Language selection


Dieppe Liberated

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: It's my understanding Mr. Letendre that eventually the division took Dieppe and this of course was the scene of an earlier battle involving the 2nd Division in 1942 with tragic consequences. Do you remember anything of the occasion when the division took Dieppe in 1944? Oh yes, we were a proud bunch of boys. We all said at any cost that we would take Dieppe. But you know we never fired a shot. Germans gave up. I remember parading on Main Street, whole Canadian Army. And we come back. Interviewer: It's my understanding that General Montgomery wasn't very happy that the Canadians felt that they had to do this. Do you think it was necessary? Yes it, for me it is. And I think for every Canadian soldier it was. We, we owed something to them. Interviewer: What do you remember about the reception that you Canadians got from the people of Dieppe. Oh it was marvellous, it was marvellous, I can still see it. People through the windows, all over. It was marvellous yeah. Interviewer: Things turned rough again? Yeah, they went rough again. I remember going through into Dunkirk. We fought right into Dunkirk. And we were going to take Dunkirk, we were going to take Dunkirk and the British said, "No that's our battle, we're going to take it." Well ok, it's yours, go ahead and take it. So we left it to the British and war was over and they still hadn't taken it. Yeah, well I guess they saved a few lives anyway. Interviewer: There were many other coastal ports that held out as well and required the Canadians to, to move in and roust them out. Well I remember, most of all I could remember my early fighting days there, but that's mostly along the coast. Pill boxes, gun nests, crossing (inaudible) wires, all kinds. And that was our job, is along that coast. And I always say that we got the dirtiest end of the stick there. You know, that was bad. You know they were dug in and we had to get them out. Interviewer: Not as glamorous as what the Americans were doing in the South, but necessary because the Allies needed a useable port Why was that Mr. Letendre? Why was gaining a port so important? Well I guess mostly so that we can bring in equipment, men, whatever we needed to bring in. I don't really know how they put their things together but I am sure that going in on a ship to France in, on the coast Normandy there that you had to have some kind of a port in order to get supplies to your men. You gotta have supplies to your men some how. So ports are very important.

In late Summer of 1944, the Canadian Army was back in the city of Dieppe. Mr. Letendre recalls the taking of the French city by the Canadian troops and remembers some of his other activities along the coastal region of France.

Hugh Victor Letendre

Mr. Letendre was born on March 4, 1925 in the small hamlet of Lac Ste-Anne, Alberta. As a Métis, he grew up speaking Cree, French and English. He came from a large family with one brother and eight sisters. His father was a trapper and did a lot of commercial fishing. Mr. Letendre learned how to hunt and fish from his father.

When he was 11 years old he became the janitor for the one-room school that he also attended as a student. He would sweep the floors, make the fire in the morning, and haul water and coal. For all that, he was paid $4.00 a month which he gave back to his family because they had very little money at the time.

He enlisted at the age of 18 and served during the Second World War as a rifleman with the Calgary Highlanders. His overseas deployment included time serving in the Normandy Campaign after D-Day. After the war he became a leader of Canada's Aboriginal Veterans Association.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Hugh Victor Letendre
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of Normandy
Calgary Highlanders

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: