On August 19, 1942, more than 5,000 Canadian navy, army, and air force personnel, joined by British and American troops, approached the German-occupied French towns of Dieppe, Puys, and Pourville to launch a large-scale raid against the Nazi troops guarding them.
The operation was designed to test the German forces’ defence capabilities and to gather key intelligence, but the raid on Dieppe turned to tragedy when the enemy pinned the troops down with sustained machine gun, mortar, and artillery fire.
After nine hours of excruciating combat, over 900 Canadians had lost their lives, with thousands more wounded or taken prisoner. Less than half of those involved in this assault made it back home to England in the aftermath.
While the Dieppe raid marked the bloodiest day of the Second World War for our country, the lessons learned during this operation helped pave the way for the Allied victory.
On this solemn anniversary, as we remember the brave Canadians who sacrificed their lives on the beaches of Dieppe 81 years ago, we remain inspired by their courage, resilience, and commitment to upholding freedom, peace, and democracy. We also take this opportunity to honour the many servicewomen and men who have lost their lives on the battlefield, and we thank all our veterans for their service to Canada and to the world.
Lest we forget