"Warm greetings and welcome home to all of you who joined us on this memorable tour we just shared together this month. Your presence on this very special occasion honouring the men who fought so bravely on the Dieppe beaches 75 years ago was immensely appreciated.
Your family attachment to this tragic day in Canadian history was truly something to behold. Never have we had such a group so dedicated to a subject so dear to their hearts. The Dieppe raid your relatives fought in was conducted in a difficult location during a difficult time in the war. Nevertheless, they did not falter. Answering the call to arms as volunteers, they proudly marched off to war without concern for their well being to preserve the freedom we enjoy in this exact moment.
Former 17th century Irish Statesmen Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men to do nothing”; your relatives sacrificed everything to insure this didn’t happen, and because of that we honour each and every one of them forever.
Our journey together had many highlights with a wide range of emotions. To tell someone after arriving home your experiences can be difficult to convey to another. Seeing the undisturbed battlefields of Vimy and Beaumont Hamel with your own eyes for the first time is breathtaking. The beautiful rolling fields of Flanders look so peaceful today, but they hold a dark and deadly past dotted by hundreds of cemeteries reminding one of the carnage that reigned 100 years ago. But perhaps... no words can describe the feeling one gets when standing on the rocky shores of Green, Red, White and Blue beach in Pourville, Dieppe and Puys respectively. To be there as a Canadian imagining the horror of war your family members experienced firsthand that dreadful day on August 19th, 1942 leaves one grasping to find words that can truly explain how it feels inside yourself. I personally find the words grateful, proud and honoured to be a few to describe it. Grateful for my freedom, proud to say I’m Canadian like they are, and honoured to have been there with all of you, remembering all of them.
We truly walked in the footsteps of your family members, perhaps the greatest act of remembrance we can offer to them. In designing a tour such as this it takes many planned steps with hard work being the consistent factor to insure its success. This hard work was provided but not just us but equally yourselves. The foresight and drive Jayne Poolton-Turvey provided is inspiring. Her dedication to her father’s service and all those who served around him cannot be matched. The men of Blue Beach and all others on the Dieppe Raid is her passion and giving a huge thank you to Jayne seems hardly enough. We all greatly appreciated her efforts leading up to and during this momentous occasion.
Many others shared stories and information known to few about their loved ones in uniform. This added greatly to our understanding of these men before, during, and after the raid. For those whose voices cannot be heard and laid down their lives that day in the war are now peacefully resting in the Canadian War Cemetery in Dieppe and Brookwood and listed on the Brookwood Memorial for us to cherish in memory forever.
In closing I would like to thank my colleagues Samantha Cowan and her father Ian Cowan for their constant hard work, experience and the professionalism they take on to bring tours of this magnitude to the forefront. I consider myself fortunate to be working alongside them, sharing our passion for this subject together.
I would also like to express my gratitude to each and every one of you. Anyone, at anytime, is free to go alone to where we just visited but to do it embraced together as we did is truly special and can’t be forgotten. Thank you for your valued presence and may we all spread the message of remembrance as we journey forward.
Ne l’oublions pas, Lest we forget.
Glenn Edmonds has been an active member in the Battlefield Tours team for more than a decade. A Lead Battlefield Guide for the Battlefield Tours of Canada since 2003, Glenn has been working alongside our team, leading and managing tours to France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and beyond - providing an exceptional connection between our Canadian heritage and the destinations we explore. Glenn’s professionalism and keen insight for the Canadian history in the First & Second World Wars is balanced by his experience, enthusiasm and passion in his orientations, showing a deep understanding for the destinations and histories we uncover. It was an absolute honour to have him assist and guide our Every Man Remembered Dieppe 75 Pilgrimage Tours in August 2017. For more, please visit us:
The Battlefield Tours of Canada