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Preparing on the Isle of Wight

Heroes Remember

Preparing on the Isle of Wight

Those units who took part in the raid were moved from the mainland of southern England to the Isle of Wight at a certain month and we were there for training, for I think about three months before the raid, and that, that would make it July, August. I guess we were there from June to August. Interviewer: Training hard for an amphibious landing. Right. With a, a definite recognition that we were going to be in action at the end of this. Interviewer: So your men now knew that something... Not the men. Interviewer: No, okay. Who knew at this stage? I knew. Interviewer: You were still the only one who knew for sure? Yes, and I have always thought that was a mistake, that my officers should also have known, 'cause I remember saying to one of them, “Is your unit, is your company battle worthy?” And he, this company commander said, “ Oh yes sir.” He didn’t... I was new to him too, like I guess the world was... But the impression I got was that... Well, he said... I think he, he expressed, “What do you mean by that?” And I said, “Are you ready to go into action tomorrow against the Germans?” And he said, “Well there may be a few things I’d like to do.” So I said, “When are you going to do them?” You see, the commanding officers were informed that this was a real raid, but we were sworn to secrecy. We were not to tell anyone, even in the battalion. And that, this was done to, to ensure... Interviewer: That the enemy didn’t find out. The enemy didn’t find out. Well intended, but I thought it was a mistake.

The South Saskatchewan Regiment and other units involved in the Dieppe Landing spent several months on the Isle of Wight preparing for the attack.

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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