Veterans have gathered on Dunkirk beach to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous troop evacuation. Scores of former Second World War soldiers attended a ceremony at the Allied Memorial on Dunkirk seafront, with 50 of the original "little ships" that took part in the operation offshore. Several days of commemorations are taking place in the northern French port to celebrate the famous mission that rescued more than 300,000 Allied troops stranded on the beaches in 1940. On Friday, tears were shed at a ceremony remembering the SS massacre of more than 80 British soldiers at Esquelbecq, just outside Dunkirk. They had been protecting the town's outer defences and after being taken prisoner by soldiers from SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, were herded into a barn and killed by grenade and machine gun. British, French, Canadian and Belgian soldiers were rescued from Dunkirk beaches between May 26 and June 4, 1940.