DIEPPE ~ BLUE BEACH
EVERY MAN REMEMBERED
THE ROYAL REGIMENT OF CANADA
In the early hours of August 19, 1942, 554 men from The Royal Regiment of Canada, along with troops from The Black Watch and two artillery detachments, stormed the beach at Puys (Blue Beach) in what was known as the Dieppe Raid. The Royals would suffer the heaviest casualties of the raid. Our fathers, grandfathers, family members and friends, landed on that beach that day. For the 75th anniversary, it was our goal to bring together as many family members and friends as possible to honour and pay tribute to these men, who had no chance of being successful that day, who were basically sacrificed on that beach.
“Dieppe – Blue Beach – Every Man Remembered” partnered with “The Battlefield Tours” to design this tour which took place in August of 2017. Family and friends embarked on a pilgrimage to remember these men: the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice, the ones who were prisoners of war, and all the ones who survived and were forever scarred by the events of Canada’s darkest day of World War II.
This custom-made tour made it possible to walk in our forefather’s footsteps, with specific details pertaining to Blue Beach.
Starting in London, we visited various sites, including a ride on a 1940s vintage bus, to tour areas of London most affected by the Blitz. Many soldiers from The Royal Regiment helped dig people out of bombed buildings during that time. Then we journeyed to the Military Museum in Aldershot to see where our forefathers trained for nearly two years before Dieppe. We paid tribute at the Canadian Military Cemetery at Brookwood, where the names of the men who were killed at Dieppe are listed on the columns of the memorial, because their remains were never found. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission allowed us to do a special ceremony, where we were able to place photos of many of our Royals underneath their names on the commemorative wall.
We travelled by ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe. As we got closer to Dieppe, we were able to see the cliffs of Puys in the distance, just as our forefathers would have seen as they were about to land on the beach, 75 years before. Standing together silently, we imagined what they might have been thinking as they realized what their fate was to be, as the noise of the guns erupted and they were alerted to the chaos.
In Dieppe, we were given a private tour and presentation at the Dieppe Memorial Museum. On August 19th, at approximately 5:30 am, the time when the soldiers arrived at the beach, we read aloud the names of all the men who landed there 75 years before. We toasted these heroes before walking on the stones, havng some private time to reflect. Several members of our group viewed gun placements before climbing the stairs to the top of the cliff and the Alexandre Dumas house, to see inside the German bunkers and take-in the view the Germans had, as the Royals were landing on the beach. We posed for a photo with the owners of the house, and thanked them for this incredible opportunity, before climbing back down the stairs, thinking of those men and the opposition they faced on August 19, 1942.
Photos and memories of our 2017 journey to Dieppe will soon appear on this page.