70th Anniversary of Dieppe Raid

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by Scout Sniper, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  2. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

  3. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Wills Where do you find this stuff?
  4. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    Nice find Wills.
    It reads as a rather simplistic and naive assessment.

    It's a very good CYA piece.
  5. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

  6. Fraser415

    Fraser415 Junior Member

    Here is my Article I have been working on for my local Community paper.

    A Canadian Tank Battle

    The sappers onboard LCT 163 donned earphones as the crews of “Bob”, “Bert”, and “Bill” began warming up their massive engines. The three MK III Churchill tanks in the hold of the landing craft comprised 6 Troop, B Squadron. Operation Jubilee on the beaches of Dieppe that morning, 19th August 1942, would be the Canadian Army’s first entry into the Second World War. The Calgary Tank Regiment would become the first Canadian Tank Regiment to engage in combat and it would mark the first time the Churchill Tank had seen action.
    As the beach came into view at 0530 hrs, the sun had already begun to rise and the smoke screen cleared. Towering cliffs flanked the beach along which ran a sea wall to the partially demolished Casino that jutted out. The buildings that fronted the promenade above the seawall formed a fortress. The German artillery, anti-tank batteries, mortars, and machine gun nests directed their fury on the beach and incoming landing craft.
    As LCT 163 made her approach a shell found its mark and the engine room burst into flames. Overcome by the smoke, the helmsman collapsed and the ship veered to port. Two more helmsmen would be killed before, on its fourth attempt, using another sunken LCT for cover she landed her tanks dry. Once on the beach Bert’s gunner, Trooper Stewart, realized his turret was not traversing as the experimental waterproofing had not adequately blown with the cordite charges. Co-driver Trooper Dunsmore ventured out into the hail of bullets to cut away the waterproofing with a machete.
    Of the twenty nine tanks that attempted to land, only sixteen made it off the beach. Undeterred by the chert rocks that bellied down and broke the tracks of other tanks, 6 Troop proceeded down the beach to where the seawall was at its lowest point near the Casino and roared onto the promenade.
    Using their Bessa machine guns and six pound guns the tanks destroyed gun emplacements in and around the Casino, on the promenade, and the buildings and cliffs above. Seven foot tall concrete road blocks prevented the tanks from advancing further into the town. Few of the sappers who were to destroy the barriers with their 60lb packs of explosives had survived the first few minutes, let alone made it across the beach, barbed wire, and promenade. With no high explosive ammunition, the tanks armour piercing rounds ricocheted off the concrete.
    Tank crews would later describe the concentrated fire of the anti-tank batteries and Stuka dive bombers causing the walls of the tanks to glow red from the shells stressing the armour, and the stifling heat and smell of the melting paint. As Bert manoeuvred to avoid an anti-tank ditch, a direct hit blew the left track off. From their position they continued to provide covering fire for twenty Royal Hamilton Light Infantry who crossed from the Casino into the town. Bill moved alongside Bert and after some difficulty removing the waterproofing from the tanks side hatch, three members of Bert’s crew crammed into Bill. Bob then moved alongside to receive the remaining two.
    At 1100 hrs the tanks were recalled to the beach to lay smoke screens and provide covering fire for the soldiers attempting to board the few returning landing craft. As the Germans mercilessly rained down fire on the soldiers, there was little the tank crews could do. Those that ventured out of the tanks to aid their comrades quickly became casualties themselves and there was little cover to be found.
    Of the 6,000 who deployed only 2,078 would return to England, 850 of which never landed. In a just a few short hours 3,367 Canadians were killed, wounded, or captured in what would be Canada’s worst defeat. Those that survived would spend the remaining years of the war as prisoners.
  7. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    Fraser, is that part of a larger piece ?

