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Remembering the raid on Dieppe 80 years later


Around 100 people gathered on Sunday under sunny skies in Dieppe, New Brunswick, to commemorate the Canadian raid on the port town of Dieppe, France, during the Second World War.

Friday was the 80th anniversary of the ill-fated raid that saw thousands of Allied soldiers – mostly Canadian – launch an amphibious attack on the Nazi-occupied country.

The raid was supposed to be a test to see how strong German coastal forces were. Instead, it was a massive failure and a bloodbath for the Canadians.

More than 900 Canadian soldiers were killed in less than 10 hours, while nearly 2,500 were wounded and just under 2,000 were captured during Operation Jubilee.

Nils Liljemark, the president of the Dieppe Military Veterans' Association, compared it to the opening scenes of the film Saving Private Ryan.

“It was supposed to be a surprise, but the Allied fleet was spotted and engaged by a German supply convoy,” said Liljemark. “The convoy radioed the German coastal defences, giving them time to prepare for the arrival of the Allied fleet. The Dieppe raid was a disaster from start to finish.”

A delegation from Poland and members of New Brunswick's Polish community were also on hand for the unveiling of a monument to the Polish naval ship Slazak and its crew that saved 85 Canadian soldiers during the battle.

“Poland's history is filled with dramatic military endeavours,” said Polish ambassador H.E. Withold Dzielski. “We also have much appreciation for our Canadian allies that came to fight for freedom of Europe in the First and Second World Wars.”

The anniversary was celebrated in grand style in Dieppe, France, on Friday with a massive ceremony in the seaside town.

Originally known as Leger Corner, the New Brunswick municipality was renamed Dieppe in 1946 to honour the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives on the rocky beach.

“That's why we have a delegation there this week,” said Dieppe MLA Roger Melanson. “The mayor, some councillors and some members of the Dieppe Veterans Military Association. They're there for the 80th celebration of the Dieppe raid and the contribution of Canadians. We always need to remember that what happened 80 years ago, We shouldn't take for granted all the rights they've given us, that we live with today.”

Although it was a clear-cut military disaster, the Allies learned many lessons that day and those lessons were later used on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day. Top Stories

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