AS VETERANS from the Dieppe Raid gathered to remember the historic event, local people flocked to shake their hands and thank them.
This was one of many moments which left an impression on Newhaven Mayor Graham Amy who attended the commemorations in Dieppe from August 18 to 20 and in Newhaven the week before.
He was joined by councillors, dignitaries and residents to mark the landmark 70th anniversary of the disastrous raid in 1942.
Cllr Amy said: “I felt both honoured and humbled to attend these very moving ceremonies and to pay respect to those who died 70 years ago.
“It was especially moving to witness the huge affection and gratitude felt by the inhabitants of Dieppe and the surrounding villages for the remaining veterans of the Second World War, most of whom are now in or approaching their nineties, who attended the ceremonies to remember their fallen comrades.
“Everywhere these veterans went, whether in wheelchairs or walking proudly upright despite their advanced age, people flocked to shake their hands and to say thank you. The ceremonies were impeccably organised by the Dieppe City Council – the logistical exercise involved must have been huge.
“I feel sure that no one who attended the commemorations will ever forget the experience – or the sacrifice of the young men who died in 1942.”
Cllr Amy attended nine ceremonies in Dieppe and in villages surrounding the town, laying wreaths on behalf of the town of Newhaven in remembrance of the young men who died.
Many of these young men from Newhaven and many of the wounded were returned there after the raid.
The commemorations were attended by dignitaries from Canada, France and Great Britain, including Prince Michael of Kent, who was attending in his role as the Colonel in Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment of Canada.
The event was also attended by the chairs of East Sussex County Council and Lewes District Council, the Mayor of Brighton, members of the Canadian Veterans Association of the UK, local branches of the Royal British Legion and by the Newhaven and Seaford Sea Cadets, who stood up to the punishing schedule of ceremonies extremely well and represented the young people of Seaford and Newhaven with honour.