Language selection


Ready for Battle

The Dieppe Raid

So we get back and the platoon, we were in platoons like, and Lieutenant Ryerson comes to me and he says, “Poolton get your mortar, check your mortar over, make sure you take HE and smoke, we're going on a maneuver.” Interviewer: HE is? High explosive. We'd never taken high explosive, we didn't carry high explosive and we didn't carry hand grenades on maneuvers in England. And they were issuing out two hand grenades per man, 36, the 36 hand grenade and I wasn't carrying a rifle because I had the mortar, you see, so my rifle was left there. But I had 250 rounds of .303 ammunition so I carried all the HE. that was 12, 12 bombs in my haversack. So anyway, this went on and there was a lot of scurrying around and they were leaving a rear guard and nobody wanted to stay on the rear guard. There was arguments going on. Took us out, they said out on the street in 15 minutes with all of your gear. And there were trucks. Trucks were lined up and they'd never tied the tarps down before at the back, you know, we were in trucks, God, three or four times a week the big thirty-hundred-weights. And the tarps was always open at the back see, so we get on the trucks, platoon, each platoon had its own truck. And they tied the tarps down. They drove us to Portsmouth, drove us right into the ship yards and we boarded the two troops carriers. I was on the Queen Emma and the other, the rest, half of the regiments were on the Princess Astrid. So we get on and they lock the gates to keep everybody in. So, a sailor said to me, “You know where we're headed?” He said, “We're headed to Dieppe.” So anyway when it came time to go, you know, everybody's normal just like another maneuver and you're not really thinking everything, you're not thinking of death, you're not thinking... I was, you know, I was proud really of my platoon. And I was only a buck private. I wasn't supposed to be allowed to be proud of anything but I thought jeez all these men, you know, some of them are going to get it. Some of them are gonna, some are not coming back. But nobody even gave it a thought. So when it became time, it was pitch black and we walked through the ship in silence in the dark holding on to the bayonet scabbard of the man ahead to the landing craft. We were helped across about a three foot space by two naval ratings and into the landing craft and then it was lowered. It was lowered into the sea, no problems like the Titanic had. And we pulled away from the mothership. And it was kind of a sad feeling, you know, seeing the mother, the silhouette of the troop carrier there, you know, because that we were leaving the safety of mother. And so that thought kind of went through my mind. But I mean your mind was business, business, we got something to do ahead. We've trained for this, we're gonna go do it!

Heading to Dieppe, Mr. Poolton is equipped with mortars, loaded down on the landing craft, prepared and ready for battle.

John (Jack) Poolton

John (Jack) Abernethy Poolton was born in Toronto, Ontario on January 9, 1918. He was one of seven children. His father farmed 100 acres near Kapuskasing, Ontario. Mr. Poolton enlisted in the Royal Regiment of Canada and provides vivid, clear details of the allied landing at Dieppe, France on August 19, 1942.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John (Jack) Poolton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regiment of Canada

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: