People from Dieppe, NB, travel to France for commemoration of 1942 Dieppe raid

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A delegation from Dieppe, N.B., is in France this week to take part in ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of the 1942 Dieppe Raid, a tragic military operation that killed more than 900 Canadian soldiers.

Mayor Yvon Lapierre, along with councillors Mélyssa Boudreau and Lise LeBouthillier and CAO Marc Melanson are taking part in ceremonies marking the anniversary from Aug. 16 to 25.

Canadian veterans Camille Richard and Robert Ladrière will also be at the events.

Yvon Lapierre is the mayor of Dieppe, N.B. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

For Lapierre, it was important to continue the relationship the two cities have had for years.

“Every time we’ve come this way, we’ve brought veterans from the Dieppe Veterans’ Association and also brought in young cadets with us and have them discover the history and why we’re connected,” said Lapierre in an interview with CBC News.

Mayor seeks to maintain memory and respect of tragic event

The name of the New Brunswick city was chosen by the area in 1946 to honour the Canadians who took part in the 1942 raid.

Both cities declared themselves ‘sister cities’ in April of 2000.

Canadian soldiers standing in formation at a memorial ceremony
Members of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment attending the national ceremony honouring the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid in World War II. (Elvis Nouemsi Njike/Radio-Canada)

“We think it’s important to maintain that memory and respect,” said Lapierre.

“There’s a real affection by the people in Normandy… towards Canada because of the events of the 19th… And you can… feel it and you can sense it,” he added.

‘Sister cities’

He says the highlight of this trip for him is the opportunity to renew the links between the two cities.

According to Julie Albert, City of Dieppe communications and public relations officer, exchanges have been made between the communities for several years to ‘promote knowledge sharing and foster closer ties,’ including a kite festival and a youth exchange program

In May, a group of seven young people from Dieppe, France came to visit the Canadian city as part of the Passeurs d’histoires project – to learn about the history of Dieppe and what the raid means to the Canadian municipality.

Lapierre, along with the Dieppe Military Veterans’ Association, met with the group during their visit.

A documentary was made about their visit and will be shown during the delegation’s visit to France this week.

He describes witnessing the group’s experience as like watching flowers bloom.

“Just to be able to contribute to that program…really touched me. And I know that all the people that they met in our community were very happy to see them,” he said.

“We’d be happy to do it again for sure…we also learned something ourselves from just the relationships with younger people in our community,”

Vice-president of the association Je me souvient Thierry Mainguet, reacts during the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Operation Jubilee at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, in Hautot-sur-Mer, northwestern France, on Aug. 18, 2022. (Lou Benoist/AFP/Getty Images)

The Dieppe Military Veterans Association will hold a local ceremony in France on Sunday to mark the raid’s anniversary, remembered as “one of the most devastating chapters in Canadian military history.”

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Griffin Jaeger

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