This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, considered one of the darkest days of the Second World War for Canadians.
“To this day, Dieppe remains one of the most identifiable events in Canadian Second World War history,” stated a press release from Beechwood Cemetery Foundation.
To mark this tragic yet historically significant day, Beechwood Cemetery Foundation, the Juno Beach Centre Association (JBCA), and No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation (NSLA) have collaborated for the first time to commemorate and recognize Canada’s contributions to the Second World War.
About the Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid occurred on Aug. 19, 1942, through the Combined Operations Headquarters, the air, sea, and land force in charge of organizing raids on the coast of France.
“A force of 6,090 troops would occupy the town of Dieppe, take prisoners, destroy the port’s defences, and return to England with German naval intelligence plunder – all within a single day,” said Nicholas McCarthy, director of marketing, communications and community outreach, Beechwood Cemetery.
The operation was carried out mainly by Canadian troops on the ground with air, land, and naval support from other Allied forces. Allied Forces paid a hefty price for this raid, with 1,094 soldiers killed in action and 3,219 missing in action, wounded in action, or prisoners of war.
“In less than 10 hours of fighting, two-thirds of a force of 4,963 Canadians were wounded, taken prisoner, or killed. In total, more than 900 Canadians were killed in action or died of their wounds, more than 700 of whom are buried at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in Hautot-sur-Mer, France,” said McCarthy.
According to the press release, Dieppe has made a stronger mark in the collective memory of Canadians than any other battle of the Second World War. And understanding this event, and interpreting it, has changed over the decades.
“The Dieppe Raid occurred during the darkest year of the war for the Allies. High losses during the Battle of the Atlantic influenced how Combined Operations would mount raids on the coast of France in the hopes to capture German intelligence documents that might help the Allies win the Battle of the Atlantic. Other interpretations describe the raid as a learning exercise for landing on an enemy shore or a response to the great pressure placed on Great Britain by its Allies, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America,” said McCarthy.
To mark the Dieppe Raid, the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation, the Juno Beach Centre Association (JBCA), and No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation (NSLA) have teamed up to encourage the youth to connect with history.
They collaboratively have invited students to share their thoughts on:
- Why the Dieppe Raid is important to Canada and the Second World War?
Did the Dieppe Raid have an impact on how the Allies would mount subsequent amphibious operations?
- How have the reasons for mounting the raid changed over the past 80 years?
Reflect on the sacrifice of those brave Canadian soldiers and their families.
- They also ask youth to write letters to the soldiers who sacrificed during the Dieppe War.
- A selection of the letters will be provided to surviving Dieppe Veterans here in Canada. The remainder will be sent to France and placed at the headstones of the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery.
The Beechwood Cemetery Foundation, the Juno Beach Centre Association (JBCA), and No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation (NSLA) ask students to submit their letters by July 20, 2022.
Letters should be sent to:
EAST: Dieppe Raid, c/o Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue Ottawa, Ontario, K1L 8A6
WEST: Dieppe Raid, No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation, c/o Waterloo Ford Lincoln, 11420 – 107 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 0Y5
EUROPE: Dieppe Raid, c/o Juno Beach Centre, Voie des Français Libres, B.P. 104 14470 Courseulles-sur-Mer France.