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Day 1-3 (Paris) Day 4        5       6 (France) Day 7     8      9 (Belgium)    Day 10         11       12 (Nether.)
C.O.'s Intro | Itinerary

June 1-3

Dieppe | Juno | Clair Tison Ypres | Vimy | Low Tempo Walcheren | Arnhem | Groningen

2010 Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage - Day 4

The Centennial Battlefield Pilgrimage started in earnest with a trip to Dieppe. Captain Peter Boyle, who did the detailed itinerary planning and arrangements for the tour, had extensive experience in operating tours in Europe, and as a former soldier of The Royal Regiment of Canada was intimately familiar with the Dieppe area. It was felt important to include areas of historical interest beyond the scope of just regimental activities. There were many reasons for this. For many tour members, this was their first and possibly only trip to Europe to experience Canadian military history tourism. Experiencing the other sites not directly related to regimental history would also help put regimental history into the broader context. And there was the reality that infantry battalions fight small actions in tiny places that change dramatically over time; the small battlefields that the Calgary Highlanders made famous have often not been preserved or are difficult to get access to now.

Dieppe does have regimental connections, as scholars of unit operations will note that 21 mortar men under their platoon commander went to Dieppe but did not disembark - though two were Mentioned in Despatches for bringing down a German aircraft while manning anti-aircraft guns. Another Calgary Highlander serving as staff officer at a brigade headquarters was killed on the main beach, his body never recovered.

After Blue Beach at Puys, the buses moved to the main beaches where a brief stopover was spent finding lunch on the beachfront. A visit to the West Headland and Pourville followed, and then a trip to the Military Cemetery, where by surprise a remembrance service was underway by officers of a NATO training school.

"Blue Beach" at Puys, where The Royal Regiment of Canada landed on 19 August 1942. The greatest concentration of losses of the day were suffered here, with 200 killed and 264 captured of 556 landed. The Germans had defended the beach with just 60 men, and at no point felt the need to reinforce the position. Photo by Nancy Desilets

The West Headland overlooking the main beach at Dieppe.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

At right, junior ranks of the Regiment, photographed atop the West Headland overlooking the main beach at Dieppe.
Photo by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Vernon

Colonel Mannix, gesturing, provides some historical commentary at Pourville, the location of Green Beach on 19 August 1942.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

A service of remembrance and wreath laying was just about to start as the Calgary Highlanders arrived at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery. The service put the timings on the itinerary back, pushing a planned trip to the Pegasus Bridge off until the next day - for anyone touring military sites in Normandy, in June, flexibility is a necessity.
Photo by Nancy Desilets

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