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Geology of the 19 August 1942 Canadian Raid on Dieppe

The Canadian Raid on Dieppe: August 19, 1942

Four Images follow.
  • A message from artist Selena Brewer about cover art for Nancy's novel "Shadows on St. Germain"
  • Front cover
  • Back cover
  • An overhead view of post WWII Dieppe beach, obtained from the web

During the 19 August 1942 raid, 27 Churchill tanks were disembarked. One advanced past the beach to the edge of the town. Others had one or both tracks disabled or broken because of slippage on the beach pebbles. The French call the slippery pebbles "galets". In English they are shingles. It is a shingle beach. All of the crew members of the 27 tanks were killed.

I, Glenn Bowie, was born in an eastend suburb of Toronto in 1932. I remember skipping stones on the shore of Lake Ontario. Shingle beach properties were known widely.

Why were Churchill tanks not used on Canadian shingle beaches before the raid on Dieppe?

The cliffs of Dover, England, are directly across the English Channel from those at Dieppe, Normandy, in a N-S direction. I have seen reference to those at Dover as being Cretaceous chalk. Near the end of WWII, a plaintiff song sung by Vera Lynn was often played on the radio. The title: "There'll be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover".

The sea cliff you see here was near a community called Varengeville. We are at the site of a gap in the cliff.

I did not know I was being observed when I took this photo. I used our Olympus OM-1 camera with 35 mm slide film. I then used our Olympus ES-10 film scanner to obtain the above cliff images.

My wife Nancy and I visited Dieppe in 1979 and 1984 to obtain background information for Nancy to write her novel. Nancy used "Shadows On St. Germain" as a fictional name for the Varengeville community.

The cliffs along the Normandy coast are carbonates. They were formed by solidification of deposits formed in a marine environment. They share that history with rocks that cap the bluffs along Highway 61 from Red Wing to Winona.

Have you seen a shingle beach on public property along the shore of Lake Pepin? If not, try to visit the north shore of Lake Superior near Naniboujou Lodge. You will find a shingle beach there. Be sure to skip some stones.

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