Building Ties Across the Atlantic

Aim

To increase youth awareness about the Dieppe Raid during the Second World War and to engage youth in active commemoration by remembering the sacrifices and achievements made by Canadians.

Objectives

Youth will be expected to:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts during the Dieppe Raid on August 19, 1942;
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served and those who died in service;
  • develop an awareness of various ways of remembering the fallen and how human relationships play an important role in healing; and
  • develop an appreciation for the effects that the Second World War had on the relationship between Canada and France.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 12 to 18.

Sequence of events and anticipated time [variable]

(This activity is intended to follow the lesson plan “The Attack at Dieppe”.)

  • Introduction [15 minutes]
  • Reading activity – Building Ties Across the Atlantic handout [20 minutes]
  • “Symbols of hope” concluding activities [variable]

Materials

  • Canada Remembers the Dieppe Raid information sheet
  • Map showing Europe/France and North America/Canada
  • Building Ties Across the Atlantic handout
  • Computers with internet access for groups of two or three students
  • “Remembrance kites” group activity: students will gather materials from home
  • “Design your own memorial” group activity: 1 white bristol board per group of students

Introductory Discussion [15 minutes]

Review with your students what they already know about the Dieppe Raid (completing the lesson “The Attack at Dieppe” would provide a good background). You may wish to discuss their feelings on what they have learned about this dark chapter in Canada’s military history. What can we all learn from an event which saw the loss of so many lives?

Remind the students that the French people had been under occupation for over two years by August 1942 when the Dieppe Raid took place. In addition to food shortages, the loss of French culture and way of life was a serious threat. Discuss how they think the people of Dieppe, France, felt after witnessing or hearing of the Canadian landing. Compare this to how they may have felt after the Canadians returned to Dieppe in September 1944 to liberate the town for good. Ask them why it is important to remember and commemorate the setbacks in war as well as the victories. You may wish to note their answers.

Refer to the map showing Canada and France. Ask the class if any of them or someone they know has ever visited France. Did they notice any tributes to Canada during their visit? Have they heard any stories of Canadians visiting France and receiving a warm welcome? If so, why might this be?

Ask your students if they have heard of the city of Dieppe in southeastern New Brunswick. Has anyone ever visited there? Does anyone know how this city came to be called “Dieppe?”

Reading Activity [20 minutes]

Share the handout Building Ties Across the Atlantic to explore the importance of human relationships after a tragedy and in paying tribute to the fallen through the experience of the two cities of Dieppe, New Brunswick, and Dieppe, France. You may wish to read the handout aloud as a group and pause periodically to allow time for questions or sharings.

After reading, discuss with your students the different ways of remembering those who have sacrificed so that we may live in peace and freedom. How do human relationships factor into remembrance? Do they believe it is important to include an element of hope for the future when we commemorate tragedies such as the Dieppe Raid? Ask the class if they can think of symbols often used in remembrance and how they incorporate a positive message (e.g. a beautiful field of poppies, doves flying in the sky, tulips in the National Capital Region). 

“Symbols of hope” concluding activities [variable]

The following options offer an opportunity for students to create their own symbols of hope in honour of those who served and those who died during the Dieppe Raid.

Remembrance kites group activity challenge

Using simple materials found around most homes, students can build their own remembrance kites. There are many great and easy kite-making ideas found online. Organize a challenge where the students work together in groups of two or three researching how to make a kite and then build one. Have them create a special remembrance symbol or message of hope in honour of the Canadians who were on the beaches of Dieppe and attach or write it on the kite. They could develop their own messaging or you could offer some ideas:

  • Remember a Canadian who lost his life at Dieppe (visit the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and search with the keyword “Dieppe” or “August 19, 1942”)
  • Thank a Veteran
  • Write a personal thought or poem of remembrance or hope
  • Draw a poppy

Once the projects are complete, have the students present to the class on how they built their kite and what types of symbols/messages they used. During their online research, did they find any other young people building/flying kites as a message of peace? As a final activity, go outside and test the kites. The students will enjoy seeing their work of remembrance fly in the air! Take a picture and share it on social media, such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. What a great way to let their hopes for peace soar! Encourage the students to fly their kites again on August 19.

Design your own memorial group activity challenge

Students of all ages will enjoy designing their own memorials. Have the students gather in groups of two or three. Explain that they will be planning and sketching a new memorial dedicated to the Canadians who fought in the Dieppe Raid and then presenting their memorial idea to the class.

Some of the questions for the groups to consider in planning the memorial:

  • What types of feelings do they want people to feel when looking at the memorial? How will the memorial evoke a feeling of hope?
  • What shape will the memorial have? Will it have any sculptures on it?
  • Will there be any inscriptions on the memorial? What will they say?
  • What materials will be used in the construction?
  • Where will the memorial be situated? What is the landscape and how does it contribute to the memorial?
  • Will people be able to gather around the memorial for remembrance ceremonies?

After the planning is complete, the students can sketch the memorial and surrounding landscape on a piece of bristol board. They can label the different parts of the memorial with a brief description. Have the students make a brief presentation to the class on their design. Hang your memorial sketches in the class or in the hallway to share with other students in the school.

 

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