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My dear soldier friend

Posted By on November 11, 2020

11 November 2020. The Memorial. Victoria, B.C.

11 November 2020.
The Memorial. Victoria, B.C.

2020-11-11

My dear soldier friend,

Again, I see you upon the high ground ever watchful.

Each year we visit. Your sharp-eyed gaze has again passed across these horizons a hundred tens of thousands of times…Your watch… infinite…embedded within you, all that have passed, all here this day and all you know who will follow…this due…to the peace you brought, one day, short days ago. We remember you and yours…your constant vigil…for this…thank you, thank you, thank you.

11 November 2020. The Memorial. Victoria, B.C.

11 November 2020.
The Memorial. Victoria, B.C.

I see too your bronzed image has aged not but a day as we who are left come closer to our guard. I have learned much from you…your watch…your hope. Your experience, your service has provided our peace. Long may it remain for us to keep its warmth and share its comfort with others.

Know too that I am grateful for this ground on which we stand together…your ever-watchful eyes, my thoughts with you. Keep safe and thank you again for the enduring voices you have given, to all people, on this day that we remember…your watch.

Until we chat again…

A dear friend

———-0———-

All images by P. Ferguson 11 November 2020

Cutting Into Chalk

Posted By on October 30, 2020

The Vimy Ridge Visitor Education Centre. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017).

The Vimy Ridge Visitor Education Centre.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

Three Soldiers of the 16th

In 2017 we journeyed to Vimy from Ieper (Ypres, Belgium). It was my first experience driving on the continent and although prepared (having a plan for the day) and filled with hopeful arrival times, we were not without diversion. In one instance, with the white towers of Vimy on the distant horizon, road construction, within a nearby town, directed us far off course and it was some while before we were on the recognized roadway to Vimy.

Visitors to the Vimy Ridge Visitor Education Centre. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

Visitors to the Vimy Ridge Visitor Education Centre.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

We visited this day to see the new Vimy Ridge Visitor Education Centre inaugurated in April 2017 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the battle (9-12 April 1917). Several others, many from Canada, were here amongst us wandering about the popular exhibit, a showcase of Canada’s Vimy experience. Allward and the memorial, traces of war, the personal, the context here amongst the chosen stories.

A visitor at the soldier's graffiti exhibition, Souterraine Impressions. (P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

A visitor at the soldier’s graffiti exhibition, Souterraine Impressions.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2017)

However, in a temporary exhibition space that I happily came upon were modern casts of graffiti from nearby tunnels. Featuring soldier stories and their work, the “I was here” workings included those of Alvin Kines, Daniel Holmes (wounded at Vimy) and John Cameron (wounded at Vimy) all of the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Canadian Scottish).

Alvin Kines

Alvin Kines

John Cameron

John Cameron

The project Souterraine Impressions represented the work of several underground would-be sculptors and carvers and grateful thanks to the Canadian Historical Documentation and Imaging Group (CANADIGM) who reproduced the soldier’s work as 3-D prints. Those of us fortunate to see the exhibit at Vimy could not help but think upon those who knew this this place well…Kines, Holmes, Cameron and others.

The work of Alvin Kines and Daniel Holmes.

The work of Alvin Kines and Daniel Holmes.

We had chosen a good day to be car bound instead of on foot or pedal bike. Our visit to Vimy was accentuated by the onslaught of a hard rain. As torrents claimed any form of dry clothing I managed to wander towards the memorial and revisit with the figures that remain in steady contemplation. Man, woman with storm clouds above. Vimy is a fine place to visit in weather of all sorts and, as I have been known to mention…somehow it’s always seems better when it rains. Our trio of soldiers survived the war, perhaps their recollections once again brought to the fore by some time spent in 1917 cutting into the chalk of tunnels.

The work of John Cameron.

The work of John Cameron.

The Souterraine Impressions exhibition closed at Vimy in November 2017.
The exhibit had been on shown previously and continues to travel.

*An image of Daniel Holmes has not been traced.
Perhaps one day he will be here amongst his fellow carvers.

Scotland and the Victoria Cross: The Little Wars of Queen Victoria

Posted By on September 25, 2020

Storming the Peiwar Kotal.  By Vereker Monteith Hamilton, 1891. Scottish-born John Cook was awarded the Victoria Cross. (Wiki image)

Storming the Peiwar Kotal. By Vereker Monteith Hamilton, 1891. Scottish-born John Cook was awarded the Victoria Cross.
(Wiki image)

1860 – 1900 (excluding the Second Boer War 1899-1902)

Following the Indian Mutiny or Sepoy Mutiny, British soldiers and sailors found themselves deeply involved in colonial battles across the British Empire. The “pink” of the globe was well known to students and diplomats of Empire, so too the gun and cannon of powerful, organized troops against spirited adversaries defending their lands, their beliefs.

Apart from Queen Victoria’s little wars, other empire nations also subjected many to cultural and resource conquest. Separate and yet strangely together this competition of empirical adversaries carved incomprehensible borders…they established the fence…in search of wealth and power, seldom inclusive of indigenous rights and titles.

