James Macgowan at the Toronto Star offers a review of David O'Keefe's One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe.
More than 71 years after 907 Canadians were cut down on the stony beaches of Dieppe during Operation Jubilee, Canadian historian David O’Keefe has produced a fast-paced and convincing book, One Day in August, that clears up decades of misinformation about the ignoble raid and should provide comfort for the few remaining survivors of that notorious massacre.
Over the years many historians have speculated about the purpose of the Allies’ August 19, 1942, raid on the French coastal town. Was it to relieve pressure on the Eastern front, where the Soviet Union was going it alone against the Nazis? Or was it a trial run for a European invasion? Perhaps it was Winston Churchill’s gift to his wife Clementine, who had once visited Dieppe and was very fond of the seaside resort. Just what was it the Allies were doing that day, when 250 ships carrying more than 6,000 troops — 5,000 of them Canadian, of which 68 per cent were either killed wounded or captured — and numerous tanks crossed the channel?
In 1995, O’Keefe began the process of finding out. While conducting research at the National Archives in Britain he came across a just-declassified file that contained a cryptic reference to something called the 30 Assault Unit, a commando group formed by none other than James Bond creator Ian Fleming. (Fleming, as O’Keefe discovered, was much closer to a Bond-like character than previously thought.) Further on, he spied another mystery: A 13-word sentence that read, “As regards captures, the party concerned at DIEPPE did not reach their objective.”
What party? What captures? What objective?
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read an excerpt from the book via the below link:
And you can read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Ian Fleming's wartime service and his creation of the 30 Assault Unit via the below link: