A small city located on the northwestern coast of France, Dieppe is 60 km northeast of Le Havre, and approximately 100 km south of the English coast. On August 19, 1942, during World War II, Dieppe was the site of a raid code named Operation Jubilee, an Allied assault designed to probe Nazi defenses in preparation for the establishment of a second European Front.
The raid was carried out by a force consisting of 1,073 British commandos, 50 American Rangers, and 4,963 Canadian soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Division under the command of Major-General J.H. Roberts, the force commander. The assault lasted nine hours and involved landings on five separate beaches along a 16-km front. Although the troops carried out their duties in an exemplary fashion, they did not have a chance against the well-fortified shore defenses of the Germans; overall, the raid disintegrated into a disaster for the Allied troops. As a result of the operation, 907 Canadian soldiers were killed, 1,400 were wounded, and 1,946 were taken prisoner by German forces.
The South Saskatchewan Regiment (SSR), commanded by Lt.-Col. C.C.I. (Cecil) Merit, one of the units of 2nd Canadian Division, landed on “Green Beach” at Pourville, 4 km west of Dieppe. The Regiment’s objectives were to capture the village, destroy a German radar site, and disable all local enemy artillery instillations. Of the 523 SSR soldiers who landed at Pourville, 84 were killed, 89 were captured, and 166 were wounded; only 184 returned to England unharmed. Lt.-Col. Merit was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the raid.