Sept. 12 — A really wonderful reception at Fort William. Went to bed early and was roused in Winnipeg by Harry Chittick and Sheldon Buckles. I had a grand visit. Harry brought me a beautiful bottle of Scotch, so Art Beauchamp, Donald, Ken House, Jim Greenwood and myself had a nice little farewell party.
Sept. 13 — Today is the day. We are sitting in Moose Jaw station, having just finished a grand breakfast. Tonight somewhere between 8 P.M. and 10 P.M. we will land in Calgary. Today will be the longest day of my life. Everybody is very excited and this train cannot go nearly fast enough.
Sept. 9 — The last few days nothing of special interest has occurred. The sailing has been smooth. Last night was very foggy and wet but not rough. At 1:10 P.M. land was sighted and at 3:30 P.M. we docked in Halifax harbour. Sunday afternoon — everybody out. Cars strung along the docks and pleasure boats in harbour. A brass band came out in a boat to meet us. A Pipe Band was on the dock. We are now waiting to disembark. The Halifax draft goes off first, then at 7:30 P.M. we follow. Met Eva Waymark on board this morning. We will be heading towards Calgary some time this evening. I cannot realize it — but on Thursday I hope my wanderings will be over. At 6:30 P.M. we disembarked and got aboard our special train. Every coach is a 1st Class coach. I believe it will be a grand trip across Canada.
Sept. 10 — we pull out of Halifax at 8:30 P.M. — Sunday night, Sept. 9. While we were eating breakfast we passed our old home at Fredericton Jct. Had a good luck at the house and at the Jct. itself. Sent a wire home from McAdam Jct. 7 P.M. we are just pulling out from Megantic Jct. now. Latest rumour is that we will land in Calgary Thursday night at 10 P.M. The meals are excellent.
Sept. 11 — 3:40 P.M. Just pulled into Sudbury, but as it is raining cats and dogs, will stay in the car. This morning Chalk River to North Bay, I rode in the cupola of the caboose. There was a grand view from there. We should hit the Great Lakes in two or three hours.
Sept. 5/6 — Nothing of interest. The water is beautiful, the ship is very steady, the food is good. We are very crowded but not awfully uncomfortable.
Sept. 1 — Our orders are in we leave here at 8:45 p.m. on Monday Sept. 3 and entrain at North Farnborough for Southampton, where we immediately embark on “New Amsterdam” and sail on Tuesday morning Sept. 4, for, we believe, Montreal.
That should get us home by the 15 Sept.
Sept. 2 — Spent the greater part of the day with Wynne and her friend. Tomorrow is the big day — the start of long looked for journey.
Sept. 3 — It is now after four o’clock in the afternoon. Our heavy baggage has gone, our bags are packed. We are all ready now to eat at 5 p.m. and then fall in at 7:45 ready to move off to Farnborough. It has been raining very heavily but now the sun is out so we hope that is a sign of a good trip. It seems queer leaving England after all this time, but seems wonderful to be actually going home. This is a very fitting anniversary of the start of the war. We had to draw mess tins and knife, fork and spoon today, so we are expecting a pretty tough crossing. Saw Lieut. Dibb today, he is remaining in England for awhile as his wife and baby are here. No more mail now until I reach home.
We lined up on Main Parade Ground at 7:30 P.M. Hans Geggie arrived shortly after. He had landed in London and heard I was here so came down for a visit. I was certainly delighted to see him. Both he and Ronnie are on draft for Canada, which pleases me a very great deal.
We got on the train at Farnborough North. Jim was O.C. train, so he and Ken took one compartment and George Eckenfelde and I took another. We arrived in Southampton at midnight.
Sept. 4 — At 12:30 A.M. we embarked on board the New Amsterdam, a very nice and large ship. I am in a cabin with eight others, but although somewhat crowded it is o.k. We eat in four sittings — ours is 0700 hrs for breakfast, and 1700 hrs for dinner. Only two meals a day. We pulled out from Southampton at 10:20, to the strains of “Auld Lang Syne” played by the RCAF Band.
Aug. 22 — Attended St. James Theatre in the evening. Saw Emlyn Williams in “The Wings of Heaven”. Prime Minister Atlee was also present.
Aug. 23 — Just starting for Guildford to spend the day with Wynne. Arrived there about noon, so we went out to lunch, then bought the song “I’ll Walk Beside You” and came back and played it and sang it — then Wynne started sewing flashes for me — making a wonderful job. Hope to get my battle suit blouses over next wee for her to do them too. Caught a 10:28 train from Guildford and arrived in Waterloo at 11:30, then underground to Victoria and then home to bed.
Aug. 24 — Very dull wet day, have really done nothing all day but write letters and lied around Will try and and go out to a picture show or something tonight.
Aug. 25 — Met Pat Cameron outside the house and to my surprise she told me Timmy was home and took me to their flat. Had lunch with Mrs Harrison and her sister and Timmy and Pat. He may be coming back on the same draft with me. Am just starting off to the Ambassador Theatre to see “Sweeter and Lower”.
Aug. 26 — Saw the show last night but did not think it was very good. This is Sunday, a most monotonous day. I went for a long bus ride on the top of one of these London buses this afternoon. Will be going back to Camp on Tuesday morning. I certainly hope we are not kept there long, as those Camps are really deadly.
Aug. 27 — Went to a picture show — “I’ll Walk Beside You” at Odeon Theatre. Very good music.
Aug. 28 — Caught a train at Waterloo and arrived back in Camp to find that our draft was to hold itself available for leaving on Aug. 31.
Aug. 21 — Arrived in London and was fortunate enough to get a room in the Legion Club. Will probably take in a few shows and pass the time that way.
Aug. 19 — Three years ago — Dieppe.
Today I went over to Guildford and spent the day with Wynne and her sister May. Had a very nice time. Tonight have been busy sewing on ribbons.
As it is the 73rd anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, I’ve included the story I wrote about Doc Alexander’s experience—and that of his commanding officer in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Lt.-Col. K. Hunter—on Tank Landing Craft No. 8 during the raid and a 2012 story Carrie Tait of the Globe & Mail wrote about my grandfather.
Alex’s full Dieppe journal can be found here. After clicking the link, scroll down to Aug. 19, 1942 (or earlier if you choose) and then begin working upwards to read a play-by-play of Alex’s experience during the raid.