80th anniversary of Dieppe Raid marked in Winnipeg

The sound of bagpipes rang through Vimy Ridge Park Thursday under a stormy sky, as dozens gathered in a sombre remembrance to honour and pay tribute to the soldiers who died on the beaches of Dieppe.

The ceremony marked the 80th anniversary of Operation Jubilee, more commonly known as the Dieppe Raid.

“By coming together as Winnipeggers and sharing the stories that so many still carry with them from their family members who served at Dieppe, we’re showing our veterans the respect and the gratitude for the high price that they paid and ensuring that we never forget what they did for us on that fateful day,” said Lt.-Col. Jon Baker, commanding officer of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada.

The timing of the ceremony, which started at 8:30 p.m. by the Cameron regimental monument, was also important.

“Right now, 80 years ago represents early morning of (August) 19 in the English Channel when members of the Cameron Highlanders were on their boats, in transit, getting ready to storm the beaches,” said Baker, noting the seven-hour time difference in France.

“We’ve chosen this time to actually reflect the time when the soldiers were getting ready to have the fight of their lives.”

He said more than 6,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore that day, including 503 from the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders based in Winnipeg.

Operation Jubilee was the first Canadian army engagement in the European theatre of the war, with 76 Camerons dying in the raid along with more than 900 Canadians.

Baker said the anniversary is an important one to recognize, especially in Winnipeg.

“I’ve realized over the last couple of days that this is a significant historical event for the City of Winnipeg – the city where the soldiers from the Cameron Highlanders were recruited from,” he said. “Although there are not many that are still with us today, the stories of that day still live on with their families who continue to reside in the city.”

-with files from CTV’s Kayla Rosen 

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