The Indian Mutiny is also known as the Indian Rebellion by those whose world view see it from a differing perspective of the Empire. Within the list of names below we see other nations, portions of India now Pakistan, Ashanti now Ghana, Burma formerly Myanmar now Myanmar, Rhodesia now Zimbabwe. Language too has changed…so too the British Empire.

During the period from the end of the Indian Rebellion 140 soldiers and sailors of Queen Victoria’s little wars were awarded the Victoria Cross…13 were born in Scotland. Brave deeds enacted against brave foes…valour on both sides of the empire equation.

The Recipients

Private
John Leishman McDougall VC

Taku Forts (Third China War)
21 August 1860
44th Regiment of Foot (East Essex)
Born: Probably Edinburgh, Scotland (1839)

John Carstairs McNeill. From Celebrities of the Army, 1902. (Wikimedia Image)

John Carstairs McNeill.
From Celebrities of the Army, 1902.
(Wikimedia Image)

Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General)
Sir John Carstairs McNeill VC GCVO KCB KCMG

Invasion of Waikato (New Zealand Wars)
30 March 1864
107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry)
Born: Colonsay, Argyllshire, Scotland (28 March 1831)

Lieutenant (later Captain)
James Dundas VC
Dewan-Giri (Bhutan or Bhootan War)
30 April 1865
Bengal Engineers
Born: Edinburgh, Scotland (10 September 1842)
Died during the Second Anglo-Afghan War (23 December 1879)

Donald Macintyre. (Wiki Image)

Donald Macintyre.
(Wiki Image)

Major (later Major-General)
Donald Macintyre VC
Lalgnoora village, North-east India (Lushai Expedition)
4 January 1872
Bengal Staff Corps and 2nd Gurkha Rifles
Born: Kincraig, Rosshire, Scotland (12 September 1831)

Samuel McGaw (Wiki Image)

Samuel McGaw
(Wiki Image)

Lance Sergeant (later Sergeant)
Samuel McGaw VC
Amoaful, Ashanti (First Ashanti Expedition. Third Anglo-Ashanti War)
21 January 1874
42nd Regiment of Foot
Born: Kirkmichael, Ayrshire (1838)

Captain (later Major)
John Cook VC
Peiwar Kotal, Kuram Valley, India (Second Afghan War)
2 December 1878
5th Gurkha Rifles
Born: Edinburgh, Scotland (28 August 1843)
Died of Head Wound received near Argundeh (11 December 1879)
Died at the Sherpur Hospital, Afghanistan (19 December 1879)

Lieutenant (later Lieutenant Colonel)
William Henry Dick-Cunyngham VC
Sherpur Pass, Afghanistan (Second Afghan War)
13 December 1879
92nd Regiment of Foot
Born: Edinburgh, Scotland (16 June 1851)
Killed in Action Siege of Ladysmith, Natal, south-east Africa (6 January 1900)

George Sellar (Wiki Image)

George Sellar
(Wiki Image)

Lance Corporal (later Sergeant)
George Sellar VC
Asmai Heights, near Kabul, Afghanistan (Second Afghan War)
14 December 1879
72nd Regiment of Foot
Born: Keith, Banffshire, Scotland (1850)

Captain (later Major General)
William John Vousden VC CB
Koh Asmai Heights near Kabul, Afghanistan (Second Afghan War)
14 December 1879
5th Punjab Cavalry, Bengal Staff Corps
Born: Perth, Scotland (20 September 1848)

Charles James William Grant (Wiki Image)

Charles James William Grant
(Wiki Image)

Lieutenant (Later brevet Colonel)
Charles James William Grant VC
Thobal near Manipur, Burma (Anglo-Manipur War)
27 March 1891
Indian Staff Corps
Born: Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (14 October 1871)

Herbert Stephen Henderson (Wiki Image)

Herbert Stephen Henderson
(Wiki Image)

Trooper
Herbert Stephen Henderson VC
Campbell’s Store, near Bulawayo, Rhodesia (Matabeleland Rebellion)
30 March 1896
Rhodesia Horse, Bulywayo Field Force
Born: Glasgow, Scotland (30 March 1870)

George Frederick Findlater (Wiki Image)

George Frederick Findlater
(Wiki Image)

Piper (later Sergeant)
George Frederick Findlater VC
Dargai Heights, India (Tirah Campaign)
20 October 1897
2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders
Born: Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (15 February 1872)

Sergeant (later Major)
John MacKenzie VC DCM
Dompoassi, Ashanti (Third Ashanti Expedition)
6 June 1900
2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
Born: Contin, Ross-shire, Scotland (22 November 1871)
Killed: Commanding 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment at Festubert, France  (17 May 1915)
Buried: Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France

———-0———-

Victoria Cross citations are readily available online or in hard copy publications.
An online keyword search of a recipient’s name should find a summary record of the award.
Search the London Gazette to find a published citation at the time the award was announced.

Beach in Pourville

Posted By on August 18, 2020

Beach in Pourville. Beyond the coastal high ground and largely out of site, the town of Dieppe. Painted by Claude Monet, 1882. (Wiki Image)

Beach in Pourville.
Beyond the coastal high ground and largely out of site, the town of Dieppe.
Painted by Claude Monet, 1882.
(Wiki Image)

Operation Jubilee

When the 16th Battalion CEF formed at Valcartier in 1914 four drafts from Canadian Highland Regiments provided soldiers for this new battalion of this new Canadian army. They included men from the 50th Regiment (Gordon Highlanders) based in Victoria, B.C., the 72nd Regiment (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada) based in Vancouver, B.C., the 79th Regiment (Cameron Highlanders) of Winnipeg, Manitoba and the 91st (Canadian Highlanders) from Hamilton, Ontario.

