1. Sgt Dubuc was attached to the Battalion Headquarters of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal on the day of the action at Dieppe, France, and was evidently a member of the Protective Platoon, through he never actually received the detailed information concerning his job which he had been he would get from Maj Painchaud.
2. Sgt Dubuc landed from an LCP(L) near the West end of the Casino at, he thinks, about 0700. There was very heavy fire as the boats came in, but Sgt Dubuc did not actually see any craft carrying his unit sunk. One LCT was burning ashore.
3. On landing, Sgt Dubuc ran forward about 150 meters with a Bren gun and took cover in a depression in the beach. He stayed here ‘a long hour’. In front were pillboxes, and there was heavy fire ‘from everywhere’. During the time that Sgt Dubuc was on the beach, Pte N. Daudelin maintained a smoke screen by means of generators. After a time Sgt Dubuc and Pte Daudelin crawled up to the pillboxes shown on the Intelligence map on the esplanade wall west of the Casino at (222686) and (223687), and threw hand grenades into both of them.
4. In the water North-East of the word ‘RAMP’ on the 1:12500 Intelligence map there was a tank (somewhat further to the West than by appearing on the map based on air photographs taken on 20 and 21 August1942). This tank had come off an LCT in deep water and had been drowned. Sgt Dubuc had seen the crew leave it. As the tide went out, however, this tank was left exposed. Sgt Dubuc went out to it and sheltered behind it to fire his Bren gun. The entrance door being open he then entered the tank with another man of whose name he is not certain and they fired away the whole of the tank’s 2 pounder ammunition at the German positions of the cliff. Sgt Dubuc is not certain of this tank’s name, but thinks it may have been ‘Caroline’.
5. Sgt Dubuc then left the tank and moved towards the cliff, where he found a group of men of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal. There were five LCP(L)s on the beach here. Sgt Dubuc feels certain that there were not under the cliff at this point as many men as the 288 whom (according to a returned prisoner of war) the Germans subsequently captured here. He suggests that some other men may have taken shelter here at a later time after failing to find boats to take them off.
6. Sgt Dubuc now made his way East, passing through the backyard of the houses located rue Alexandre Dumas. He was followed by about 11 men of the Fus.M.R. He was the senior NCO of this party. He cannot give the names of any men in it. On arriving close to the corner of the rue de Sygogne, he saw Capt Vandelac coming around the South-Eastern corner of the Casino with a party of perhaps 20 men who were directing fire towards the Château de Dieppe (Castle). Sgt Dubuc’s party took cover to avoid hindering the fire of Capt Vandelac enter the buildings fronting on the Boulevard de Verdun near the rue du Port Ouest, with his men, apparently under excellent battle discipline, following ‘two by two’. Sgt Dubuc does not know what happened to this party afterwards.
7. Sgt Dubuc’s party now ran forward through the gap in the road block across rue de Sygogne. There were some Germans here but Sgt Dubuc says they had no rifles. The party advanced down the rue de Sygogne as far as the intersection with rue Claude Groulard. Here in a little green park at the intersection, which appears on both 1:5000 and the 1:12500 paps (224683), there was a machine gun pit manned by 3 Germans. The latter fired on Sgt Dubuc’s party. One man of the party threw a hand grenade at them and their fire ceased. The party then advanced,found the 3 Germans lying in their position apparently uninjured, and killed them with Thompson fire.
8. From this point Sgt Dubuc’s party turned East and ran rapidly along the rue Claude Groulard and the Quai Berigny past the Jardin Public (Public Garden). They were fired on from the windows of a school building near the little park already referred to, and one man was hit in the heel. Sgt Dubuc told him to go back to the beach but he preferred to carry on with the party. Their fire being returned, the Germans stopped firing. The Fus.M.R. party reached the edge of the Bassin Duquesne and turned to the right, skirting the Bassin by way of the Pont Amiral Courbet and the Quai du Tonkin, still running, and under fire from the vicinity of the machine gun post shown on the Intelligence map at the Northern end of the Pont Lavoinne. Arriving near the North-West corner of the Bassin du Canada, they saw 2 men of B Company, Fus.M.R., not belonging to the party, lying on the street and talking to some Frenchmen.
