Tears were shed, memories shared and soldiers honored at a memorial service today marking the 74th anniversary of the ill fated raid on Dieppe.
Nearly six hundred soldiers from the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry landed on the beach on August 19th, 1942.
Among them was Fred Englebrecht, who says it became clear very fast that the raid wasn’t going to be a success.
“If you invade anything, the navy is always jet firing over your head, they soften up the people where you’re going to land, none of that.”
“Another thing, we’re supposed to bomb the shoreline, none of that.”
Englebrecht who later became a prisoner of war says the details of that day continue to stick with him.
What he didn’t realize at the time, he asserts, was that Dieppe would be one of the biggest battles in the Second World War with 197 killed from the Hamilton unit alone.
The family of John Frye, affectionately known as Bud believed he was among the dead following the raid but he too became a prisoner of war.
His daughter Jacqueline, who laid a wreath in his honour during the memorial, recalls what they came to learn about that day.
“My dad had a bayonet wound from his neck to his ankles” she said.
Adding, that it was a young nun who saved him.
“The convent was on the hill and my dad said she tended to the RHLI on the beaches trying to help them.”
Jacqueline says she’s thankful that her father came back home and that his memory lives on.
“Every time I drive by the memorial I wave to my dad.”