A pilgrimage

Dieppe Travel Blog

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Canadian War Cemetary

On Wednesday, June 7, we left London to travel to France. Unfortunately, this required us to get up at 3:50 in the morning to catch our train to Newhaven. From Newhaven, we took the ferry ride to Normandy. Emma had never seen a ferry so big and was very excited. Being so tired from the early rise, we had a nap once we departed and missed the breakfast service. Four hours later (plus one hour from the time zone change), we arrived in France, at the port of Dieppe.

Dieppe is famous for its beaches, but we were mainly here for another reason: the Canadian War Cemetary. In August 1942, the Allies (mainly Canadian forces) made their first attempt to retake Europe from here. Sadly, the battle did not go in their favour and over 900 Canadians died as a result.

Hanging out in Dieppe
After the town was liberated in 1944, a cemetary was created for their final resting place. Emma and I made the pilgrimage to the cemetary, which was a short walk south of the town. The site, located in a tranquil field and brushed by gentle breezes, was simple but beautifully maintained. Among the large number of Canadians buried there (many of them very young), there were also some British, Free French, Polish, and New Zealanders. Most of the headstones contained short inscriptions, brief messages from family or friends. Many only contained the words "Soldier of the 1939-1945 war, Known unto God." I found it to be a very sad place.

Although it was quite sad, we were pleased to have visted the cemetary. Fortunately, the rest of our time in Dieppe was much happier. We went for walks along the beautiful cliffs and explored their ominous fortifications. We sat in the grass and enjoyed a baguette and a piece of heart-shaped cheese. We watched the fishermen on the pier and ate freshly caught fish from the English Channel. We ate crèpes and went for a swim in the water (actually the water was freezing and only Emma was brave enough to go all the way in). To top it all off, we sat on the beach and watched the sunset over the channel.

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Canadian War Cemetary
Canadian War Cemetary
Hanging out in Dieppe
Hanging out in Dieppe
Sunset in France
Sunset in France
Dieppe
photo by: coolguy