Cranbrook, B.C., artist Richard Hessler understands the importance of the next sculpture he's taking on.

"It's a labour of love," he said. "I think it will be very emotional."

Hessler is etching the face of a nearly 1,000-kilogram slab of granite to create a memorial for 913 Canadians who died on August 19, 1942, in Operation Jubilee, the raid on Dieppe, France during the Second World War.

"It was a very significant battle and one of the first ones the Canadians were involved in," Hessler said.

Hessler will etch the memorial in time for the 75th anniversary of the raid on Dieppe next year.

Dieppe memorial

Cranbrook artist Richard Hessler's draft for a sculpture he is creating to honor Canadian soldiers who died in the battle of Dieppe. (Bob Keating/CBC)

The memorial will depict a tank from the King's Own Calgary Regiment which fought in the raid.

Twenty-three regiment tanks landed on the beach in the battle, with some of them deployed to protect soldiers from an onslaught of enemy fire, according to Hessler.  

"Sixteen tanks went back onto the beach and formed what we called 'the Ring of Steel' which is going to be depicted on the memorial." he said.

Hessler, a retired RCMP officer, was a member of the King's Own Calgary Regiment in the late 1960s.

"It will be very emotional both to have a piece of art in France and a piece of art that memorializes Canadian troops," Hessler said.

With files from Bob Keating