Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dieppe - First Impressions

I achieved one of my deepest, most cherished goals today. I visited Dieppe and walked along its beaches. Growing up, I was a complete World War II nerd, reading pretty much anything about the war I could get my hands on - fiction or nonfiction. I still haven't figured out what got me interested in it, or what continued to fuel my interest all those years. For all I know, my joining the Royal Westminster Regiment and undergoing basic training the summer after high school was part and parcel of this need to see what the experience was all about.

Anyway, we're on a four-day pilgrimage through the Western Front, so we stopped at Dieppe en route to being based in Caen and Normandy for a few days. It was wet and rainy all day, but thankfully it stopped for the 90 min we were in Dieppe. However, the wind was howling. Walking along the beach was an incredibly powerful and moving experience for me, and the pounding of the waves and the narrow and rocky nature of the beach was really remarkable. The town of Dieppe certainly remembers, with memorials all along the beach and a bigger (but closed) memorial museum at one end.

We made it to the Canadian War Cemetery on the way out of town too.

900+ buried in this small cemetery. Youngest we saw was 18, oldest 56. I'm glad I came to thank those who served or died in person.