There is a small sea harbour town on the Normandy coast, nestled between towering chalk cliffs. Dieppe is much like any other of the Normandy towns.
There is however something unique here, for I have seen a number of times, Canadians, from all walks of life, and ages, kneel down on the beach there and shed a tear and even weep as I did. It is as if the name is branded into the soul of any Canadian who knows any World War Two History.
It was here on August 19, 1942 five thousand Canadians and one thousand Brits launched a so called "raid in strength" on the town. At best it was an ill conceived attempt to satisfy Stalin's demands for attacks that would draw German resources and take the pressure off the Russian front at worst it was outright betrayal. Mismanagement is too kind a word for the events of the day. It was a bloody disaster.
The bombardment of the guns on the cliffs, by the single cruiser with a single 4” gun, overlooking the beach was woefully inadequate and completely ineffectual. Many of the tanks landed on the beach by the new LCTs (Landing Craft Tank) could not climb the steep flint pebble beach which jammed and broke the sprockets of their tread drive wheels. The men were trapped on the beach, sitting ducks for the overwhelming fire power of the machine guns of the shore defenses and the heavy guns on the surrounding cliffs. By the end of the day, of the 3367 casualties, 907 Canadians were dead, and a further two thousand captured. "They" said many lessons were learned that made the D day invasion, two years later, a success. - Images Of The Journey Photography -- David R Cale