Council chair remembers fallen soldiers in Dieppe raid

Photo of the ceremony on Memorial Green with Cllr Brett standing, wearing a purple coat.
Photo of the ceremony on Memorial Green with Cllr Brett standing, wearing a purple coat.

The Chair of Lewes District Council attended a commemoration in Newhaven on Sunday to mark the 79th anniversary of the ill-fated Dieppe raid in which thousands of Allied soldiers lost their lives.

Councillor Christine Brett joined other local dignitaries at the parade and ceremony including the Mayor of Newhaven, Councillor Lesley Boniface; Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Sir Peter Field; The High Sheriff of East Sussex, Miles Jenner; MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield; The Chair of East Sussex County Council, Councillor Peter Pragnell and Major Jacqueline Field, Commanding Officer on behalf of the Canadian Forces Support Unit.

Also in attendance were mayors of many nearby town councils, representatives from organisations such as the Royal British Region and a wreath was laid on behalf of children of Canada.

The event began with lunch at Denton Indoor Bowls club followed by a parade to Memorial Green where Reverend Martin Miller of St Michael's Church in Newhaven, led the prayers.

Councillor Brett said: "It was an honour to be invited, listen to the roll call and take part in this important and moving event, especially as for the second year running, we were not able to attend the main commemoration ceremony in Dieppe.

"I sincerely hope we will be able to cross the Channel for the 80th anniversary in 2022."

The Dieppe Raid on 19 August, 1942, was a disastrous Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe in northern France, during the Second World War.

Over 6,050 infantry, predominantly Canadian, on ships from Newhaven, Shoreham, Portsmouth and Southampton were put ashore from a naval force operating under protection of Royal Air Force fighters.

After less than six hours mounting casualties forced a retreat, and within ten hours, of the 6,086 men who landed, 3,623 had been killed, wounded or become prisoners of war. The Canadians lost two thirds of their force with 907 dead or later to die from their wounds.