What began as plans for a summer mother/daughter trip to parts of Europe this summer turned into something even more meaningful for Darlene Perrett and her daughter Lindsey. In July, the pair spent time looking at the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and a handful of Europe’s other gems but it was the trip to the coastal communities of Dieppe and Pourville in northern France that remain the most memorable for the pair. It was 70 years ago this Sunday when, on Aug. 19, 1942, the Dieppe Raid that involved over 6,000 Allied infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, took place. The Allied forces came from the coast to land on the beaches along the coastal communities as part of the Dieppe Raid. The battle is known for the significant loss suffered by the Allied forces, with about 60 per cent of the men who made it ashore being either captured, killed or wounded. According to literature, many maintain that, losses considered, the military lessons learned from the Dieppe Raid are a key part of the successful invasion of the continent two years later on D-Day. For the Perretts, the day’s significance also stems from their family involvement in the battle. Her father CPL. Melvin Elmer Buchanan is one of about a dozen men from Neepawa and district to take part in the Dieppe Raid as part of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. The Cameron Highlanders of Canada landed at Pourville - one of five landing points used as part of the Dieppe Operation - and as they drove up to the site, Darlene said it was humbling to be at the site where her father battled alongside so many men to fight for Canada’s freedom. “We went to Dieppe and Pourville, but our focus was seeing Pourville where the Camerons came in at ‘Green Beach’,” Darlene, who at first wasn’t sure if she wanted to visit the beach because of the emotions it may create, explained. “When we actually got to the beach I couldn’t believe I was there, seeing what my dad saw, walking where he walked - in a more peaceful atmosphere of course - and wondering. Just wondering.” While her father, who returned home after the war, didn’t speak about the battle very often, Darlene said seeing the cliffs overlooking both sides of the beach helped her imagine what kind of a difficult situation the troops faced heading into the battle against a prepared Axis coastal defence. “I thought, ‘What brave men’,” Darlene explained. “It just happened to mean so much to me. Can you believe this was 70 years later.” The Dieppe operation (Information as provided by the Government of Canada Veteran Affairs) In the spring of 1942, the Allied situation was grim. The Germans had penetrated deep into Russia, the British Eighth Army had been forced back in to Egypt, and in Western Europe the Allied forces faced the Germans across the English Channel. Since the time was not yet ripe for mounting Operation Overlord, the full-scale invasion of Europe, it was decided to mount a major raid on the French port of Dieppe. Designed to foster German fears of an attack in the west and compel them to strengthen their Channel defences at the expense of other areas of operation. The raid on Dieppe would also provide an opportunity to test new techniques and equipment, and be the means to gain the experience and knowledge necessary for planning the great amphibious assault. The attack was scheduled to take place July 1942, but unfavourable weather prevented the raid from being launched that day and the attack instead occurred Aug. 19, 1942. Allied troops involved totalled 6,000, of whom 5,000 were Canadian. The plan called for attacks at five different points on a front of about 16 km. The main attack was to be made across the pebble beach front at Dieppe. The Cameron Highlanders of Canada - which had soldiers from Neepawa and area - was able to achieve some degree of surprise. Some of the Camerons were stopped well short of the town, while the main force of the Camerons pushed on towards their objective, an inland airfield, and advanced some three kilometres before they were forced to a halt. The attack at Pourville resulted in 76 fatal casualties for the Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Overall, of the 4,963 Canadians who embarked on the Dieppe operation, only 2,210 returned home. There were 3,367 casualties including 1,946 prisoners of war, and 907 Canadians lost their lives. While some claim it was a useless slaughter, other maintain it was necessary to the Allied success. Out of it came improvements in technique, fire support and tactics that reduced D-Day casualties to an unexpected minimum. While there was a frightful price paid those morning hours of Aug. 19, 1942 during the Dieppe operation, the men who perished were instrumental in saving countless lives. Neepawa and District members of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada CPL. James Irwin Angus PTE. William Edward Brough (POW - Dieppe Raid) CPL. Melvin Elmer Buchanan SGT. MAJOR Preston Cheetham SPR. Argule Curtis Sneesby SGT. George Stanley Thomas (KIA) SGT. Claude Forsman (KIA) PTE. Carman Boyd Graham (KIA - Dieppe Raid) PTE. John Graham (KIA - Dieppe Raid) PTE. Peter Graham (Dieppe Raid) CPL. Raleh Morgan Graham (POW - Dieppe Raid) PTE. Thomas Hudson (KIA - Dieppe Raid) PTE. John Hunter (KIA - Dieppe Raid) PTE. Wellington Hunter (POW - Dieppe Raid) CAPT. George MacKidd (POW - Dieppe Raid) CPL. Geoff Pasquill (POW - Dieppe Raid) LT. Frank Pasquill (Dieppe Raid) CPL. John Pasquill (Dieppe Raid) PTE. Peter John Ernest (KIA) L/CPL. William Howard Ritchey (KIA) *Note: Information listed as according to information provided to The Neepawa Press.