Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the Dieppe Raid of the Second World War, a dark day in the history of the Canadian military and the entire war. Casualties of this tragic day numbered 3,367.
The Dieppe Raid, code-named “Operation Jubilee” was the result of Allied forces needing to regain control in Europe after Nazi Germany had taken much of Western Europe and were making their way deep into the Soviet Union. Dieppe, a French resort town on the northwest coast, would be the town the Allied forces set their eyes on.
Out of the 6,000 men sent to complete this mission, close to 5,000 were Canadian. The forces reached the coast before dawn, but the landing party was immediately met with a German convoy. Fighting continued throughout the day but by early afternoon the fighting continued to take a turn for the worse, forcing the Allied forces to retreat and the remaining men to surrender.
Nearly 1,950 men were taken prisoners. Out of the 4,963 Canadians on the mission only 2,200 returned.
A statement released by Veterans Affairs recognized the sacrifices and lessons learned from the Dieppe Raid would always be remembered.
“The lessons learned from the Dieppe Raid were important to the success of later Allied amphibious assaults, including D-Day, and that knowledge saved many lives. The efforts of these Canadian troops eventually helped ensure victory and restore peace to the people of occupied Europe during the Second World War.
We remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who spent years in prisoners of war camps, and those who came home damaged in body and in spirit. We remember those who will never grow old so that future generations can live in peace. We remember all Canadians who served, and who continue to serve, in the cause of peace and freedom. Lest we forget.”
Above photo: Canadian troops disembarking from a landing craft during a training exercise before the raid on Dieppe, August 1942. (courtesy of Canada Department of National Defence. Library and Archives Canada, PA-113243)