To the Editor:
Once again, the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour will soon arrive, and once again our prime minister at a ceremony on Parliament Hill and our premier in Victoria will participate in the Remembrance Day ceremonies with a sombre look on their faces while laying a wreath at the foot of the cenotaph.
In my era, the red poppies always brings to mind one of the worst atrocities in the Second World War with the heaviest loss of life of Canadian, British and American soldiers in one attack that could have been prevented. This was the assault on the long, wide beaches of Dieppe against the enemy occupancy in France. Commanded and planned by two unsavoury politicians, British prime minister Winston Churchill, who got his strength from a bottle of scotch, and Lord Mountbatten, a wife swapper.
Nevertheless, the plan of attack was a good one. The first phase was to be by the Royal Air Force bombers, bombarding the beaches and cliff escarpment paralleling the beach for a mile or more, destroying land mines, barbed wire and enemy resistance on the cliffs. Immediately, the second phase was to have the big guns of the battleships that came in under the cover of darkness with the Canadian and British infantry to shell the beach and sand cliffs just prior to our soldiers starting their assault by wiping out any manmade obstruction or enemy resistance.
Within the hour prior before the first phase began, a decision was made to cancel the air support and the heavy shelling by the battleships. Thousands of soldiers were deployed into landing craft for the assault on the beach. As soon as the landing craft ramps dropped down, our soldiers were fired upon by enemy snipers and machine-gun fire from the clifftops, and those infantrymen that made it up onto the beach were stopped in their tracks by rows of anchored barbed wire. Being out in the open, it was a slaughter by the enemy’s heavy calibre machine-guns literally shooting arms and legs off, and in some cases cutting a man in half. A thousand were wounded, as many taken prisoner and over 3,000 were killed. Amazingly, some men still managed to get to the cliffs to climb and attack some machine-gun bunkers.
Churchill and Mountbatten had preempted a news report prior to the raid at Dieppe that the assault was a success and still broadcast it over the air right after the assault. Ironically, after the war, syphilis killed Churchill before the booze did and Mountbatten was blown to pieces while asleep on his yacht by an IRA bomber in 1979.
All these soldiers who have died for our freedom today is mind-boggling — all these sacrifices to keep us free and yet freedom is taken for granted by so many today. We have a federal leader and provincial party leaders that choose to dictate rather than lead. Our freedom of rights and ownership of our natural resources are being eroded through legislation by those very two politicians and others who are placing the wreaths at the cenotaphs. The decades old eulogy of “lest we forget” has been long forgotten by these politicians and some of us.