    While some members on this forum who know Dieppe
    understand your piece perfectly well,
    the average person may not be too familiar with the content.
  8. Fraser415

    Fraser415 Junior Member

    I had to pair it down quite a bit because of the limits as a newspaper article. It is still actually longer than it was supposed to be. I know it doesn't begin to tell the whole story of Dieppe, I was trying to concentrate on the story of my grandfather's tank.
  9. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Well done Fraser
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

  11. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    An editorial in The New York Times that appeared just one year after the raid. It said:
    "Men afoot and men in tanks were exposed to a fire that no valor could withstand. Hundreds of them went as far as they could and died, but these deaths achieved nothing except to prove what was already known - the high quality of the Canadian troops....
    Someday there will be two spots on the French coast sacred to the British and their allies. One will be Dunkirk, where Britain was saved because a beaten army would not surrender. The other will be Dieppe, where brave men died without hope for the sake of proving that there is a wrong way to invade. They will have their share of the glory when the right way is tried".
  12. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    The German view of Dieppe

    The sound quality leaves something to be desired.

    That was painful to try and watch, they need real camera help. :)

    Can you give us the gist of it ?

    Bet they were happy about taking one back after Ypres, Hill 62,
    Vimy, Passchendaele, somehow forgetting about us in the Spring Offensive,
    and the pasting they got in the 100 days. :D
  13. Fraser415

    Fraser415 Junior Member

    Thanks, I found so much great info, I will have try to consolidate it into one place. I was able to get a hold of Hugh Henry's thesis and dissertation. I am hoping to get a chance to see some his source letters from the veterans at a later date. I was also able to interview, Bill Stewart who was the gunner for Bert.
  14. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Any information on commemorative events this year?
  15. No.4CommandoBairn

    No.4CommandoBairn Well-Known Member

    I'm going this year. I've not heard of any official programme as yet. I know of a private one on the 18th, a few French friends are meeting then and I'll be heading to the Varengeville Battery site on the 19th. I will make sure I attend the main one in the town on the 19th also. I will visit the Battery that was No.3's target, too.
  16. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    As a slight aside (although it is to do with Dieppe), I live near Bergen CWGC cemetery in North-Holland. There are 2 Canadians from the Dieppe Raid buried in the cemetery - G.A. Scaife of The Cameron Highlanders and an unknown. It seems they were washed ashore in Holland long after the operation. Bear in mind that Bergen is about 500km from Dieppe. According to the attached article I found online, there are a few from the Dieppe Raid buried in the Netherlands. Just wondered if anyone might have more information about Scaife, and why he might have ended up where he did?

    Attached Files:

  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Those dead in the sea from the Dieppe Raid were subject to the prevailing English Channel northerly currents which tended to take some of the bodies north and deposit them on to the Dutch coast line.If I remember correctly there was also a couple of Canadian bodies washed up on the West Frisian Islands.These currents were also responsible for the washing up of RAF aircrew casaulties who had been downed in the Channel and also were foiund on West Frisian Islands shores

    There was also a sole casualty deposited in the Cap Blanc Nez area who is now interred in Escalles Cemetery,a few miles south west of Calais.
  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I see that the two Canadian casualties washed up in the West Frisian are mentioned in the helpful Battle diary document.

    The casualty buried at Escalles is British, being No 40 RM Commando Arthur John Callow.He is the only military casualty buried here in a pleasant postion in Escalles Churchyard,situated on a slope with a good view out to sea.
  19. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    A veteran of the Calgary Tanks who attended the 65th anniversary with us in Dieppe described to us the dozens of bodies he encountered in the waters off Dieppe. He eventually made it out to an RN launch and returned to England. The crew of the launch took a huge risk as they darted in under fire and plucked him from the water. As he recounted the experience he commented that without the cover provided by the many floating corpses he would not have made it. He swam underwater from body to body as he worked his way further from shore and always under fire.
    No.4CommandoBairn likes this.
  20. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I discovered that Tom achieved some notoriety in 1943 when his photo appeared on the cover of the Picture Post magazine.

    Guy Hudson likes this.

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