Looking from the high ground towards Dieppe. (P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

Looking from the high ground towards Dieppe.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

With this week including the anniversary of the combined attack on Dieppe and Pourville France, 19 August 1942 our study is of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada whose forerunners were the 79th Regiment and whose Second World War baptism of fire was on a beach and ground near to Dieppe at Pourville. In 1882 Claude Monet painted Beach in Pourville, a brightly coloured seaside painting illustrating the features of this coastline between Pourville to the south and across the high ground towards Dieppe in the north. Little has changed but for the loss of seaside resort innocence in Monet’s painting. Still the work of art is a beautiful reminder of a lovely and sedate peace prior to the carnage that redefines these towns post 19 August 1942.

On the water's front-line. The stone beach at Dieppe looking towards the town. (P. Ferguson image, September 2009).

On the water’s front-line.
The stone beach at Dieppe looking towards the town.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009).

I have visited both Dieppe and Pourville…stood by the sea and watched waves lap and flow towards the accumulation of stone on this beach. The waves retreat only to return time and time again perhaps like many Canadians who visit this place to see for themselves this other part of Canada in France. The stone rolling feature crunches beneath my feet and yet seemingly willingly gives way to engulf me above my ankles – my thoughts…?…the difficulty of crossing this way.

Stone Upon the Dieppe Shoreline. Painting by Shannon Bettles-Reimer. (P. Ferguson image, August 2020)

Stone Upon the Dieppe Shoreline.
Painting by Shannon Bettles-Reimer.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2020)

This stone, albeit added since that time, adds to our day and that of 1942’s date actuality. The noise of battle…the soldiers of Canada, the ground in front and on our flanks, the Casino and the high ground…tanks caught upon the beach…and here I stand…no carnage….just with my thoughts.

On the high ground towards Pourville. (P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

On the high ground towards Pourville.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

Upon the high ground towards Pourville some discussion ensues as we view Dieppe from above. We drive to Pourville, through the separation between the towns, pass by fortifications, the hazards of the high ground, the sloping land towards Pourville and Merritt’s bridge, Nissen’s radar war and Green Beach….it is all here…quiet this day but for the whispers across the wind from those once here, those who remain and those who return. Few words are found this day whilst the waves continue with their epic perpetual motion. The sound of waves usually brings joy but somehow just like our tumbling stone at Dieppe the waves add a cadence and grip upon this shore and ground. For every cause, there is an effect.

The beach at Pourville. (P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

The beach at Pourville.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

503 Camerons fought at Pourville. 346 became casualties – 60 were killed in action including Piper Charles Gilchrist Gunn. Eight others died after evacuation from the beaches. 167 Camerons were captured including Pipe Major Alex Graham. Other Pipers, who played the regiment ashore, included Pipers G.B. Campbell, William W. Young, George Wood and Piper Smith. 268 Camerons returned to England of these men 103 were wounded.

Piper Charles Gilchrist Gunn Killed in Action - Pourville, France 19 August 1942 (Canadian Virtual War  Memorial)

Piper Charles Gilchrist Gunn
Killed in Action – Pourville, France
19 August 1942
(Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

Honours and Awards
Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada
Pourville – 19 August 1942

Distinguished Service Order

Major (now Lieutenant Colonel) Douglas Gordon Cunningham
(*See note below citation)

Major Cunningham, Acting Brigade Major, 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade during the operations at Dieppe, 19 August 1942, set an outstanding example of devotion to duty and coolness under heavy fire. He continuously manned the rear link set to Force Headquarters Ship from the beginning of the operation at 0430 hours until the evacuation was completed at 1200 hours allowing neither his own danger nor heavy damage suffered by the LCT on which he was serving to interfere with his devotion to the interests of his Battalion. His calmness and utter disregard for his personal safety were a constant inspiration to his men. Major Cunningham had played an essential part in the preparations for the raid and this combined with his courage and determination during the actual operation constitutes a very important contribution to its success.

*Cunningham was later created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and received the French Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre avec Palme. Citations for these awards mention Dieppe.

Major Andrew Thompson Law

Major Law was Second-in-Command of the regiment during the Dieppe operation, 19 August 1942. The Commanding Officer {Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Capel Gostling] having been killed on landing, Major Law took over the unit and despite very heavy enemy fire, reorganized it and proceeded to direct its attack. This officer successfully and efficiently fought his unit approximately two miles inland, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. On the order for withdrawal being given, Major Law fought a rear-guard action to the beach, and so effectively controlled the Battalion that approximately 80% of the personnel were intact at this time. The cool and steady manner in which Major Law directed the action throughout, while continually under fire, was an inspiration to the whole Battalion, and to him goes the major portion of the credit for the fact that comparatively large proportions of its personnel was successfully withdrawn at the conclusion of the operation.

