August 17, 2017

Dieppe – 19 August 1942

Dear C&E Association Members,

Below is an extract from the Veterans Affairs Canada website providing a general description of the ill-fated Dieppe Raid.  In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid VAC arranged for several WWII veterans and three Dieppe veterans to participate in the celebrations taking place 16-20 August in and around Dieppe.  Your Association worked with VAC to facilitate the participation of our own Dieppe veteran HCol David Hart, his wife Miriam and his son Michael.  As many will know then Sgt David Hart was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for his courageous actions at Dieppe.  Sgt Hart was operating on the Brigade net providing communications from Brigade HQ to the frontline. Sgt Hart requested permission to leave his own Brigade net to pass on critical operational withdrawal timing changes to an adjacent Brigade who were out of contact. He promised his control station he would be back on net in 30 seconds.  Sgt Hart found the correct frequency and passed on these critical orders to the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and the South Saskatchewan Regiment allowing them to withdraw at the correct time.  His actions were responsible for saving hundreds of lives.

Our entire C&E community is with HCol Hart and his family as he once again steps on the shores of Dieppe and relives the incredible actions of our soldiers, sailors and air force personnel who fought so courageously during this historic event in Canada’s military history.

Thank you HCol Hart for your service to our C&E military family and to our country.  You make us very proud.

The Raid on Dieppe, France, on August 19, 1942, was a pivotal moment in the Second World War. With virtually all of continental Europe under German occupation, the Allied forces faced a well-entrenched enemy. Some method had to be found to create a foothold on the continent, and the Raid on Dieppe offered invaluable lessons for the successful D-Day invasion in 1944, saving countless lives in that momentous offensive.

Canadians made up the great majority of the attackers in the raid. Nearly 5,000 of the 6,100 troops were Canadians. The remaining troops consisted of approximately 1,000 British Commandos and 50 American Rangers. The raid was supported by eight Allied destroyers and 74 Allied air squadrons, eight belonging to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Major-General J.H. Roberts, Commander of the 2nd Canadian Division, was Military Force Commander, with Captain J. Hughes-Hallett, Royal Navy (RN) as Naval Force Commander and Air Vice-Marshal T.L. Leigh-Mallory as Air Force Commander.

Although extremely valuable lessons were learned in the Raid on Dieppe, a steep price was paid. Of the 4,963 Canadians who embarked for the operation, only 2,210 returned to England, and many of these were wounded. There were 3,367 casualties, including 1,946 prisoners of war; 916 Canadians lost their lives.

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