Essex and Kent Scottish reservists off to Dieppe ceremonies in France

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Services that took place in Dieppe Gardens in Windsor in 2017 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid are shown in a file photo. (Meg Roberts/CBC - image credit)
Services that took place in Dieppe Gardens in Windsor in 2017 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid are shown in a file photo. (Meg Roberts/CBC - image credit)

On August 19, 1942, 553 members of the Essex Scottish Regiment took part in the ill-fated raid on Dieppe, France.

Only 51 returned. Twenty-seven were wounded. One hundred and twenty-one died in the raid, and the rest were taken prisoner.

This Friday marks the 80th anniversary of the raid. In addition to ceremonies at Dieppe Gardens in Windsor, two local members of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment, and one from Chatham-Kent, will be taking part in Canadian ceremonies in Dieppe, France.

"We have a small monument along the beaches where our unit took part in action there, so we're going to pay our respects there, say a few words, play a few piper's tunes and lay a bouquet of flowers," said Maj. Mitchell Colomba, a reservist who is the commander for Alpha Company with the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Windsor.

Bagpiper Cpl. Rhea Hodgins will be piping at the Canadian ceremony. Her normal duties involve playing the pipes for the Essex and Kent Scottish Pipes and Drums.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

"The main tune that I'll be playing is The Flowers of the Forest Lament. This lament is always played during services of remembrance, as it was written for the fallen soldiers," said Hodgins, 23, who has been with reserve for four years.

The ceremonies will take place at the Dieppe memorial, which is identical to the memorial in Windsor.

Each year on Aug. 19, the sun shines through the monuments to cast a maple leaf on the ground at exactly at 1 p.m., commemorating the end of the air bombardment during the battle.

"I think that it's very important that we have a presence out there in France, since so many of our soldiers fought and died over there, and I just think that it's always important to be a part of these ceremonies and remember the sacrifice that the soldiers had given for our freedom here today," said Hodgins.

"I feel very honoured to to be going to this site. This is the 80th anniversary, so it's a significant milestone, and I also think it's very important because we often take for granted the sacrifices our forefathers made.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

The Windsor-area contingent will also visit the Vimy memorial during the trip, as well as do some sight-seeing in Paris.