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Landing craft carrying Canadian tanks and infantry approach the beach at Dieppe, France, August 19, 1942. (Courtesy of the Alexander family)

Landing craft carrying Canadian tanks and infantry approach the beach at Dieppe, France, August 19, 1942.

(Courtesy of the Alexander family)

Canadians share family connections to Dieppe raid Add to ...

Dr. Steven Liss - Toronto and Kingston, Ont.

My father (Arthur Liss, 1917 - 1997) served with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and participated in the Dieppe raid. Some of his experiences and references to his participation have been captured in accounts of the raid (e.g. Shame and the Glory and other publcations). He was one of only few Canadian soliders who managed to get into the town.

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Steve Turner - Aurora, Ont.

My uncle Tom was a 2nd Division engineer when the call went through camp for volunteers for a mission. He lined up with all the other engineers, and when it came to his turn, the sergeant stopped and said they had enough vounteers. His buddy -in line in front of him- went on the raid, and was fortunate to come back. Uncle Tom is 92 years old now, and one of the last WWII vets living among us.

Margaret McCrae - Mississauga, Ont.

My Great Uncle Charlie landed on the beaches of Dieppe, France with the 11th Field Ambulance. He was a captain in the Canadian Medical Corps and was reported to have been killed in the Dieppe landing in August, 1942. Charlie's obituary was written and a memorial service was held for him back in Toronto as everyone thought that he was dead. A colleague at Toronto East General Hospital wrote, "He shared our work and pleasure in an argumentative way that could not be denied and kept us on our mettle at all times. His frank criticism and sarcasm of one and all were only the outward manifestations of the high ideals he strove for in himself. Charlie never ever lost an argument or a fight. His untimely end is hard to bear." Fortunately for his friends and family it was not the end.

Two months after his reported "death" his mother, my great grandmother, received word that he was alive and was a prisoner of war in Sagan, Germany. He was held as a prisoner for three years, until the word swept through his internment camp that the Russians were coming. The German officers told them to get going on a forced march. Charlie and a New Zealander broke into the camp stores and stocked up on everything they could in the way of medical supplies. They distributed the stuff among the other boys in the camp. They were all U.S. Air Force lads around 19 and 20 years of age. They were on foot for six days and rode in boxcars for four days. It was the tail end of January and it was very, very cold.

The Sagan Camp had been divided into five separate camps and that is how he happened to be in with the U.S. chaps. He was named to their group as their medical officer. They finally reached Moosberg, Germany where they were overtaken by the Russians. They were released on April 28, 1945. His heroism while a prisoner of war won high honours from King George VI and U.S. president Harry Truman. "By his constant and unselfish attention to the American prisoners of war under his charge during an enforced march by foot under extremely adverse weather conditions, the approximatgely 2,000 American flying officers were able to comple the march without serious loss."

After the war Charlie spent several years specializing in gastro-intestinal surgery at St. Marks and the Gordon hospital in London, England. He returned to Toronto East General Hospital in the late forties rising over the next 30- years to the position of chief surgeon. He retired in 1979. Charlie never would talk about the war - it was something that he just wanted to tuck away.

Headline in Toronto Newspaper: Kept 2,000 Yankees Alive, U.S. Honors Toronto Doctor

From the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps:

Charlie was born in Whitby Ontario in 1911 - Died in 1998. He was the youngest of 16 children born to George and Elizabeth Robertson, staunch Presbyterians. Charlie moved to Toronto as a teenage and attended Jarvis Collegiate. He attended the U of T and graduated in medicine in 1939. He was an avid wrestling champion and boxer in the lightweight class. He weighed only 135 pounds. He joined the staff of the Toronto East General Hospital in 1939 and left in 1940 to joing the RCAMC.

Ronald Moffatt - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

My uncle Wm. Moffatt was killed at Dieppe. I was only an infant when the raid happened. He was my father’s brother.

Lynne Skromeda - Winnipeg, Manitoba

My grandfather, Stephen Skromeda, fought in the Dieppe raid for the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. He had immigrated to Canada in the 1930s and believed so much in what Canada stood for that despite having two small children at home and being 35 years old, he volunteered to fight for Canada. My grandmother, Olga, tried twice to "unsign" him up for the draft by going down to the recruitment office herself and demanding his name be taken off the list. But he persevered and she gave up.

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