Marker of Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Capel Gostling. We'll Walk Beside You. Mother, Guy and Peg. Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, (P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

Marker of Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Capel Gostling.
We’ll Walk Beside You.
Mother, Guy and Peg.
Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery,
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

Military Cross

Lieutenant Arthur Charles Kavanaugh

This officer while commanding No. 13 Platoon, “C” Company, The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, at Dieppe on 19 August 1942, displayed leadership of a very high order resulting in a fine offensive spirit on the part of all ranks of his command. When the Battalion was held up by stiff enemy resistance this officer’s platoon was cut off by machine gun fire. He directed his men effectively, made skillful use of cover and by bringing heavy fire to bear on the enemy positions enabled the main body to withdraw. During the withdrawal he maintained effective control, displayed coolness and courage and on the beach previous to evacuation regardless of his personal safety his every thought and action were for the protection of his men.

Lieutenant Joseph Edward Ernest McManus

As a Platoon Commander of “D” Company, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada during the Pourville section of the Dieppe operation on 19 August 1942, this officer’s leadership, daring and cool efficiency were an inspiration to all who served under him. When owing to enemy fire the Company became separated Lieutenant McManus assumed command of his detachment and also took charge of other attached personnel from the battalion. By decisive action he cleared all the houses in his allotted area and despite intense fire securely held his position until ordered to withdraw. This officer handled his command with boldness and skill. He attained his objective and subsequently withdrew his force from a precarious position with a minimum of casualties. His fine conduct and example were outstanding.

Lieutenant (Acting Captain) John Edward Thompson

On the advance inland at approximately 0830 hours, 19 August 1942, during the Dieppe raid, Lieutenant Thompson, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, was in command of a composite force slightly larger than a platoon which had become separated from the main body. Being completely in the picture as to the urgency of the task, he continued to operate on the left flank and was responsible for cleaning out two enemy strong points, thus enabling the main body to proceed forward without danger from this flank. Upon attacking the second objective Lieutenant Thompson was seriously wounded in the head resulting later in the loss of his eye. Despite this great handicap he continued to lead his troops to the successful elimination of the second strong point. Immediately after, due to shock and loss of blood, he became unconscious and was found in this condition by the enemy and taken prisoner. The initiative and personal bravery of this officer inspired the troops under him despite their situation, to carry on in such a splendid manner.

Captain James Porter Browne
Canadian Chaplain Service

Captain Browne, Regimental Chaplain attached to the Camerons of Canada, rendered exemplary service at Dieppe on 19 August 1942. This officer was continuously under fire throughout the whole of the operation and his steadiness and personal courage during the morning operations were an inspiration to all ranks. At the withdrawal from the beach, with total disregard for his own safety, and while subject to continuous mortar and machine gun fire he repeatedly went to exposed positions rendering every possible aid and assistance to the wounded. His fine conduct and example were outstanding, and he continued his courageous activity until he was so seriously wounded that he could not further carry on.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Warrant Officer Class II (Company Sergeant-Major) George Gouk MM

Throughout the entire Dieppe action, 19 August 1942, this Warrant Officer was an inspiration to his men and an invaluable assistance to company and battalion officers. In the withdrawal of over two miles he was the last man to stay behind to cover the retirement of small parties of men. He was ever alert to protect the flank and rear and his display of fearlessness in the face of heavy odds was an outstanding example of coolness, steadiness and efficiency. The comparatively small number of casualties suffered by his company was in great part attributable to this Warrant Officer’s gallant conduct.

Gouk was awarded the Military Medal when serving with the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) of the British Army during the Great War.

Sergeant Ernest Elmer Gordon

Sergeant Gordon was wounded early in the attack on Dieppe, 19 August 1942. He concealed his wounds and carried on. He repeatedly organized small parties of men and personally led them in clearing the many houses in his area. Upon the order to withdraw he personally ensured that all men of his platoon [of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa] who were seriously wounded were carried back to the beach. On the beach he acted fearlessly and efficiently going back into and through the danger zone of mortar and machine gun fire to bring aid to the wounded lying in exposed positions. Throughout the entire action this Non-Commissioned Officer was cool, bold and determined and his leadership contributed materially to the success obtained.

Corporal Adam Brygider

Corporal Keller was awarded the Military Medal. This Non-Commissioned Officer’s cool efficiency and courageous conduct throughout the Dieppe operation, 19 August 1942, contributed to his company’s success. In the house to house fighting in Pourville he was in the forefront of the action. At one stage he dragged a wounded comrade through heavy fire for 400 yards to shelter and then returned under fire to attack and clear further houses. On the withdrawal and to the beach he, with Corporal Alexander Keller, organized in a most efficient manner the withdrawal and protection of wounded personnel. With complete disregard for their own safety these two Non-Commissioned Officers repeatedly returned through the wire, advanced to exposed positions and brought back wounded through heavy fire. This Non-Commissioned Officer directed the successful evacuation of the casualties to the LCAO. His gallant conduct throughout resulted in the lives of many soldiers being saved.