9. In the Bassin du Canada were 2 Commando Boats not unlike our LCA’s and 2 small submarines. There were guard on the Commando Boats. Sgt Dubuc states that he remembers the cranes along the sides of the Bassin. While Sgt Dubuc remained near the North-West corner of the Bassin, some of his men went close to the vessels, fired on the guards and, he thinks, killed them. These men then returned and the whole party moved South along the railway tracks on the West side of the Bassin.
10. When they reached the South-West corner of the Bassin about fifteen Germans suddenly appeared from different directions. Sgt Dubuc now had no ammunition left for his Bren gun, and he believes that some of the other men had also exhausted their ammunition. The party therefore surrendered.
11. The Germans made signs for the Fus.M.R. men to come with them, and the party were taken West or South-West into a backyard. Here one of the Germans spoke to them in German, which they did not understand, and then told them in English to undress. As nobody moved, the German who had spoken to them spoke to another German soldier, and this man repeated the order in French. The whole party now took off their uniforms and equipment, stripping to their underwear, and pilled their equipment and uniforms in a heap. The Germans lined the party up against a wall, forcing them to face the wall and place their hands against it; they then departed, taking the discarded clothing and equipment with them, and leaving only one German soldier to guard the prisoners. 4 men of Sgt Dubuc’s party had at first escaped capture but were subsequently captured and had had been brought in before this time. The total number of prisoners including Sgt Dubuc was 12.
12. After standing for some minutes in the manner already described, Sgt Dubuc spoke to the German guard in English, asking him if he spoke a little English. The guard replied that he spoke a little English and French. Sgt Dubuc asked him for a drink of water, not, he explains, with any special plan in view at that moment, but when the man turned away Sgt Dubuc saw an opportunity and threw himself upon him, the other men immediately doing likewise. One man picked up a long piece of pipe which lay to hand, and swinging it over his head ct the German’s head in half.
13. Thus released from captivity, the party immediately began to run. Sgt Dubuc explains that from this time on he has no clear recollection of the route he followed, but he finally found his way on the promenade in front of the town by one of the streets leading into the Boulevard de Verdun. he states that, at this particular moment, everything was strangely quiet, a striking contrast with the heavy bombardment earlier. He was alone when he reached the Promenade, and has not seen any other member of the party who were with him since.
14. Sgt Dubuc ran across the Promenade to the beach North-East of the Casino, where he found a group of at least 3 tanks on the shingle. Her he found his Commanding Officer, Lt Col Menard, lying wounded. He also saw Capt Vandelac on the beach. There were many men of the Fus.M.R. on the beach at this point. A smoke screen was laid by aircraft, and Capt Vandelac then gave orders to withdraw.
15. Sgt Dubuc asked Col Menard if he was going aboard one of the craft which now came in. The colonel replied that he would not do so until all his men had been taken off. Sgt Dubuc and D-62051, Cpl (now Sergeant) Berube, nevertheless compelled Col Menard to come with them, and got him safely on to an LCA. Sgt Dubuc then returned to the beach picked up Cpl Cloutier of Platoon N°3 and carried him to another LCA, embarking with him. Subsequently they were transfered to an LCT which brought them back to England, landing them at Newhaven. During the voyage back, Sgt Dubuc gave assistance to wounded men.
16. In the course of this operation Sgt Dubuc was struck in the back by a piece of shrapnel. He did not know this until three weeks later, when symptoms appeared and he was sent to hospital.
17. Sgt Dubuc believes that a corporal of the Fus.M.R, named Laframboise entered the town of Dieppe with a sergeant of the H.E.C.
18. Sgt Dubuc states that on the beach at Dieppe he met some men of the Royal Regiment of Canada who said that they had come round by land from Blue Beach. (It seems likely that these men had invented this story.)
19. Sgt Dubuc told his story to reporters after the operation, and it was published at length in the Sunday Dispatch of August 23 1942, although Sgt Dubuc’s appears as Pte Dubec.
20. On November 7 1942, Sgt Dubuc read this memorandum in draft. The writer revised it with him and Sgt Dubuc agreed that it was an accurate account of his experiences.
C.P. Stacey Major
Canadian Military Headquarters.
For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be
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(NB : Published for Good – March 2019)