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Wounded on Green Beach

The Dieppe Raid

Wounded on Green Beach

We got a message from the headquarter's ship that we were to evacuate at a certain time. And I passed that order on to, to the companies and went to the position that I thought was appropriate and to supervise the actual evacuation. And, and this was down on the beach. Interviewer: So you're down on the beach and you're in charge of the evacuation procedures, and you notice the Royal Navy bringing in the landing craft, and they're getting ready ready to take your regiment off. Right Interviewer: What happened then? Well they came in, in the usual RN style, pretty good you know. And they were suffering casualties themselves. And yet they nevertheless kept coming, and the drill we had was after the troops who were going, were going to evacuate under fire, after they felt the sand or shale under their feet, they were to, the order was “Boats and bodies” I think was the expression used. Get people into the landing craft and break up your organization you see. And this was being done and people were getting off. At some time during this process a soldier was hit very close to me and he was, he would have drowned, he was sinking so I grabbed him and pulled him up where he was within his depth at least. And then I got hit, and I had the same experience. So that's how I got wounded. Interviewer: After you'd been wounded how is it that you weren't put on one of the landing craft and evacuated? I don't think you'd do that to the colonel. Interviewer: The colonel is expected to stay until.. No, but he's supposed to know what to do. Interviewer: So are you telling me you should have known what to do and, which was to get on the landing craft? No, but what I...yes. I'm saying that I should have known what to do and I did know what to do, which was continue and come on and not to evacuate myself. I was to help evacuate the others.

Colonel Merritt was wounded as his troops were evacuating Green Beach. He recalls the activity.

Charles Cecil Ingersol Merritt

Colonel Merritt’s father was killed in Ypres during the First World War. 7 or 8 of his uncles from both sides of the family also served during the First World War - three of whom were killed in action. He received his early education in Vancouver and Victoria and then went on to Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He articled with a Vancouver lawyer for three years before being called to the bar there in 1929. During this time, he joined the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada militia unit - the unit with whom he enlisted with when the Second World War was declared. Eventually, in late 1941, he was appointed Commanding Officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, and served with the Regiment until the war was over. During his service he earned the Victoria Cross for his gallant efforts on Aug. 19, 1942 in the Dieppe Raid. Mr. Merritt was taken prisoner during the Dieppe Raid. Following the war Mr. Merritt returned to his law practice in Vancouver and served in the Canadian Federal Parliament from 1945 - 1949. He continued to live in Vancouver until his death on July 12, 2000.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Charles Cecil Ingersol Merritt
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
South Saskatchewan Regiment
Company Commander

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