Monday, October 17, 2016

Dieppe a part of our history

Dieppe a beautiful little coastal town, doesn't look like it was overly affected by the war. The harbour is full of little cafes and meeting spots for the locals and tourists to enjoy their Sunday morning coffee and stroll along the harbour.  When we first arrived it was pouring, we had a lovely lunch at one of those little cafes and one of the amazing french coffees (almost as good as the Italian :).  By the time we were finished the rain had stopped and we were able to investigate this beautiful little coastal town.

 Yet for Canadians it was our first major battle and a total disaster.  This lovely little town was a FORTRESS, lying in wait for our landing in 1942.  It didn't help that they knew we were coming, but either way, a small harbour/beach with gigantic cliffs at each end armed with gigantic guns.  Known as Operation Jubilee 

The raid was over by mid-day. In nine hours, 907 Canadian soldiers were killed, 2,460 were wounded, and 1,946 Canadians were taken prisoner— including more prisoners than the army lost later in 11 months during the Northwest Europe campaign of 1944-1945. In the air battle overhead, the RCAF lost 13 planes and 10 pilots, out of 106 Allied aircraft and 81 airmen lost overall.

As you can see the castle standing right on the coast, doesn't even have a bullet hole in it.  

This Canadian division that was decimated on the beach in 1942, came back to liberate the town in 1944.
On the beach below the Canadians fought valiantly for 9 hours as they were pinned down by German gunners.  Finally the few left were able to retreat.  The beach now has a skateboard park and large community centre helping the community to heal.
The cemetery is just outside of town on a beautiful lot surrounded by trees and fields with a panoramic view of the countryside.  Amazingly peaceful.

As my family and friends know I cried a ton walking around the town and at the cemetary.  This was the first and only battle a lot of these young Canadian ever saw and they fought valiantly and their sacrifice helped pave the way for the D-Day Landing 2 years later.

If you are interested in the story of Dieppe, this is a great youtube with interviews from survivors and historians.

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