OTTAWA, Aug. 3, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadians who fought in the Dieppe Raid 75 years ago sacrificed greatly in their efforts to help bring peace and freedom to the people of Europe. Their task was a difficult and costly one.
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, is leading an official Government of Canada delegation to France, to mark the 75th anniversary of the tragic Dieppe Raid. The delegation will depart Ottawa on August 16, 2017, and return on August 21.
The delegation will include Veterans, representatives of Indigenous and Veterans' associations, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian youth and parliamentarians. A contingent of the Canadian Armed Forces made up of units and branches that had been involved in the raid will also participate in ceremonies and events in France.
Of the Veterans who will be part of the Government of Canada delegation, fifteen of them served in the Second World War. Moreover, four of these Veterans – Stan Edwards, Paul Delorme, Maurice LeBlanc and David Hart – took part in the Dieppe Raid on August 19, 1942.
Members of the delegation will also include Elizabeth Merritt, daughter of Victoria Cross recipient Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cecil Merritt, and Sheila Anderson, the Royal Canadian Legion's Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother for 2015.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cecil Merritt was the commanding officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment during the Dieppe Raid and led his soldiers across the bridge in Pourville, now bearing his name, at least four times under a storm of enemy fire. He then organized and led uphill assaults on several of the concrete pillboxes and other enemy positions that looked down on the bridge and the village.
Finally, Veterans Affairs Canada worked with Encounters with Canada to select four youth to join the official delegation. Three of these youth represent areas within Canada which had regiments that participated in the Dieppe Raid. A youth representative from the city of Dieppe, New Brunswick – which adopted its name in 1946 to honour those who took part in Operation Jubilee – will also be part of the delegation.
"I am honoured to lead this delegation to France so that Canada can pay homage to those who served and to those who paid the ultimate price 75 years ago. To have the chance to travel with some of those who fought on the beaches of Dieppe is a truly humbling experience, as there is no better way to learn their stories and carry them forward. This is how we ensure that we never forget their legacy."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
Quick facts on the Dieppe Raid:
- August 19, 1942, was Canada's bloodiest day of the Second World War. There were more than 3,350 Canadian casualties by the end of the Dieppe Raid. Sadly, 916 Canadians were killed and approximately 1,950 more were captured and became prisoners of war.
- Code-named Operation Jubilee, the Dieppe Raid was the first significant action seen by Canadian soldiers in Europe during the Second World War.
- Two Canadians, Honorary Captain John Weir Foote, a chaplain with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cecil Merritt, the commanding officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions during the Dieppe Raid.
- The nearly 5,000 Canadian soldiers who came ashore during the raid were supported by roughly 1,000 British commandos and 50 American Army Rangers.
- The Canadians who fought in the Dieppe Raid were among the more than one million men and women from our country who served in uniform during the Second World War.
- For more information on the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, visit veterans.gc.ca/Dieppe75
- Share your thoughts at facebook.com/CanadaRemembers
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Sarah McMaster, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]