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19 August 1942-Dieppe
Imagination is stronger than knowledge. Imagination tells us that today, 60 years ago the raid on Dieppe was an unqualified success. The raid was a failure.The main attack was to be made across the pebble beach in front of Dieppe Germans
on the clifftop and in buildings waited. The Essex Scottish Regiment assaulted the open eastern section, the enemy swept the beach with machine-gun fire. All attempts to breach the seawall were beaten back with heavy losses. The reserve battalion Les Fusiliers Mont Royal was sent in. They were pinned down on the beach and exposed to intense enemy fire.
Myths are more potent than history. The myth is that thousands of Allied lives were saved by the Canadians and Britons who stormed the beach at Dieppe long before Operation Overlord.
I stood and applauded with thousands of Frenchmen as old men some pushed in wheelchairs, relived that far off day. A British nurse, who had remained at her station in Rouen through the second world war led the thin parade. Grizzled men were in the imagination transformed into the brave lads of yesteryear. As five wheelchair bound veterans were pushed past the French Minster for Ancient Combatants and representatives of the Canadian and British Governments they had the young Canadian women ratings stop their wheelchairs and four of them, with cane and crutches pushed themselves erect, one barked at the seated man, "Up straight Jack". Jack grew in that chair. They saluted the Maple Leaf, the Union flag and Regimental Colours of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Royal Regiment of Canada and the Essex Scottish Regiment . They turned towards the unseen Canadian Cemetery and saluted, once again, the 907 of their comrades who are asleep in the Arms of the Lord. The heaviest losses were sustained by the Royal Regiment of Canada (224) and The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (199).
My eyes saw these men as the steady of hand and strong of limb youths. I knew that I had seen heroes. Warriors!
Yesterday was a dream. Dreams are more powerful than facts.
Les rêves sont le livre que votre âme écrit au sujet de vous! ( Dreams are only the book your soul writes about you)