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Dieppe veterans honoured

It has been called the most controversial battle Canadians have ever fought. On Aug. 19, 1942, after nearly three years of waiting in England for a chance to fight, Canadian troops were sent to raid the French coast at Dieppe. But the Germans were ready for them, and the attack became a massacre. Of nearly 5,000 Canadians sent to Dieppe, only 2,000 returned. More than 60 years later, the operation remains divisive: was Dieppe an essential trial run for D-Day, or a shocking waste of lives?

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Despite all the Canadian blood shed on the beaches of Dieppe, despite its defining role in Canadian military history, there has never been any special recognition for Dieppe veterans. Today, more than a half century after the raid, that is about to change. One hundred veterans are being honoured with a special Dieppe medal. But as we see in this clip, the unanimous feeling is that the ceremony is something that should have taken place long ago.
• The decoration that was finally awarded to Dieppe veterans was simply called the Dieppe Bar. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, "The Dieppe Bar is awarded to those who participated in the Dieppe Raid on August 19, 1942, and is worn on the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal ribbon."

• The silver bar features the word DIEPPE in raised letters on a pebbled background. Above it is an anchor surmounted by an eagle and a Thompson submachine-gun. The bar was designed in consultation with the Dieppe Veterans and Prisoners of War Association.

• For decades, veterans of Dieppe also lobbied the federal government for special compensation for being taken prisoner. Many survivors of the PoW camps endured lifelong ailments as a result of their imprisonment. In 1984, their appeal was heard in the House of Commons. But Veterans Affairs Minister Bennet Campbell turned them down, telling them to apply for medical benefits already available to all veterans.

Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 19, 1994
Guests: Ron Beal, Douglas Shepard, Maurice Snook
Host: Jeffrey Kofman
Reporter: Paul Adams
Duration: 2:06

Last updated: July 29, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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