Here is the document that I suspect few Canadians today have ever seen...
But now its time to travel to the far left hand side of this image and the southern tip of Vancouver Island... and to God's Acre once again.
Recent blogs in this space, have brought you a lot of details with regards to the ceremony held there. Many speakers reminded us of the horrible costs, and the incredible bravery of all on that August day of 1942. The nine hours of slaughter became known as some of the darkest hours in Canadian military history.
We were told, as supported by the internet and most reference materials, that after all was said and done at Dieppe, three Victoria Crosses and 2 Distinguished Service Order medals for bravery were awarded. Apparently two of the VC's and 1 DSO came to Canadians.
So we were told.... in error! The VC numbers are right, but not so for the DSO's!
Shown here are the 2 Victoria Cross recipients from Canada.
His bravery lead many across the heavily fortified structure but were later forced to retreat. Wherein he led a vigorous rearguard till captured. Twice wounded he was taken as a prisoner of war. He would later be awarded a Victoria Cross for his actions and incredible bravery.
Today he lay at rest back in Vancouver.
The above first image shows the proximety of Dieppe to the south eastern side of England, some 300 kms to the north west. The second shows part of the Dieppe beach and where Col. Merritt and his men landed, just about 7 miles from Dieppe. Note the three rivers in blue. The one on the left was Merritt's start point.
But his troops were landed by the navy at the left of the river instead of the right side. If done correctly his men could have avoided the very heavy battles to cross a bridge structure that was well protected by the enemy.
He successfully crossed the bridge several times and moving more and more troops across each time but then luck turned against him and the men were driven back. But eventually he and many of his men had to make it back to the coastline and move out into the English Channel.
In the process he organized a rear-guard action aiding many to escape. But many, including the Colonel were captured and spent the rest of the war in POW camps.
For his bravery he was later invested with the Victoria Cross. A very rare honour for a POW.
John Weir Foote, Ontario born, was a man of the clothe. When the war started he volunteered and was appointed as a military chaplain with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. He was given the honourary rank of a Captain.
Throughout some 8 hours Chaplain Foote continuously exposed himself to heavy enemy fire, while aiding the wounded back from enemy positions.
When finally forced to withdraw he had loaded troops onto a rescue craft and climbed in. Then he jumped off, because of his higher calling.
He turned about, and with hands up, surrendered. Doing so allowed him to stay with other POWs who would no doubt need his spiritual guidance as a chaplain.
He saved many lives during the battle, and probably many more whilst in a POW camp. He thus became Canada's first member of the Chaplain service to be decorated with the Victoria Cross for his bravery.
Today he lays at rest in a Cobourg Ontario cemetery.
Canada's only (so they say) DSO recipient was a fellow from Vancouver named Curry. A few years back I discovered a grave for Curry at the cemetery. I was thrilled to learn that he was serving in the Toronto Scottish at Dieppe. This being my first regiment of three served in over about 17 yr span.
But I suspect unknown to those at the cemetery and those planning the ceremony, they had a Dieppe DSO recipient buried at this very cemetery. The DSO is a bravery award just one down from the Victoria Cross.
Knowing of the ceremony up and coming I went to the graveyard and after much hunting by me and two very dedicated Veterans Affairs Canada reps, we found his grave.
Learning of this was too late for this year but I suspect in future events his story will be highlighted at this historic grave site.
Here is his grave marker...
As mentioned in an earlier blog, all guests were invited to pick up a candle and place it in front of the grave of those at rest within the cemetery.
As seen at this blog in the past, for those that missed it, here are images of the Victoria Cross (on left) and the DSO...
In the mean time, sorry I missed making notice in a timely manner that the 4th of course was the big day of celebrations throughout the US.
Hope you will join me on Wednesday.