The 2020 Royal Hamilton Light Infantry commemoration of the World War 2 Raid on Dieppe will take place at 7 p.m. August 19th without the traditional public observance in Dieppe Veteran’s Memorial Park, due to the COVID pandemic.
Instead, the City of Hamilton with the Hamilton Veterans Committee and the RHLI Veterans Association will conduct a restricted ceremony at the park, marking the 78th anniversary of the ill-fated raid. A live feed from the park will be available on Cable 14 and on-line as the restricted-attendance service takes place within COVID guidelines. Members of the public can connect to: www.cable14now.com.
To limit park use, the event will take place this year in conjunction with the North Wall Riders Association, which will hold their annual Dieppe candlelight service immediately after.
A special guest will take part in the service, health permitting. Douglas Rickard of Burlington, now 102, was a member of the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals and took part in the Dieppe Raid aboard a Tank Landing Craft. His job was to listen for radio signals from the beach at Dieppe and pass on the messages, including those from The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. He survived the battle despite his ship being shelled and attacked by enemy aircraft, and served the remainder of the war in a variety of roles.
It was 78 years ago, on August 19th, 1942, when nearly 600 Hamilton and area soldiers from the RHLI landed at Dieppe as part of the largest raid of World War Two. It involved more than 6,000 Allied soldiers, sailors and aircrew, most of them Canadian.
582 members of the RHLI went ashore. 197 were killed on the raid and 174, including 85 wounded, became prisoners of war. Only 211 returned to England, 109 of them wounded. More than 1,000 soldiers, sailors and aircrew were killed overall during the raid.