DIEPPE: TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH
Volume 21 Number 1
It was supposed to be a piece of cake. A force of approximately 6,000 men was to land on the French coast in complete surprise, kill as many Germans as possible, take prisoners, and withdraw. Instead, it was one of the biggest military disasters in Canadian history. Anything that could go wrong did. The strategy was too complex and depended on too many factors, including surprise, split-second timing, adequate air and sea support, and a weak enemy. None of these conditions was met.
What was the real story behind the raid on Dieppe? For forty years, General Denis Whitaker has asked that question. Captain Whitaker, the only officer of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry to return unhurt from Dieppe, is a true Canadian hero and deserves an answer to that question. Nevertheless, one can't help feeling that in finding that answer Whitaker has been a little disappointed. Four thousand men should not have been thrown away to prove a point.
Together with his wife, Shelagh, Whitaker has produced a well-written, thoroughly researched book that lives up to the standard of their earlier works. This is an exciting book that will appeal to the militarily unsophisticated as well as to those familiar with the Dieppe raid. Particularly effective are Whitaker's personal recollections, which are scattered throughout the text.
Marsha Kaiserman is a conferences cataloguer with the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information in Ottawa, Ontario
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