For several years I worked for the Aylmer Express. While it was a small town newspaper, it was also a commercial printer. (The division I worked for.) The newspaper was bought by Arthur Hueston, after he came home from the war, and was its publisher for many years and turned it into a thriving printing company. By the point I got there, his son had been running the company for many years, and he was just writing a weekly column, some of which touched on his experiences in WW2. He served with the Essex Scottish Regiment, as a platoon leader, at Dieppe. He was quite open about his experiences and once we sat and talked about it.
He was on a landing craft with a Churchill tank, that ground to a halt on the potato sized stones on the beach, leaving it half in and half out of the craft. They were meant to follow it, but with no way around it, they had to go over the sides. With no one having come ashore before the landings to ascertain the unsuitability of the beach for tanks, no one had bothered to check that there was a deep drop right at the waters edge, not a gradual incline. His platoon dropped over the edge of the landing craft and he lost about a third to drowning, because they were so laden down or unable to swim. The ones that survived had to ditch most of their gear to come up again. On shore without weapons, ammo, etc. they couldn’t do much. With a whole bunch of men wounded or dead, his superiors yelled at him to get back on a boat and get out. No one would have though any less of him if he had, but he called back “No. I have wounded men I need to look after.” And with that, he languished for years in a POW camp, hungry and bored.
It was a good thing he needed a really powerful magnifying glass to read, so he couldn’t see me wiping away the tears.
The Germans found documents after the raid, from the Canadians, stating that German prisoners were to be handcuffed until they got them back to England. As a reprisal against the Canadians they forced any that were captured at Dieppe to wear handcuffs all day. At morning roll call they were put on and at nighttime roll call they were removed. Of course, as soon as they got back to their barracks they quickly picked them and as long as they were inside, they went without them.
And the city I currently live in, one of its regiments, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry suffered casualties at Dieppe as well. Of the 582 soldiers who landed that morning, 197 were killed, 174 were captured and 194 wounded (including 85 also captured). Only 102 were not among the casualties.