“It was a lot of murder coming down on us.” remembers Fred Engelbrecht, one of the Canadian soldiers chosen for a commando raid on the port of Dieppe on August 19, 1942.
But unlike the carefully rehearsed and executed Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge, Dieppe was a raid planned by a committee. Each time the British commanders met, the plans were changed. Soon the attacking Canadians were depending on the cover of darkness and surprise for success. They got neither. As they clambered ashore on the pebbled beaches that morning, gunfire rained down on them. Almost one thousand Canadians were killed, 586 were wounded and 1,946 were marched off as prisoners. For 2 ½ years, the Dieppe survivors were kept in prison camp. And for more than one year of that time their hands were shackled — on Hitler’s express orders.
“…can be described quite simply as superb. It is superb in the way it sets out the context for the raid on Dieppe…Superb, too, in the way Brewster, using archival photographs, first-person accounts from surviving combatants or memoirs, and the connective tissue of his beautifully crafted text to tell a story that is equal parts horror and valour.” –Globe and Mail. Aug. 1, 2009
• Nominated for the 2010 Silver Birch Award
•Information Book Award Honour Book, 2011.
Reading Level: 8-up
Format: 10 ½’ x 9” (254.5 x 228.6 mm); 48 pages
Published: August 2009 by Scholastic Canada
Retail Price: $19.99 hardcover
Also available in French: DIEPPE: La journée la plus sombre de la deuxieme Guerre Mondiale
For a podcast interview with Hugh Brewster about DIEPPE go to http://www.justonemorebook.com/