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15 October 2014
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"Dieppe Day" by Jean Siney (nee Rigden)

by Stockport Libraries

Contributed by 
Stockport Libraries
People in story: 
Jean Rigden
Location of story: 
Felpham, Sussex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A2795673
Contributed on: 
30 June 2004

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Elizabeth Perez of Stockport Libraries on behalf of Jean Siney and has been added to the site with her permission. She fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

We lived in Felpham, a coastal village in Sussex, having evacuated ourselves from just outside London. Although not having to endure the Blitz, we were nevertheless on the front line for reprisal bombing. One of these bombings took place on "Dieppe Day" 19 August 1942.

The Dieppe assault was fronted by the Canadians, many of whom were camped near us in Sussex. The raid was meant to be a trial run for D Day and to make the Germans believe that the invasion would take place at Dieppe.

On the day, my Mother decided to let us have a rounders' party. Several girls were invited. The game had started, when we realised we were being bombarded with leaflets. These showed that the raid had been a failure, as indeed it had, and showed many Canadians dead or being led away to captivity.

My Mother called us in and we spent the rest of the day under the dining-room table. It then began to rain, my mother's
concern switched from our safety to the dangers of getting wet My Godfather sent his maid to collect his children and she arrived with his tin hat on, which swamped her. So a friend and I were despatched on our bicylces to collect raincoats from our friends' houses. We set off and had not gone far, before a German fighter flew over machine-gunning us - we sheltered in a ditch. Once the plane had flown over, we went on our way and collected the raoncoats. Needless to state, the roads were deserted. When we returned with the raincoats, my Mother wondered why we had taken so long.

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Message 1 - Re: "Dieppe Day" by Jean Siney (nee Rigden)

Posted on: 02 July 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Jean,

I very much enjoyed reading your story and your account of the Canadian troops near your home.

Could I respectfully correct one thing? You say that "The raid was meant to be a trial run for D Day and to make the Germans believe that the invasion would take place at Dieppe." This, however, was not the case.

The Dieppe raid on 19 August 1942 was made at the instigation of Lord Mountbatten, primarily to demonstrate to the Russians that the Allies had the intention and the ability to invade France. In this it failed utterly. It demonstrated that operation Sledgehammer (the forerunner of Overlord) was clearly not feasible in 1942 and demonstrated to both sides, in stark terms, the Allied lack of preparation for a Second Front. As Carlo D'Este puts it "The most telling consequence of Dieppe was further to disuade Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff from any commitment to cross-Channel operations, a view which was certainly correct at the time."

Regards,

Peter

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Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Sussex Category
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