Did you run across that queer sort of legend about a wild goose? It was all up and down the beaches. You know how those things spring up. Some of the men I brought back were talking about it. It was supposed to have appeared at intervals the last days between Dunkirk and La Panne. If you saw it, you were eventually saved. That sort of thing…
The story was also made into a television movie by BBC and shown in the US as a Hallmark program in 1971. It starred Richard Harris as Philip Rhayader. Like Johnny and the Bomb, it has been put on YouTube in 10 minute increments and may be seen at
thanks to mark042683.
I have mixed feelings about the illustration in the version I used, even though the artist, Angela Barrett, was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award in 2009. Barrett is a talented artist, but I did not like her depiction of Rhayader. I thought she made him too primitive looking. I did like the way she envisioned Frith, the uncultivated, innocent child of the marshes. This, I thought, was the most hauntingly beautiful illustration of Philip Rhayader’s arrival at Dunkirk, and my favorite of Barrett’s illustrations (pgs 36-37.) I think she has really captured the legend-like quality of the story in them.