Copyright Canadian War Museum (CN 12276).

Dieppe Raid, by Dr. Charles Fraser Comfort.

Canadian troops of the 2nd Division land at Dieppe. The Allied command had given the Canadians the almost impossible task of establishing a beachhead against a well-fortified enemy. In the foreground, Churchill tanks are disembarking from landing craft and soldiers are running up a hill, heading for cover. Exploding bombs dominate the middle ground. The background shows the outline of a cathedral against light grey cliffs.

In 1942, Japanese domination of the Pacific included the Marshall and Gilbert islands in the east, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the Dutch East Indies in the south, and Burma in the west. Of particular importance was the fall of Hong Kong late in 1941 where Canada had just sent two battalions of infantry and a brigade headquarters to bolster the defences. Also, in August of that year, Canadian forces were involved in an ill-fated raid at Dieppe on the coast of Europe.

Hong Kong

In late 1941, the Japanese captured Hong Kong. The defending forces, which included two Canadian battalions, were overwhelmed and the survivors had to endure appalling treatment in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps.

Dieppe

Under some pressure to open a second front and wanting to test the strength of "Fortress Europe", the Allies attempted an amphibious raid against the French port of Dieppe. It was a disaster with only about one third of the predominantly Canadian force able to return to England.

 

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