The Dieppe Raid: Code name Operation Jubilee
This Gildan Ultra Cotton® t-shirt, features a tribute to the Dieppe Raid which took place on August 19, 1942 and would prove to be the bloodiest single day for Canada's military in the entire Second World War.
The front of the shirt features a Brodie Helmet on a Cross in the stony beach of Dieppe. It represents a makeshift grave for the 916 Canadians who lost their lives that day. We did the stony beach in a puff ink which gives the piece texture.
As we are keeping history alive one t- shirt at a time, we used little stone as bullets for the back of the shirt and it reads as follows:
On August 19, 1942, an Allied force of 300 ships, 800 aircraft, and 6,000 assault troops launched a one-day attack known as Operation Jubilee on the French port of Dieppe. The ground forces that were taking part in the raid included 4,963 men and officers from the 2nd Canadian Division, 1,005 British commandos, 50 US rangers and 15 Frenchmen. The raid was also supported by 74 air squadrons, 8 of which came from the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The attack on the beach was to gauge how the Germans responded to an invading force, seize and hold a major Channel port. They wanted to test new amphibious equipment, gather intelligence from prisoners and stage an elaborate commando operation under the unit name No. 40 Royal Marine Commando to steal a four-rotor Enigma machine for the codebreakers at Bletchley Park in England.
Operation Jubilee, was spearheaded by Churchill’s new Chief of Combined Operations, Louis Mountbatten, who chose the Canadian 2nd Division to lead the attack. Canadian Commanders eagerly accepted this chance for their men to get some combat experience as Canadians had been stationed in Great Britain for two years without having ever engaged the enemy in a major operation. The Canadian public opinion was starting to question this inactivity, and Canadian soldiers were raring to go.
As they approached the French coast the next morning, things started to go wrong. The ships carrying No.3 Commando ran into a German convoy, which alerted coastal defences at Berneval and Puys. They were behind schedule and had lost the advantages of surprise and darkness. As the sun rose, the well-entrenched Germans aimed at the landing crafts that were still ten metres from the shore.
Dieppe was well defended by machine guns, mortars and artillery, and had a myriad of cliff caves. The heavier guns were carefully concealed and Dieppe's rocky beach disabled Allied tanks. The Germans were more fortified than expected.
The Dieppe raid was divided into 6 Beach landing zones. On the Eastern Flank on Yellow Beach was the No. 3 Commandos at Berneval. On Blue Beach at Puys was the Royal Regiment of Canada. Three platoons of reinforcements from the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, were pinned on the beach by mortar and machine-gun fire, and were later forced to surrender. Evacuation was impossible in the face of German fire.
Red and White Beaches, the main beaches of the attack force was made up with: The Essex Scottish Regiment and the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry along with the Fusiliers Mont Royal, The Royal “A” Commandos and the 14th Canadian Armoured Tank Regiment.
On the western side of the town, on Orange Beach the No. 4 Commando operation destroyed the guns in the battery near Varengeville, and then withdrew safely. On Green Beach at Pourville, the South Saskatchewan Regiment and Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada had some degree of surprise, and initial opposition was light. But as they crossed the River Scie and pushed towards Dieppe proper, heavy fighting developed and the Saskatchewans were stopped well short of the town. The Camerons pushed on towards their objective, an inland airfield, and advanced some three kilometres before they too were forced to halt.
Of the nearly 5,000 Canadians who landed at Dieppe, 907 were killed, 586 wounded and about 2,000 were taken prisoner. The true meaning of the sacrifices made at Dieppe was made obvious two years after this ill-fated date, when on D-Day the Allies gained a foothold in Europe to free the continent from Nazi aggression.