Remembering World War II’s doomed Dieppe Raid, 75 years on

More than 6,000 men, including 5,000 Canadians, landed at Dieppe and on four adjacent beaches with the objective of destroying German coastal defences as well as some strategic infrastructure.

On August 19, 1942, more than 6,000 men landed in Normandy as Allied forces launched a raid on the French port of Dieppe. But the poorly prepared operation would fail, with deadly consequences.

Robert Boulanger, a teenager from the province of Quebec, was one of those young soldiers. He had just turned 18. On the morning of August 10, he penned a few words to his parents. His letter is on display at the memorial: “We’re being told that we’re very near the French coast. I believe it because we can hear the cannonade and the explosions, even the shells whistling over our heads. Finally I realise that we’re no longer in drill. An assault boat directly next to ours has just been hit and has gone under with all those who were onboard. We didn’t have time to see much because in the space of one or two minutes, there was nothing left. Oh my God, protect yourselves from such a fate!”

Those were Boulanger’s last words. A bullet went right through his forehead. He hadn’t even set foot on the beach. In the space of just a few hours, 1,000 men lost their lives while 3,000 were captured and held prisoner until the end of the war. The operation was a total failure.

With the 75th Anniversary of this raid coming up on August 19th, Seahaven fm will be doing their piece to make sure these young lives are still remembered.