Sergeant Gilbert Usher Renwick
(Later MiD as Prisoner of War escaper)

Sergeant Renwick was with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada at Dieppe, 19 August 1942. During the day’s fighting, Sergeant Renwick wiped out at least two enemy machine gun posts single-handed, thereby making the advance of his unit considerably less costly and contributing materially to the unit’s success. When the last evacuation craft had left, there were many casualties on the beach who were threatened with drowning by the incoming tide. In an effort to save some lives, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt, V.C. attempted to cross the open beach but fell wounded before reaching them. Sergeant Renwick immediately went to his aid crossing the beach under heavy fire and assisted him to a place where there was some cover from enemy fire. He then turned and re-crossed the beach but received a gun shot wound in the chest and crawled back to the sea wall, following which he was taken prisoner. During his internment in a Prisoner of War Camp he made three unsuccessful attempts to escape.

Corporal George Hastings Meldrum

When the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada withdrew from the objectives inland during the Dieppe raid, 19 August 1942, it was necessary to form a bridgehead around the evacuation beach at Pourville. The platoon to which Corporal Meldrum belonged was on the right flank in an advanced position in close contact with the enemy who were attacking in an effort to cut off the evacuation. When his Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant became casualties, Corporal Meldrum took over command and led a counter-attack, beating the enemy back and restoring the situation. By his courage and coolness he was an example to his men enabling the bridgehead to be held until the last evacuation craft had left. When their ammunition was expended they were taken prisoner, having fulfilled their job and sacrificed their liberty in order that others could return to England.

Military Medal

Corporal Alexander Keller
(Later awarded the MC with the Calgary Highlanders)

The successful operation carried out by the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada during the Dieppe raid, 19th August 1942, was greatly aided by the gallant conduct of this Non-Commissioned Officer. His conduct throughout the morning was of the highest order. On the beach during the withdrawal he organized defensive fire and with Corporal Brygider was responsible for the successful evacuation of wounded. Repeatedly with complete disregard for their own safety these two Non-Commissioned Officers returned through the wire defences to exposed positions under heavy fire and carried back wounded men. With great coolness and gallantry Corporal Keller led, carried and dragged the casualties to the Assault Landing Crafts. His conduct was a source of inspiration to all ranks.

Lance Corporal George Thomas Nugent

At the Dieppe action, 19 August 1942, this Non-Commissioned Officer showed initiative, determination and coolness in getting his section [of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada] forward and engaging in an offensive action. In one occasion his platoon came under fire from enemy snipers in a grain field. He organized his section under cover and then covered by the fire of his Bren group led the remainder of his section to attack across one hundred and fifty yards of open ground, the only possible line of approach. He disposed of the snipers and cleared two houses effectively dealing with all opposition and allowing the platoon to advance. Later, although wounded, he successfully organized and controlled the withdrawal and brought his section back to the beach with a minimum of casualties. His bearing, conduct and leadership were admirable throughout.

Private Jack James Hunter

This soldier was one of the first to land on the beach at the Dieppe operation, 19 August 1942. Under heavy fire from all sides he crawled to the heavy enemy wire and fearlessly exposing himself cut a large gap through it and thus enabled his platoon to proceed. After cutting the wire this soldier hauled his mortar on to the beach and laid down a smoke screen to help the platoon over the sea wall. His actions were a constant inspiration to those around him. Throughout the operation he displayed total disregard for his own safety and his gallantry was of the highest order.

Private Alexander Huppe

Private Huppe, who served as a sniper during the attack on the French coast at Dieppe, 19 August 1942, carried out his duties throughout the entire operation with outstanding courage and total disregard for his own safety. He several times disposed of enemy snipers who were hindering the advance. In fighting around one of the bridges of the La Scie River this sniper was exposed to heavy enemy fire. His own fire nevertheless was exceedingly accurate and prevented the Germans from making a flank attack which would have caused the loss of a piece of ground that was vital to our troops. His behaviour throughout was that of a fearless, efficient and gallant soldier.

Private William Hopkin

During the operation at Dieppe, 19 August 1942, Private Hopkin was a sniper with “D” Company, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. When the withdrawal was taking place, Private Hopkin passed up his own chance to escape when some boats arrived by deliberately drawing the enemy’s fire from the hillside in order that some of his comrades struggling in the water might reach the boats. With only a couple of logs for protection, he engaged the enemy so effectively that they rained mortar, machine gun and rifle fire at him which previously had been directed at the men in the water. He had several narrow escapes, but undaunted, kept up his fire until the grease was running out of the seams of his rifle and the bolt was so overheated it would not close. Private Hopkin, who was one of the finest shots in the battalion, was later taken prisoner.

Private William Leopold Newman

During the Dieppe raid, 19 August 1942, Private Newman landed at Pourville with “D” Company of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada when the section he was with became separated from the remainder of the Company. The Section Leader was killed and Private Newman assumed command and fought the remainder of the section throughout the balance of the operation. He displayed great initiative and leadership at all times and was responsible for the destruction of at least one enemy machine gun post. Later, after the last evacuation boat had left, Private Newman continued to fight his section until further resistance was useless. Determined not to be taken prisoner, Private Newman set out on his own to try to make his way through France to unoccupied French territory. With his usual initiative, he managed to elude capture for three weeks, but was finally taken prisoner. Private Newman tried unsuccessfully twice more to escape. Throughout his entire internment in Germany, Private Newman at all times showed a splendid example of cheerfulness to all who were with him.

