Sharing a simple story

Inside the Dieppe theatre which has been preserved as a memorial museum to Canadians soldiers.

In October 2014 my husband and I toured former battle sites of World War I and II in northwestern France and Belgium. It was a trip that touched us beyond description. A dear family friend, long since deceased, had been a veteran of The Battle of the Somme as a teenager in World War I and my own family includes many veterans of World War II including my uncle, Jack Glenn, who was a prisoner of war in Japan for nearly four years after being captured in Hong Kong on Christmas Day in 1941. Two thousand young Canadians were offered as cannon fodder that day in a futile display of defending the territory against 10,000 Japanese.

The following year, in August 1942, another six thousand brave, young Canadians were dispatched on another ill-fated mission to Dieppe in France. More than nine hundred were killed, and two thousand taken prisoner. When we were in Dieppe in 2014, we walked the route those Canadian soldiers followed after they landed on shore. Some reached a theatre across the road from the beach. That theatre, long ago abandoned, has been lovingly preserved as a memorial and museum to those young Canadians. A special guide and historian came in at 8:00 a.m. the day we were there to give us a detailed account of the day. The museum is full of memorabilia, uniforms and equipment from that terrible day.

Edwin Bennett of the Calgary Tank Regiment meets the angel in 1982 who intervened on his behalf in 1942. From a picture posted in the museum.

One of the stories our presenter related is about a wounded Canadian soldier named Edwin Bennett. He had been blinded in one eye and was about to be dismissed as being beyond help by a German doctor. But a young French nurse by the name of Sister Agnès-Marie Valois, who later became known as ‘the white angel’ insisted he be treated. Bennett remembered the voice of the young nun who had intervened.

In 1982, for the fortieth anniversary of the Dieppe raid, some of those same soldiers returned to France for a commemoration ceremony. Sister Agnès-Marie was in attendance that day and her voice was once again recognized by Mr. Bennett, forty years later. It was an emotional reunion of the former nurse and the old soldier.  I read in today’s Globe and Mail that Sister Agnès-Marie Valois passed away at the age of 103. R.I.P.

This symbol created for the fiftieth anniversary of the Dieppe raid left an indelible impression on me.

When we visited the battle sites and particularly at Juno Beach and Dieppe, we were struck by the proliferation of Canadian flags and memorials that are still highly visible and on display even today. Take a few minutes to think of the young men you know, perhaps your grandchildren who are 19, 20 or 23 years old. That’s the age of thousands of young Canadians who went to Europe during both wars to protect the values and freedom we now take for granted.

Merci beaucoup à eux tous.

 

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Ronald Cormier
Ronald Cormier
2 years ago

The Dieppe Military Veterans has created a virtual memorial to Sister Agnès Marie Valois.
The link is http://sister-agnes-valois.virtual-memorials.com/

Lynda Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Ronald Cormier

Merci beaucoup!

Lynda Davis Follow my blog at: http://www.boomerbroadcast.net Social commentary on life from a Boomer Broad’s perspective e-mail: lyndadavis1@yahoo.ca

For further insights into the Boomer perspective on business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link: http://www.lulu.com  or http://www.amazon.com

Ronald Cormier
Ronald Cormier
2 years ago

The photo is not of Roland Laurendeau. It is of Edwin Bennett of the Calgary Tank Regiment who was blinded while coming off his landing craft in his tank. Sister Agnès convinced the German surgeon at the hospital in Rouen to try to save his eyesight. His sight was saved in one eye. All the time Edwin Bennett was in hospital, he never saw the nurse who took care of him. He recognized her voice when presented to her at a reception in Dieppe, France, in 1982, the 40th anniversary of the raid. I met Edwin and his family in… Read more »

Lynda Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Ronald Cormier

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you bringing to my attention the errors in my recent post about the Dieppe Raid, Sharing a Simple Story. I have made the corrections you noted and hope I’ve done justice to the story. Thanks so much for taking the time to contact me – and I hope you stay tuned in to Boomerbroadcast. Merci beaucoup! Lynda Davis Follow my blog at: http://www.boomerbroadcast.net Social commentary on life from a Boomer Broad’s perspective e-mail: lyndadavis1@yahoo.ca For further insights into the Boomer perspective on business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast.… Read more »

MaryAnne
MaryAnne
2 years ago

Excellent post

Lynda Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnne

Merci beaucoup!

Lynda Davis Follow my blog at: http://www.boomerbroadcast.net Social commentary on life from a Boomer Broad’s perspective e-mail: lyndadavis1@yahoo.ca

For further insights into the Boomer perspective on business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link: http://www.lulu.com  or http://www.amazon.com

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

Nice story .
You will be home soon
Love Shirley