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Two Miles From the French Coast

The Dieppe Raid

Two Miles From the French Coast

We start out, the Flotilla, that's just the Royal Regiment because we're heading for Puys. You know, we're not heading for the main beach of Dieppe. And so I guess we were ten miles out so we probably had about ten miles to go. Well after about, I'd say oh an hour maybe an hour, I don't know how long it actually took us to go in, I got no idea really, we heard this firing. We were in, well we were within two miles of the French coast when this happened and we heard this firing off to our left. Now we knew the Third Commando were on our left. But we thought, what the hell are they firing at, you know, they're miles from the French coast. This was this German convoy that we ran into. And the Third, the Commando were right they sunk some of their ships and they scattered them, some of them went back to England and the Royals, we turned in circles to avoid detection, to try and avoid detection. See, that was the main thing - don't be seen. You couldn't communicate with a headquarter ship because there was a radio silence. Now maybe that was wrong. If they could have had, if they contacted the headquarter ship maybe the headquarter ship would have said, get out of there! You know, we've been discovered, we've been discovered. I don't know whether, but if that would have been me and I had the authority to do it I would have said get out of there. That's what the naval commander was telling our colonel. Get your men out of here the second wave, I went in on the second wave. First wave was already in, get your men out of here, something's gone wrong. And Colonel Kato said, “I can't. Half my men's in there.” So the Second Division, the second wave which was D & C company had to go in and face the same music that the First Div had run into. You see the First Div was supposed to break through the.... Interviewer: The first wave. the first wave, ya, break through the barricades like get though the wire, cut the wire, blow the wire and then the second wave was supposed to pass through and that's what we expected we were going to do. So the second wave, piled up on the first wave which the first wave hadn't been able to make the openings that we were expecting, you see. Interviewer: As you got closer to Puys what was it, what did you see? Well, after we seen the convoy, the Germans fired flares. They fired flares and there was an aircraft overhead. I remember an aircraft overhead. It had to be German. And they dropped chandelier flares and they lit up, I don't know how far we were out there, we were quite a ways out. But it lit up the channel, you know, and you could see the escort vessels and all these little landing craft. But by this time the convoy had passed. You see, the convoy had continued on because there was gun fire and one ship was set aflame - there was one ship on fire. And I remember there was search lights going around like this, you see. But I don't know if they spotted us. I don't know if the Germans actually seen anything because we were quite a ways out. But anyway, eventually, it was time for the first wave to go in. At the same time all these twin engine bombers, I think they were Hudsons, were going across, they never hit a damn thing. They never hit, those coastal defenses, they know there's no allied troops in there. They could see the water line, why didn't they just drop their bombs as soon as they crossed the coast line, let their bombs go They went inland, in across Dieppe.

Mr. Poolton describes his landing at Dieppe.

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

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