Private Emil John Ulrich

During the raid on Dieppe, 19 August 1942, the company of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada to which Private Ulrich belonged was pinned down by machine gun fire from close range when it was ordered to withdraw from a point two miles inland. Private Ulrich rushed this machine gun post with grenades and silenced it single-handed, allowing the remainder of the company to proceed. In so doing, he came under the fire from another post and was cut off and subsequently taken prisoner. During the day’s fighting, Private Ulrich’s conduct was outstanding. While in prison camp his knowledge of the German language was invaluable, and at great risk to himself he assisted in organizing escapes and rendering valuable aid to the underground movement.

Mentioned in Despatches

Major Norman Hugh Ross
(Later awarded the DSO)

This officer commanded “A” Company during the Dieppe operations, 19 August 1942. At the very outset of the engagement while under continuous enemy fire, he displayed coolness and steadiness such as to impress and inspire the entire company. Later when it became necessary for plans to be changed and extremely hazardous work attempted, Major Ross’s conduct was such that his men followed him without the slightest hesitation. He kept his company under perfect control and advanced some 2 miles inland from the beach, beating off all enemy opposition, and displayed tactical ability of a high order. He then successfully withdrew the company to the shore. On the beach while waiting for the evacuation craft to come in, he organized the defensive position and the handling of the wounded, and his men were largely responsible for the successful withdrawal of a considerable part of the company.

Major Robert Thompson

A veteran of the last war, this Officer provided a fine example of courageous conduct and leadership in advancing with his company across an area swept by heavy enemy fire. By boldly exposing himself during the advance to the first objective he greatly encouraged his men, and the fine example he set was speedily followed, contributing largely to the good pace of the advance. During the subsequent withdrawal Major Thompson’s calm attitude remained unchanged, an inspiration to all ranks, and a splendid illustration of leadership to his junior officers.

Captain Ben Brachman
22nd
Canadian Field Ambulance, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

During the operation at Dieppe, 19 August 1942, Captain Brachman, without any personal regard for his own safety and whilst under continuous enemy mortar and machine gun fire, continued to render first aid to the injured. He, on several instances, placed himself in the line of fire to protect those that had been injured.

He organized parties of stretcher bearers to be available the instant the boats arrived and did not leave until all the available injured were taken off. His coolness and spirit were an inspiration to all.

Captain Ross McNiven Campbell
(Also awarded French Croix de Guerre avec palme)

Although wounded early in the landing operations at Pourville, this officer continued to exercise effective command, and it was due to his intelligent handling of the situation that strong enemy attempts to infiltrate into the town were frustrated. Under constant fire, he displayed high courage and steadied all ranks. Only when again wounded during the evacuation did he finally relinquish his command of his company.

Captain James Alfred Turner
(Also awarded French Croix de Guerre avec Etolie d’Argent)

Captain Turner was adjutant of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada at Dieppe, 19 August 1942, where he stayed at Battalion Headquarters supervising protection and signals. On several occasions he displayed great personal courage and initiative and was responsible at one time for organizing a force to drive off a threatened enemy counter-attack on Battalion Headquarters. During the evacuation he assisted considerably in the difficult task of thinning out the troops for re-embarkation. He was later taken prisoner.

Lieutenant Richard Ambrose Wise
(Killed in Action)

In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe.

Regimental Sergeant Major John William Dumma

While awaiting re-embarkation on the beach at Pourville, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada were subjected to heavy fire. That in spite of this, many of the wounded were successfully evacuated was due in large measure to the work of Regimental Sergeant-Major John William Dumma. This Warrant Officer, on arriving on the beach, organized defensive measures, and supervised the evacuation. Although a target for enemy snipers, he made many trips across the open and bullet swept beach, helping the wounded and directing parties of men to A.L.Cs. His conduct did much to maintain the spirit of the men. He was one of the last to leave the beach.

Company Sergeant Major Charles McLellan

Throughout the entire Dieppe operation, 19 August 1942, this Warrant Officer’s coolness, steadiness and initiative were of invaluable assistance to his Company Commander [of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada]. His fine example contributed to the steadiness of his men. Under heavy fire he showed utter disregard for his own safety. During the withdrawal, his encouragement prevented a greater loss of men, and on the beach he worked untiringly under heavy fire assisting his Company Commander.

William Love Rankine "Buried Elsewhere in the Cemetery". Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery. (P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

William Love Rankine
“Buried Elsewhere in the Cemetery”.
Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2009)

Sergeant William Love Rankine
(Killed in Action)

In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe.

Private Kasmir Adam Baran

This soldier exceptional initiative and courage in locating and destroying enemy positions which were threatening to cut off his platoon during the rearguard action on the west bank of the River Scie during the operations in the Dieppe area, 19 August 1942. Throughout the operation his conduct was of the highest order, and his coolness and steadiness and total disregard of his own safety were a source of inspiration to his comrades.

Private William Cawson

This soldier displayed during the Dieppe action a constant coolness and daring that were an inspiration to the men of his company. When the withdrawal was ordered he remained behind with an officer, a Non-Commissioned Officer and another soldier to cover the retirement of his platoon. When ordered by the officer to withdraw he and another soldier, H.19411 Private Flett, R.W., moved to a flank and continually and effectively engaged the enemy while withdrawing. Through this action the platoon was saved from being surrounded. Private Cawson’s conduct was exceptionally meritorious throughout.

