Canadian prisoners being led away through Dieppe after the raid. (Library and Archives Canada)

Dieppe presentation planned

Andy Wylie, creator of Vimy Lane, to give talk on why the Dieppe disaster was actually a success

A Vernon history buff will give a presentation commemorating a dark day in Canadian history.

Yet Andy Wylie’s talk will focus on why the raid at Dieppe in 1942 was, in his view, a success.

Titled “Well Spent Lives,” Wylie will give his presentation on the 75th anniversary of the unsuccessful Dieppe Raid Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The presentation will be at Vimy Lane, the only Vimy Ridge memorial in Canada, at Wylie’s residence in the 4000 block of 29th Street.

“The truth is, Dieppe was a success,” said Wylie. “Winston Churchill and (Admiral) Mountbatten planned and executed the disaster at Dieppe, and Canadian lives moved D-Day from U.S. defeat in 1943 to an allied victory on June 6, 1944.”

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, the Dieppe Raid – code-named “Operation Jubilee” – saw more than 6,000 men come ashore at five different points along a 16-kilometre stretch of the heavily defended coastline.

Things went immediately wrong for the landing force on the eastern flank as they were met by a small German convoy, and the ensuing firefight alerted the enemy.

While the losses were heavy and the raid did not meet most of its desired objective, historians feel lessons learned at Dieppe played an important role in the success of later action. Wylie concurs.

Of the 4,963 Canadians who embarked upon Dieppe, only approximately 2,200 returned to England and many of those had been wounded. A total of 916 Canadians were killed as a result of the raid, and 1,950 more were taken prisoner.

Those wishing to attend Wylie’s presentation are asked to bring a chair, and walk or bike to Vimy Lane.