1 oz. Pure Silver Coin – Second World War Battlefront: The Battle of Dieppe (2017)
On the 19th of August 1942
on the beaches of Dieppe
our Canadian cousins
marked with their blood
the road to our final liberation
foretelling thus their victorious return
on September 1, 1944.
– Translation of the inscription on the Dieppe-Canada Monument in Dieppe, France.
On the morning of August 19, 1942, the Allies launched “Operation Jubilee” in an attempt to gain a temporary foothold in Occupied Europe. The planned raid on the French port town of Dieppe was to be Canada’s first army offensive in Europe, with nearly 5,000 Canadians forming the main ground assault force. But coastal defences were strong, and manned by an enemy on a heightened state of alert because of moon and tides, both in the town and on the cliffs overlooking the landing sites. Coming under heavy fire, the landing force suffered the Canadian Army’s heaviest single-day losses of the Second World War, with 3,350 casualties out of a contingent of 4,963—including an estimated 1,950 who were taken prisoner.
A poignant addition to your military-themed coin display. Order your commemorative coin today.
- A HEARTFELT TRIBUTE TO THE VALOROUS SPIRIT OF CANADIANS: History remembers the Dieppe Raid for hard military lessons learned at a great cost. Your pure silver coin pays a heartfelt tribute to the valorous spirit of Canadians who bravely fought on the beaches and in the skies, and their acts of heroism against all odds.
- COMMEMORATES CANADA’S ROLE IN KEY BATTLES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR: Your coin is a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, where Canadians played a foremost role in an ill-fated attack on the enemy’s coastal defences in Occupied France.
- FINE DETAILS: Your coin is struck with fine details which showcase the Royal Canadian Mint’s world-class artistry and skillful engraving.
- FEATURES A FIRST-PERSON PERSPECTIVE: Your commemorative coin features a first-person perspective of the landing at White Beach.
- INCLUDES SERIALIZED CERTIFICATE: The Royal Canadian Mint certifies all of its collector coins. Most of these are serialized certifications, meaning that each certificate is given a unique number, starting at 1.
- EFFIGY OF KING GEORGE VI: Your coin features the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget.
- 1-OUNCE 99.99% PURE SILVER COIN: Your coin has no GST/HST!
Designed by Canadian artist Alan Daniel, your coin uses a first-person perspective to bring the viewer into the midst of the action on the fateful morning of August 19, 1942. Disembarking from the landing craft, the soldiers of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry rush onto the main beach area (dubbed “White Beach”) during the frontal assault on the occupied French town of Dieppe. In the engraved background is the well-fortified casino—this becomes a focal point for the Canadians, who must struggle up the rocky beach and pass two lines of razor wire while under relentless enemy fire. In the distant sky, the bombers and fighter planes of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force are faintly seen as they engage enemy aircraft to support the ground assault. The intensity of the fight and the barrage of fire are visible in the explosions along the seawall, and in the tense expression on the face of the soldier in the foreground. Clutching his Lee Enfield rifle in one hand, this brave Canadian rushes into action but briefly turns his head towards the viewer, urging us to press forward and join the fray. The obverse features the effigy of King George VI by
T. H. Paget.
- There is a long historical association between Canada and Dieppe, which was the departing point for many of the ships bound for New France.
- The plan for the raid was originally known as “Operation Rutter,” and was due to take place during the first week of July. Poor weather conditions forced its cancellation, but the plan was revived under a different code name.
- There was some success: the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry managed to clear the fortified Dieppe Casino and enter the town, while the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada had made progress in the west before they were stopped by enemy resistance.
- The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry—and by extension, the region of Hamilton, Ontario—suffered heavy losses at Dieppe: out of 582 soldiers, 197 were killed and 175 became prisoners of war (POWs).
- More Canadians were taken prisoner at Dieppe than in either the Italian Campaign or the campaign through Northwest Europe at the war’s end.
- Two Canadians at Dieppe were awarded the Victoria Cross: Honorary Captain J. W. Foote of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, the Regiment’s padre, and Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. I. Merritt of the South Saskatchewan Regiment. Both were taken prisoners.
- Out of nearly 600 soldiers sent to Dieppe, only 65 members of the Royal Regiment of Canada made the return journey to Britain.
- The Allied plan called for several attacks at different points along a 16-kilometre stretch of beach. The Royal Regiment of Canada would storm “Blue Beach” (Puys) in the east and capture the headland overlooking Dieppe harbour, while the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Cameron Highlanders of Canada were to land at “Green Beach” (Pourville) in order to secure the airfield and the West headland. A half hour later, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, the Essex Scottish, the Fusiliers Mont-Royal and the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment (Calgary Regiment) would assault “Red Beach” and “White Beach” at the town itself.
- From the beginning, nothing seemed to go as planned. The element of surprise was key to the attack, but surprise was lost when some of the 237-ship convoy unexpectedly encountered a German coastal convoy. The ensuing battle at sea alerted coastal defences on the eastern flank and the Germans there who were already on routine alert and remained in their firing positions when the first Canadians landed just after 5 a.m. Many Canadians never made it past the heavy wire obstacle on the beach; under a hail of enemy bullets, shrapnel and mortar fire, most struggled to push beyond the beaches to meet their objectives.
- In addition, delays meant that much of the attacking force lost the cover of darkness. Radio communications proved to be poor, which meant senior officers on board the ships had limited knowledge of the tragedy unfolding on the beach. Tanks proved to be ill-equipped for the rocky beach and seawall, but still provided support for the ground attack. The news was also grim in the skies, where the Royal Air Force (RAF) suffered its heaviest single-day losses of the war (106 aircraft), while the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) lost 13 of its aircraft.
- The call to withdraw came in the afternoon. The Royal Navy helped rescue hundreds of soldiers, thanks in part to the rear-guard actions of some Canadian soldiers; but those who were unable to reach the boats returning to Britain were forced to surrender, including 1,946 Canadians who became prisoners of war.
- The legacy of the Dieppe Raid is a conflicting one. To some, the heavy cost for little gained makes it an ill-fated or ill-conceived military debacle; to others, the lessons learned at Dieppe were essential to later victories along the coasts of North Africa and Italy, and in one of the biggest turning points in history: D-Day.
Your coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with a graphic beauty box.
- No. 147819
- Mintage 7,500
- Composition 99.99% pure silver
- Finish proof
- Weight (g) 31.39
- Diameter (mm) 38
- Edge serrated
- Certificate serialized
- Face value 20 dollars
- Artist Alan Daniel (reverse), T. H. Paget (obverse)
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