2100 hrs

⁃    The convoy returns safely to Newhaven.

⁃    Doc Alexander wrote: “Oil, water and blood were over everything – it was an awful mess – one Tank, my Blitz and carrier along at the front of the boat. We brought up the rear of the Convoy being practically the last to leave the French coast, and thanks to Naval and Air Force protection, arrived safely in New Haven harbour, without further incident at about 9 p.m. And were taken to our berth by tugs and unloaded at 11:30 p.m.

⁃    “We started out with one hundred and seventeen Military men and thirteen Navel – we returned with thirty Military and three Naval men. Five of the returning Military men were slightly wounded, including myself. All of the three Naval men were wounded.

⁃    “We were the first to return to the Regiment, utterly exhausted. We knew that most of the Unit was still in France and it was not until the following morning that we learned that all of A-Squadron and three troops of B had not been able to land. They returned safely, but of all others who actually got ashore, or off the boat numbering in all – one hundred and seventy eight – we lost one hundred and seventy five. Three only, were returned to us, all wounded. We lost seventeen officers and one hundred and fifty eight men. A very large number of these we believe are prisoners. The Tanks stood up exceptionally well and did terrific damage to the Germans, but when out of ammunition, the fire on the beaches was so terrific that Landing Craft could not get in, to either bring ammunition to them, or to bring the Tanks out.

⁃    “The days following were full of gloom, but the spirit of the men was not dampened. We had succeeded in landing at an impossible point. Reinforcements immediately were sent and on the following Sunday, a full strength Bn attended a memorial service conducted by Capt. Smith who took the most fitting text ‘Greater love hat no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.’

⁃    “You will notice that I have said very little about the men on shore. I saw very little of them through the smoke. I have only attempted to tell you what I actually saw and know to be a fact. In this little story I shall not attempt to say what the objectives were or what was accomplished. All that in later years will no doubt be dealt with.”

-On Aug. 23 Doc Alexander is mistakenly reported as missing in action. His wife, Muriel, receives a telegram informing her that “Sincerely regret inform you Captain Laurence Guy Alexander officially reported missing in action stop further information follows when received.” She receives a second telegram the following day stating that “Captain LG Alexander previously reported missing in action now officially reported safe.”

⁃    Along with a wound to his left ankle, Doc Alexander returned from Dieppe with an injured tailbone and a cracked jaw.

⁃    Following Dieppe, Doc Alexander is awarded the Military Cross for devotion to duty. The citation reads: “As medical officer of the Calgary Regiment, Capt. L.G. Alexander performed outstanding service to his unit. Working under extremely heavy fire to which he was exposed on one occasion while attending to wounded personnel, he was blown overboard by the blast from a shell of heavy calibre. Fortunately he was not wounded and was able to regain the ship, where he continued to attend the large number of wounded. Maintenance of morale was aided in no small measure by his devotion to duty, and his efficiency in handling wounded was responsible for the preservation of many valuable lives.”

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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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