Remembering the Dieppe Raid
August 19, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the horrendous raid on Dieppe, France, where Canada suffered its largest single-day number of casualties in all of World War II—916 were killed and thousands more wounded and/or captured by the Nazis.
Only 21 years after the horror of World War I, the world went mad again. World War II began on September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Poland’s allies Britain and France declared war on Germany and Canada supported Britain.
Germany conquered The Netherlands, Belgium and France by June 1940. Italy also invaded France and Libya, and with Germany tried to capture Egypt and the vital Suez Canal from Britain.
In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and advanced to Moscow before being halted in December 1941. In the Pacific, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, then captured or attacked Allied territories in the Pacific and Southeast Asia and advanced to the borders of India and Australia.
It was in this grim atmosphere of losses that in 1942, the United States and Russia demanded more action against Germany. To take pressure off the Eastern Front, a large raid on the French port of Dieppe was planned. Canada—although it had sent two battalions of infantry to the Battle of Hong Kong—was tired of not having taken an active role in the European war to that point. As a result, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division (2CID) was ordered to carry out the Dieppe Raid. Code-named “Operation Jubilee,” the raid took place August 19, 1942, after one false start.