Canadian Dieppe Raid Veteran says it was supposed to be ‘just another drill’

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Canadian WWll hero David Hart with his wife Miriam and the author, Ellin Bessner, in Montreal in 2016. (Ellin Bessner photo)

In 2017, Canadian Jewish war hero David Hart and his wife travelled to Dieppe, France with Veterans Affairs Canada in August, to help mark the 75th anniversary of the 1942 Dieppe Raid.

I interviewed the then-99-year-old veteran in 2016 for my book “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWII” which came out in 2019.

Hart was on a landing craft just off the beach from Dieppe operating a radio wireless set. The then-Sergeant with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals was credited with saving 100 Canadian commandos, who hadn’t received the signal to retreat.

The message had been sent from the raid’s headquarters ship offshore, but they were too far away from the action. So Hart relayed the message and got through, amidst the murderous German gunfire on that terrible August day. Hart and his wife Miriam still lived in Montreal until their deaths (Hart died in 2019, in his 102nd year, while his widow died 10 months later, in January 2020.)

My book tells the Dieppe Raid story through Hart’s eye-witness recollections. Note the wartime photo of Hart in the background of the photo. His living room displayed his bravery citation when he won the Military Medal, which he picked up from the King at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in late 1942.

Watch this wartime newsreel of the medal event. You can see Hart, and his two brothers who were also in uniform, at about 8 minutes into the video.

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