‘It will be very emotional’: Dieppe cadets heading to France for 75th anniversary of Dieppe Raid
A group of six cadets from 3006 Dieppe Army Cadet Corps are practicing their drills in preparation for the trip of a lifetime later this summer to Dieppe, France to take part in the 75th anniversary ceremony commemorating the Dieppe Raid.
“I am excited to know about our history because I want to go into the military when I get older,” said 14-year-old Meagan Doucet, who joined the army cadets two years ago.
She said she never imagined she’d get a chance to march on the very same soil where so many Canadians soldiers died in one of the most pivotal raids of the Second World War.
She and the other cadets will be led by a group of veterans from the Dieppe Veterans Association, including Steven Beaudet who served in the military for 33 years.
“These people have sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice,” Beaudet said. “I was lucky enough to have made it home. So for me this is going to be very special.”
The Raid on Dieppe, France happened on August 19, 1942.
It was meant not as a battle, says veteran Art Cuthbertson, but as a means of gathering intel on German forces.
“It was a blunder in a sense. They sent people in and I don’t think they were ready for it,” Cuthbertson said.
The more than 6,000 Allied force, made up mostly of Canadians, were no match for the Germans who knew they were coming and were ready and waiting to attack. More than 900 Canadians were killed in the raid and many more were wounded, while some were captured and taken as prisoners of war.
Despite the losses, valuable lessons were learned about launching attacks from naval ships and beaches. Those lessons likely saved lives on D-Day at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Army veteran Kathleen Lapierre says the cadets can learn from taking in the history anniversary, even today.
“Because they are our future it is important for the younger generation to know what was sacrificed for them to get the freedom that we so enjoy today,” she said.
Doucet said she plans to serve in the regular forces one day and knows that the trip it will be a poignant journey.
“Especially in the cemeteries because, you know, you see the words and you see the families there. It will certainly be emotional,” Doucet said.
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