70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DIEPPE RAID – COMMEMORATIONS IN DIEPPE
August 21 2012.
The Mayor of Newhaven, Councillor Graham Amy, travelled to Dieppe over the weekend to attend the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, which took place over three days from the 18th to the 20th of August. In a busy schedule, he attended nine separate ceremonies held in the town of Dieppe itself and in villages surrounding the town, and laid wreaths on behalf of the town of Newhaven in remembrance of the young men who died during the disastrous Raid in 1942. Many of these young men left for their date with destiny from the port of Newhaven, and many of the wounded were returned to the town after the Raid.
Councillor Amy said: "I felt both honoured and humbled to attend these very moving ceremonies and to pay respect to those who died 70 years ago. It was especially moving to witness the huge affection and gratitude felt by the inhabitants of Dieppe and the surrounding villages for the remaining veterans of the Second World War who attended the ceremonies to remember their fallen comrades, most of whom are now in or approaching their nineties. Everywhere these veterans went, whether in wheelchairs or walking proudly upright despite their advanced age, local people flocked to shake their hands and to say thank you.
"The ceremonies were impeccably organised by the Dieppe City Council. The logistical exercise involved must have been huge. I feel sure that no-one who attended the commemorations will ever forget the experience, or the sacrifice of the young men who died in 1942."
The commemorations were attended by a number of dignitaries from Canada, France and Great Britain, including Prince Michael of Kent, who was attending in his role as the Colonel in Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment of Canada. Prince Michael attended both the Vigil, held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Les Vertus in the gathering dusk on Saturday evening and the main ceremony at Canada Square, Dieppe the following day. After the Canada Square ceremony he mingled on an equal footing with veterans and the ordinary people in a parade along Dieppe seafront.
From the local Sussex area, the event was attended by the Chairs of East Sussex County Council and Lewes District Council, the Mayor of Brighton, members of the Canadian Veterans Association of the UK, local branches of the Royal British Legion and by the Newhaven and Seaford Sea Cadets, who stood up to the punishing schedule of ceremonies extremely well and represented the young people of Seaford and Newhaven with honour.