Saturday, August 19, 2017

From Hill 70 to Dieppe in 25 nightmare years

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid of 1942. It also hits the one hundredth anniversary of the multi-day battle for Hill 70 in August 1917. What a nightmare the early 20th century was!

Dieppe is, with reason, the better remembered by Canadians of the two conflicts. The First World War being what it was, Hill 70 was "only" one episode in the grim progress from Vimy Ridge in April through Passchendaele in November and December. However, at least twice as many Canadians died at Hill 70 as at Dieppe, and there were more total Canadian casualties there (almost 9000) than comprised the whole Canadian force engaged at Dieppe (about 5000).

There are many studies of Dieppe. One of the first substantial studies of Hill 70, Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War, edited by Douglas E. Delaney and Serge M. Durflinger, from which I cobbled together the death and casualty estimates, was published by UBC Press earlier this year.

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