The Juno Beach Centre Association Announces He Lived Where You Live, A Postcard Campaign Connecting Canadians with Soldiers of the Dieppe Raid
BURLINGTON, Ontario, July 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Juno Beach Centre (JBC), Canada’s Second World War museum and memorial in Normandy, France, today announced the launch of the new commemorative postcard initiative He Lived Where You Live. Four hundred addresses across Canada will receive a unique postcard that shares the name and fate of a soldier who lived at that address and later perished during the 1942 Dieppe Raid.
“These postcards create a personal connection between contemporary Canadians and the young heroes who perished during the ill-fated Dieppe Raid 80 years ago,” said Alex Fitzgerald-Black, Executive Director of the Juno Beach Centre Association. “The Dieppe Raid occupies a large space in our collective memory of the Second World War, and we have a responsibility to remember that each soldier who participated had a unique personality, occupation, family, and home. These postcards remind us that their legacies can be traced back to our own communities even today.”
In 2021, the Juno Beach Centre began compiling the service files of Canadian soldiers who died during the raid. By cross referencing the home addresses these soldiers gave in their service files with contemporary addresses, it became clear that about 400 still exist today.
At the end of July 2022, each of these individual addresses were mailed a unique postcard that shares the name and story of the soldier of Dieppe who lived there at the time of his enlistment.
The Dieppe Raid was the Canadian Army’s first major combat against Germany during the Second World War. It was planned as a one-day operation conducted primarily by Canadian troops on August 19, 1942, with land, air, and naval support from British and American troops. Its official objective remains shrouded in mystery and is the subject of widespread mythology and controversy.
Within fewer than 10 hours of fighting, two-thirds of a force of 4,963 Canadians were wounded, captured or killed. A total of over 900 Canadians were killed in action or died of wounds, almost 600 of whom remain buried in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in Hautot-sur-Mer, France.
Regiments across the country participated in the raid. While only about half of the addresses of soldiers who died during the raid still exist today, they represent this diversity. Postcards will be sent to Nova Scotia (1), New Brunswick (1), Quebec (50), Ontario (316), Manitoba (22), Saskatchewan (5), Alberta (4), and British Columbia (1).
“As the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid approaches, fewer and fewer Canadians have a personal connection to inspire them to remember,” said Fitzgerald-Black. “By introducing them to soldiers who lived at their current addresses, we hope to create new connections that will foster remembrance for another 80 years and beyond.”
In addition to He Lived Where You Live, the Juno Beach Centre is commemorating the 80th anniversary through a new temporary exhibition at the museum in Normandy, France titled From Dieppe to Juno and a digital educational website on junobeach.org titled Who Tells the Story of Dieppe?
More information about He Lived Where You Live and the Juno Beach Centre’s other Dieppe 80 commemorative initiatives can be found at https://www.junobeach.org/commemorating-the-80th-anniversary-of-the-dieppe-raid/.
ABOUT THE JUNO BEACH CENTRE
The Juno Beach Centre was established in 2003 as a permanent memorial to all Canadians who were part of the Allied victory in the Second World War, and to preserve this legacy for future generations through education. The Centre in Normandy, France, pays homage to the nearly 45,000 Canadians who died during the War, of which 5,500 during the Battle of Normandy and 359 on D-Day. Almost 20 years and more than 1 million visitors later, the Centre has been designated a site of national historic significance to Canada. It is owned and operated by the Juno Beach Centre Association, a registered charitable organization based in Burlington, ON, Canada. To learn more, please visit www.junobeach.org.
Fast Facts: The Dieppe Raid
- The Dieppe Raid occurred on Wednesday, August 19, 1942.
- Originally planned as Operation Rutter, the Dieppe Raid took place as Operation Jubilee.
- Operation Rutter was cancelled in early July 1942 due to poor weather and a German airstrike on the raiding convoy.
- Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, revived the raid with the support of the Royal Air Force and the Canadian Army.
- The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and attached 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment (the Calgary Regiment) provided 4,963 out of the 6,090 troops involved in the raid.
- The Royal Navy assembled a force of 253 warships and landing vessels to support the operation.
- The Allies committed some 1,190 aircraft to the operation and were opposed by 313 German planes. This made the Dieppe Raid one of the largest single-day air battles of the war.
- Fifty US Army Rangers participated in the Dieppe Raid; the first time American ground forces engaged German troops in the Second World War. The United States Army Air Force also contributed approximately 150 aircraft and crews.
- Although Canadians comprised the bulk of the raiding force, British, American, Polish, Belgian, Norwegian, Czech, New Zealand, and Free French forces also participated. Most of these contributions were made at sea or in the air.
- In nine hours of fighting, the Canadian force suffered over 800 killed, with two-thirds of the force dead, wounded, or captured.
- Total Canadian Army casualties were 3,367, with 907 dead (including those who died of wounds and as prisoners of war) and 1,946 captured.
- Two Toronto-based regiments fought at Dieppe: The Royal Regiment of Canada (554 soldiers) and the Toronto Scottish Regiment (125 soldiers). The Royal Regiment suffered 524 casualties in their assault on Blue Beach, just east of Dieppe, including 227 killed, 33 wounded, and 264 captured (many of whom were also wounded). The Toronto Scottish suffered 13 casualties, including 1 killed, 8 wounded, and 4 captured.
- Casualty rates during the Dieppe Raid outpaced those on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, commonly understood as the bloodiest day in British military history.
- Reasons put forward for the Dieppe Raid include: a dress rehearsal for D-Day and appeasing the Soviet Union and United States in place of beginning the “Second Front” in 1942.
- New evidence suggests that the Dieppe Raid had a covert objective: to capture a German Enigma machine and codebooks to assist British cryptanalysts in breaking German cyphers.
- The Dieppe Raid failed to gather this intelligence but the British broke German cyphers in November 1942 after capturing these materials from a German U-boat.
The overarching purpose of the Dieppe Raid, including the importance placed on “pinching” an Enigma machine and codebooks at Dieppe, continues to be debated by historians.