Private Charles Gordon Erickson

This soldier carried out his duty throughout the Dieppe action 19 August 1942 with outstanding courage. During the withdrawal from the beach he took a conspicuous part in the evacuation of the wounded to the boats. He repeatedly carried wounded soldiers across the beach under fire. The heavily-laden boats were then found to be unable to get clear in the shallow water. Heavy casualties were sustained at this point, and Private Erickson was wounded in the head while helping to push the boats clear. He refused to enter a boat until all casualties with him had been evacuated.

Private Roderick Lawrence Flett

The conduct of this soldier was of the highest order during the operations in the Dieppe area. When the withdrawal was ordered he remained behind with the platoon officer, Non-Commissioned Officer and another man to cover the withdrawal of the platoon. When ordered by the officer to retire, he and another soldier, H.19098 Private M. Cawson, moved to a flank and heavily engaged the enemy while withdrawing. Through this action the platoon was saved from being surrounded. Throughout the entire operation Private Flett’s cool courage and his offensive spirit were an inspiration to his comrades.

Private (Piper) Alexander Henry Graham

During the Dieppe raid, 19 August 1942, Private Graham was Piper for “B” Company, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Throughout the advance inland, and the withdrawal to the beach, and during the evacuation to the boats, Private Graham continued to play his pipes, providing a source of great inspiration to the men. At all times exposed to enemy fire, Private Graham displayed great courage and stamina.

Private Emiliene Hebert

Although wounded in the early stages of the raid on the French coast, 19 August 1942, this soldier subsequently displayed the greatest coolness and courage. On several occasions, disregarding his own danger, he disposed of snipers who threatened the advance. During fighting around one of the bridges of the River Scie, Private Hebert, although exposed to heavy enemy fire, inflicted heavy losses on the enemy by accurate shooting, and helped to prevent a flank attack which would have caused the loss of a piece of ground which was vital for our new troops. The conduct of this soldier at all times under fire was an example of daring, energy and offensive action.

Private Hugh Graham Livingston Hutton

Private Hutton inspired his fellow soldiers by his cheerfulness and coolness throughout the Dieppe action. On two different occasions when the advance of his section was held up by enemy snipers, this soldier dashed forward, cleared out the snipers and opened the way for the section to proceed. He repeatedly set his comrades an example of courage under heavy fire.

Private William James Morris
(Also awarded French Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Bronze for Pourville)

When the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada was ordered to withdraw to the beach during the Dieppe raid, 19 August 1942, Private Morris showed great initiative in manning the Boys anti-tank rifle under heavy machine gun and mortar fire. He engaged an enemy pill box which was causing heavy casualties to the battalion, this pill box having been by-passed on the initial assault earlier in the day. Changing his position repeatedly while fighting a single-handed duel with this post, Private Morris worked his way close enough to destroy it and allow the evacuation to continue. His conduct during the entire day’s fighting was exemplary. He was later taken prisoner while giving covering fire and enabling his wounded comrades to be evacuated on the last craft to leave the French coast.

Private Earl Lewis Ovens
(Later awarded the MM)

During the Dieppe action, 19 August 1942, this soldier fought cooly, efficiently, and with high courage. During the rearguard action following the advance inland, he carried a wounded man to safety under heavy machine gun fire. While the beach was being evacuated, Private Earl Ovens, lying in an exposed position engaged the enemy positions on the cliffs and covered the withdrawal of unit personnel. He showed outstanding devotion to duty and contributed materially to the successful evacuation of a large proportion of the battalion’s strength.

Private Stanley Edward Ryne

This soldier commanded a section of “C” Company during the raid on the Dieppe area 19 August 1942. At one point his section’s advance was held up by German snipers. Private Ryne went forward alone, and after crawling close to the snipers he rushed their position across open ground under fire and compelled them to surrender, thus allowing the advance to continue. His courage was a great inspiration to the men serving with him.

Private Stephen Skromeda
(Killed in Action)

In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe.

Private Sidney Frederick Sutton
(Killed in Action)

In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the combined attack on Dieppe.

French Croix de Guerre avec Etolie d’Argent

Captain James Alfred Turner
(Also MiD for Pourville)

Captain Turner was Adjutant of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada at Dieppe in August 1942 and displayed great gallantry under heavy enemy fire.

French Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Bronze

Private William James Morris
(Also MiD for Pourville)

For exceptional war service at Dieppe in August 1942 when he destroyed a pill box which was causing heavy casualties to his battalion.

French Croix de Guerre avec Palme

Captain Ross McNiven Campbell
(Also Mentioned in Despatches)

During the landing Captain Campbell was wounded in the lower part of the face and suffered considerable pain. His courage and disregard for his own personal danger while assisting Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt, VC, was observed by one officer in particular, Captain J. Runcie. Many instances of bravery were performed by Captain Campbell when rallying his men to assist Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt in the crossing of the bridge which was under heavy fire at the time. Several men were killed by Captain Campbell again rallied his men, crossed the bridge and got to their objective. Later, Captain Campbell was again wounded which put him out of the battle. He is now recovering and serving with the unit again.

