William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

DIEPPE REMEMBERED

Look how that old man stands so straight
See him march — that a soldier’s gait
He has thin white hair upon his head
As he stands at the Cenotaph and bows his head

He lost many comrades at Dieppe
And he is here now, lest we forget
See that tear roll from his eye
He sees again his comrades die

Mountbatten sent our troops ashore
The sand was covered with blood, guts, and gore
5,000 Canadians went into the breach
900 died upon that beach!

2,000 were captured by the German Nazi Huns
Who had more men, and bullets and guns
The victory object it just could not be reached
2,000 more with the wounded, were in retreat

Many more died in the prison camps
From lice and neglect and the cold and the damp
My friend Peter Mollie was one who survived
He still can’t believe that he came home alive!

Author’s Note: Peter Mollie was a Canine Officer with the Vancouver City Police after his return from the prisoner of war camps. He worked with me on the front desk at the Central Saanich Police Department during the 1980’s and I filled his vacancy after he retired. For many years, Peter was a member of the Greater Victoria Police Choir. Like other survivors of the Dieppe Raid he visits the cenotaph each August the 19th. It is he who inspired this poem.

Dieppe Raid by Charles Fraser Comfort
For Canada, the Dieppe raid was the bloodiest day of the Second World War. More than 900 Canadians died at Dieppe on August 19, 1942: Painting: Dieppe Raid by Charles Fraser Comfort