Applause rang out as Dieppe Raid veteran Jacques Cinq-Mars laid a wreath at the National War Memorial Sunday morning, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bloody battle.
“Well, you remember many things, but I appreciate it,” Cinq-Mars, 92, said after the ceremony.
Cinq-Mars describes the battle as a slaughter.
At the age of 20, the Montreal native served as a Private with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal during the Second World War.
On August 19, 1942, Cinq-Mars reached the stony beaches of Dieppe, France, for the raid, code-named Operation Jubilee.
Cinq-Mars was injured then captured by the Germans.
That day, 913 Canadian lives were lost.
Approximately 4,963 Canadians went on the mission.
“They were strong people. They lived through a lot. They saw a lot,” said Ottawa resident Brad White from the Royal Canadian Legion.
White, a self-described third generation military brat, remembers his grandfather and other veterans who were in Dieppe.
“As gentlemen, they were always very quiet about what they did. They didn’t really talk about it,” said White.
“You just saw how they looked after each other, and that’s what you think about.”
White’s grandfather, from Saskatchewan, passed away at 92 years old.
While serving, “It’s kind of interesting that he was declared dead, killed in action. They got a telegram, so they had a big memorial service for him at home,” said White.
“They buried him, then two months later they got a telegram from the Red Cross saying he was a prisoner of war, and which camp he was in.”
Canadian soldiers “were not sent in vain,” said Ottawa-Orléans MP Royal Galipeau, there on behalf of veterans affairs minister Steven Blaney who was leading a delegation in France, along with Gov. Gen. David Johnston.
“Their many sacrifices were in pursuit of an objective that could’ve changed the war as we knew it.”
Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk said the soldiers volunteered to be part of something greater than themselves. “They were Canadians who trained hard to fight against a very determined enemy,” said Natynczyk.
“They were Canadians who fought to protect the freedoms that we all hold dear to this very day.”
More than one million Canadians served in uniform during the Second World War.
It’s vitally important to pass the torch of remembrance to young Canadians, Galipeau said.