Today marks the 75th anniversary of the raid on Dieppe – the bloodiest day of battle for Canada in the Second World War. Sitting in the Saskatchewan Archives a couple weeks ago (acting as my daughter’s research assistant as she prepared for a project), I was surprised by two things. First, news of the battle was reported in the evening edition of the Regina Leader-Post on August 19. I tend to think that news didn’t travel so quickly in the past, but I suppose with the time difference between Europe and Regina, the technology at the time would have allowed for important news to be available quickly. The second surprise was the glowing reports of the raid. From the vantage point of 2017, headlines such as “Allied Victory Was Decisive” made me gasp. There was such pride that the South Saskatchewan Regiment, based out of Estevan, had been involved. It was heartbreaking to read through the papers through the end of August, as the slow realization of what had really happened became apparent. Casualty list after casualty list was published, as well as photos of local men lost. There were frequent articles reminding readers to stay positive.
Dieppe by the numbers:
4963 Canadians left on the mission.
916 were killed in action.
1950 (approximately) became prisoners of war.
2200 (approximately) – many wounded – made it back to England
5 am – time raid began
10:50 am – time Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat
We paid so heavily to fight Nazism the first time. Let’s make sure we don’t have to do it again.