The Witnesses

James Dunning
4th Commando, United Kingdom

During the operation, when we withdrew from Varengeville, we turned back directly and we supposed of course that everything was going fine, we were extremely happy because we had reached our objectives and we had no idea about the rest of the battle. On the following days, the announcements in the newspapers and on the radio said that the raid on Dieppe had been carried through and we had taught the Germans a serious lesson. And it carried on, it was not before many weeks if not months when we came to learn about the tragic losses of the Canadians. It is interesting to note that one of the reasons that allowed us to learn the truth is that the Germans had dropped leaflets over Hamshire, near the coast, in which they explained had they had made the raid a failure.

Pierre L’Hours
FNFL – He remained on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom

After the Armistice when De Gaulle came to England, we heard his call and with seven other comrades who were with me on the Normandie, we decided that it was our duty to join France Libre. (Free France)


Brereton Greenhous
Historian, Canada

The Combined Operations staff were not really competent. Many of them were there for reasons of social status. They were socialite friends of Lord Mountbatten’s who had brought them in after the departure of the previous Chief of Combined Operations, Lord Keyes, who was a very abrasive man with a practical mind, not exactly antisocial but rather someone who demanded professional competence.

Béatrice Richard
A historian and a journalist, Canada

I think the people in Dieppe must have been very much affected by what happened. When you look at the whole operation and its consequences, you realize that well, it was a very strong blow. So yes indeed, it must have made an impression on the memories and people in a certain way, well, they can’t forget. Is is transmitted to the families with all the mythical, romantic side that the stories might take when they are passed from mouth to ear from one generation to the other. And at the same time with all those little inaccuracies, because with time, one makes up things, one always seeks to modify the story so that it be made more beautiful, more awesome. But that’s what memory is, it is alive.

Lise Poliquin
One of Robert Boulanger’s sisters – a grandmother, Canada

It was a difficult and sad moment because when Robert landed, he took a bullet right in his forehead, that’s what they told us because it struck us so. Then he had written the farewell letter to his parents. It was as if he had felt that he was never to come back. Then he wrote the letter. That letter was a very difficult one to read.

Pierre Vennat
A journalist and a historian, Canada

When I said that Dieppe should never have happened in fact, it is the title that my publisher had chosen to get attention. I would say that it should not have happened the way it did, it was a massacre, it was badly run. To give Stalin his second front, and to give Mountbatten a chance to strut about.


Sœur Agnès Marie Valois
Monastère Sainte Marie – Dieppe, France

And well I am very happy, because at least we accomplished a great duty, not only me, but all the sisters that were with me. We were eight sisters. And we had to put up a fight, we would get up at night to dress the soldiers’ wounds, because we had difficulties.