Things as they ought to be…

Posted By on July 26, 2020

Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher Tietjens stands before the ancient cedar, the Groby Tree. (Parade's End Screenshot).

Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher Tietjens stands before the ancient cedar, the Groby Tree.
(Parade’s End Screenshot).

Complications and Anticipations

A chance encounter with the unfamiliar…a Sheffield Billiken lends itself for today’s discussion of the film series Parade’s End. Based on four books written by Ford Madox Ford the novels are: Some Do Not (1924), No More Parades (1925), A Man Could Stand Up (1926) and Last Post (1928). The tetralogy visits the life of Christopher Tietjens, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film series and though Billiken does not feature, Billiken, The God of Things as They Ought to Be surely must be present…Perhaps an earlier Totoro within the Tietjens’ Groby tree?

Canadian poet laureate Bliss Carman first wrote of the Billiken. (Wiki Image)

Canadian poet laureate Bliss Carman first wrote of Billiken in 1896.
(Wiki Image)

The word Billiken first appears in an 1896 poem by Canadian poet laureate Bliss Carman entitled Mr. Moon: A Song of the Little People. Some years later an American art teacher and illustrator, Florence Pretz, may have chosen Billiken, from Carman’s poem, to name a vision she saw in a dream. Pretz turned her vision into a design, established a patent on the work and in 1908 sold the design to the Billiken Company of Chicago. Although popular in America for a few years Billiken did not fade into obscurity but became enshrined in Japan before the Second World War.

Sheffield crested china figure depicting Billiken. Similar good luck charms include Fumsup (Touch Wood) and the Lincolnshire Imp.

Sheffield crested china figure depicting Billiken. Similar good luck charms include Fumsup (Touch Wood) and the Lincolnshire Imp.

A Billiken is a talisman of luck…buy one and Billiken brings the purchaser good luck, gift Billiken to someone and the recipient will enjoy even greater luck. Make a wish and rub Billiken’s feet…wish upon a star…drop coins into a fountain…always put the left shoe on first….luck, superstition it does not so much follow us…rather (perhaps) we seem to choose or suggest we have found it. Charms, talisman are important to people…they can be deeply rooted or fleeting…they create belief…and hope.

Ford Madox Ford has been described as the 20th Century's"greatest British novelist". (Wiki Image)

Ford Madox Ford has been described as the 20th Century’s “greatest British novelist”.
(Wiki Image)

The returning visual of the Tietjens family ancient and learned Groby tree…deeply rooted upon the family estate is filled with these charms. Perhaps the ancient tree’s charms…its tilting memories will reveal secrets and passions? Perhaps its charms will provide the Billiken dreams of Christopher, Sylvia, Valentine, and Mark, their friends, comrades and acquaintances as gentle winds taunt the Groby’s charms to motion…of things as they ought to be.

Medallion depicting St. Anthony, the saint of lost things. In Parade's End Sylvia tells Christopher, "I still wear my St. Anthony to...look after you...see." (Vatican image)

Medallion depicting St. Anthony, the saint of lost things.
In Parade’s End Sylvia tells Christopher,
“I still wear my St. Anthony to…look after you…see.”
(Vatican image)

Of the complications and anticipations in Christopher Tietjens’ time is the calamity of the Great War. Injured in an explosion on the Western Front Christopher, upon returning home to Sylvia, provides the descriptions of his horror of survival on the Western Front. There is no luck here…though Sylvia may clutch to her St. Anthony’s medallion…fire and demons come to mind… when she asks, “Would you mind telling me what actually happened to you?” After some disingenuous chatter between them Christopher begins as if a thousand stars away…

Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch) describing artillery fire.

“…you can’t possibly conceive of the quantity of explosives the armies throw at each other for each man killed…Shells make a continuous noise sometimes like…an enormous machine breaking apart…Other times…they come whistling towards you in a thoughtful sort of a way and then go crump and…the screwcap flies off hurtling through the air screaming…This one kind of shell…which comes with a crescendo like an express train only faster. Another kind which makes a noise like…tearing calico louder and louder…The largest kind are the ones which burst in the sky, make a double crack like…wet canvas being shaken out by a giant….Such immense explosions that kill such…small…weak animals.”

A German field gun, one of two located at Esquimalt Memorial Park. Both guns were captured by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. (P. Ferguson image, July 2020)

A German field gun, one of two located at Esquimalt Memorial Park.
Both guns were captured by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.
(P. Ferguson image, July 2020)

It is the complications and anticipations, the things that ought to be, that I enjoy with Parade’s End. I look forward to reading Ford Madox Ford’s books, to learn of his Groby. And with my interest in seemingly disparate connection – to have watched Parade’s End and to next having encountered Billiken – it must be…well…good fortune and good luck…the things as they ought to be…always the left shoe first.

In James Bay (Victoria), a cherry tree stands similar to the charms of the Groby Tree. Memories of a loved ones. Long may it stand. (P. Ferguson image, July 2020)

In James Bay (Victoria), a cherry tree stands similar to the charms of the Groby Tree.
Memories of a loved ones. Long may it stand.
(P. Ferguson image, July 2020)