Westminster Abbey as people queued for prayer.

Two events immediately followed. Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region grounding the Luftwaffe, which had been killing thousands of soldiers on the beaches. Secondly, a calm descended on the English Channel, the like of which had not been seen for a generation, which allowed hundreds of tiny boats to sail across and rescue 335,000 soldiers.

From then on, people referred to what happened as the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’.

Sunday, June 9 was officially appointed as a day of national thanksgiving.

Had it not been for that violent storm and Channel calm, at that precise moment, the entire British Army would have been destroyed and the war lost.

John Williams

via email