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Reaction to Dieppe

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: The decision was made to have a landing in France, in 1942, with the idea of, of relieving some of the pressure against Russia. And the decision was made to have that landing in Dieppe. Yes, I know. Interviewer: What was the reaction of the Canadian soldiers? I was quite happy the 1st Canadian Division didn't do it. I could tell a long story about that but I'm not going to, but the, you know, if you ever went and looked at Dieppe, and then say, "How, where the hell are we gonna land a tank here on this beach" Tanks don't climb cliffs, you know. These guys were just slaughtered. And I think it was the worst, it was the worst plan, the guy who took the blame for it, you always gotta have a, what do you call it, a... Interviewer: A patsy. A patsy somewhere and the guy who took, the thing for that was, oh, General Robertson or Robinson, or something. He ended up living on an island in the Channels because they said it was his fault, it was not his fault at all. Because I, as far as I can gather, that thing was planned by, by Churchill... Interviewer: Mountbatten and Montgomery. Yeah. Interviewer: What was the reaction of the rest of the Canadians that were not involved in the invasion? Once you knew that it was a failure, did that shake your confidence? Well, from what we heard of it after, you know, you didn't hear very much at all. I'm glad, you know, I remember when they went over there, but after they come back, the guys, all those guys getting killed, didn't make you feel very good. You'd say, "I don't want to try that," you know, but you know, carry on, we did it anyway.

Smokey gives us his account of the Dieppe Raid and who he felt was responsible for the raid. He also tells of the reaction of the Canadian troops that were not involved in the raid.

Ernest “Smokey” Smith

Ernest “Smokey” Smith VC, CD, was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, on May 3, 1914, and was educated in elementary and technical schools there. He was the second of five children having an older sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister. Both brothers served in and survived the Second World War. Smokey left his work with a contracting firm to enlist with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in March of 1940 and began basic training with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Toronto. He went on to complete his training at Camp Borden before sailing out of Halifax in June of that same year on the Monarcher of Bermuda, heading for Europe and joining the regiment overseas a few months later. Smokey was injured while fighting in Sicily, but returned to battle a few months later in Italy. He was a private when he won the Victoria Cross, Canada's highest award for valour, at the Savio River in Italy on October 21-22, 1944. After the war, Smokey left the Army for a short time, but rejoined and served until August 1964, when he retired and was released with the rank of sergeant. After leaving the military Smokey and his wife established the Smith Travel Agency in Vancouver. In 1995, Smokey was appointed to the Order of Canada. At the time of his death on Aug. 5, 2005 Smokey Smith was the last surviving Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ernest “Smokey” Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Seaforth Highlanders

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