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The “Dieppe Murderers”

Heroes Remember

The “Dieppe Murderers”

So we get to the camp and, of course, they do a strip search on everybody and make sure you got nothing when you get in there and then they put us in our compound so we’re at the end, the very end, a special compound. Murderer’s compound, not POW’s, murderer’s. We are the Dieppe murderers. And so we’re not considered soldiers, we’re considered murderers and should be treated the same. So we get in there, we don’t give a damn what they call us as long as they give us something to eat. So the British are in charge of the camp there and they tell us, you know, that things will be better in here rather than out there and they will eventually send us out to work parties like them, most of them are out in work parties in mines and lumber and mills and everything else although the treatment wasn’t that good by any means and so we figured we would look forward to it. So we got into our huts. The huts we have in the camp are the same as you have in the holocaust, the same as the Jews; they’re exactly the same. You got the bunks, they got two hundred into one section of a hut and you got four bunks high and the bottom bunk we didn’t use the other three we did. I was on the top bunk. I liked the top bunk because it was the warmest up by the roof in the winter time. And you got straw mattresses, that’s all they were made of straw (inaudible) to lay on and one grey blanket from the Red Cross, that was supplied but that’s it, that’s all you had for bedding and your uniform of course. And pillows that were made out of straw or anything you could make out of and put your boots under your head for a while, they make good pillows and that way it would stop someone from stealing them.

Mr. Ryan paints a picture of the conditions of the prison camp he was taken to.

Joseph Anthony Ryan

Joseph Anthony Ryan was born in Montreal in 1920. The circumstances during the depression era saw him and his family moving to Thunder Bay, Ontario in search of a better life. Like many during this time, applying to Canada’s military was a way to find work, adventure and purpose, so in the late 30’s he joined the Lake Superior Regiment and began his training alongside the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). From participating in operations from Iceland to Dieppe to his time as a prisoner of war in Germany, Joseph Ryan’s stories bring us a unique perspective on the price paid for our freedom.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 5, 2009
Person Interviewed:
Joseph Anthony Ryan
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regiment of Canada

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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