Poignant vigil recalls Dieppe Raid

News Aug 19, 2015 by Daniel Nolan The Hamilton Spectator

Three surviving veterans from the disastrous 1942 Dieppe Raid took centre stage Tuesday night at the annual candlelight vigil organized by a motorcycle club that supports veterans.

It is always an emotional time staged by the North Wall Riders Association at The Dieppe Veterans' Memorial Park on Beach Boulevard, but the presence of Ken Curry, 93, of Victoria, B.C., Fred Engelbrecht, 95, and Jack McFarland, 94, both of Hamilton, brought that keenness to the ceremony.

It was 73 years ago that nearly 600 members of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry landed on the beach of the French coastal town in a raid that was launched to shake up the Germans and ease pressure on the Russians.

A recent history also suggests a secondary role of trying to capture the German code machine Enigma.

This is a year for anniversaries of the Second World War — the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bombing. The 80th anniversaries are certain to look different, with possibly non veterans around to remember those days.

About 200 members of the Rileys were killed in the attack, called Operation Jubilee and overseen by Lord Louis Mountbatten. Another 174 were captured and spent the remainder of the war as PoWs, including Curry, Engelbrecht and McFarland.

The vigil attracted about 100 people and involved the reading of all of the Rileys who took part in the raid. Candles were lit and spread on the number 73, which was laid out on the ground in front of the three veterans.

Gary Bulmer, 70, came to pay respects to his uncle Herbert Spring, who was killed on the beach. He was 23. Bulmer said Spring has "never" been forgotten by his family, but he worried "kids did not appreciate he gave up his life so they could enjoy what they do today."

Many people came over to speak softly to the three veterans, shake their hands and get their pictures taken with them.

Curry's wife Norma, 92, pulled a Spectator reporter aside and wanted to point out the three veterans were all survivors of terrible years in a German prison camp.

"It must be God," she said.

McFarland said he couldn't remember exactly what he was doing 70 years ago on the night before the raid, but said, "I was hoping to get home, but I didn't."

He remembered crossing the English Channel on August 19 to Dieppe. "Of course, the Germans knew we were coming and gave us a welcome," he said.

A special moment came when North Wall president Keven Ellis thanked Curry for saving the life of his second-cousin, Herbert Phillip Shrubsall. Ellis said he didn't find out until recently that Curry had helped get Shrubsall aboard a ship and back to England after the raid collapsed. There were tears on both men's faces when Ellis and Curry spoke about it. Shrubsall was killed in France in August, 1944 at the age of 23.

"You are a hero," Ellis told Curry.

dnolan@thespec.com

905-526-3351 | @dandundas

Poignant vigil recalls Dieppe Raid

News Aug 19, 2015 by Daniel Nolan The Hamilton Spectator

Three surviving veterans from the disastrous 1942 Dieppe Raid took centre stage Tuesday night at the annual candlelight vigil organized by a motorcycle club that supports veterans.

It is always an emotional time staged by the North Wall Riders Association at The Dieppe Veterans' Memorial Park on Beach Boulevard, but the presence of Ken Curry, 93, of Victoria, B.C., Fred Engelbrecht, 95, and Jack McFarland, 94, both of Hamilton, brought that keenness to the ceremony.

It was 73 years ago that nearly 600 members of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry landed on the beach of the French coastal town in a raid that was launched to shake up the Germans and ease pressure on the Russians.

A recent history also suggests a secondary role of trying to capture the German code machine Enigma.

This is a year for anniversaries of the Second World War — the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bombing. The 80th anniversaries are certain to look different, with possibly non veterans around to remember those days.

About 200 members of the Rileys were killed in the attack, called Operation Jubilee and overseen by Lord Louis Mountbatten. Another 174 were captured and spent the remainder of the war as PoWs, including Curry, Engelbrecht and McFarland.

The vigil attracted about 100 people and involved the reading of all of the Rileys who took part in the raid. Candles were lit and spread on the number 73, which was laid out on the ground in front of the three veterans.

Gary Bulmer, 70, came to pay respects to his uncle Herbert Spring, who was killed on the beach. He was 23. Bulmer said Spring has "never" been forgotten by his family, but he worried "kids did not appreciate he gave up his life so they could enjoy what they do today."

Many people came over to speak softly to the three veterans, shake their hands and get their pictures taken with them.

Curry's wife Norma, 92, pulled a Spectator reporter aside and wanted to point out the three veterans were all survivors of terrible years in a German prison camp.

"It must be God," she said.

McFarland said he couldn't remember exactly what he was doing 70 years ago on the night before the raid, but said, "I was hoping to get home, but I didn't."

He remembered crossing the English Channel on August 19 to Dieppe. "Of course, the Germans knew we were coming and gave us a welcome," he said.

A special moment came when North Wall president Keven Ellis thanked Curry for saving the life of his second-cousin, Herbert Phillip Shrubsall. Ellis said he didn't find out until recently that Curry had helped get Shrubsall aboard a ship and back to England after the raid collapsed. There were tears on both men's faces when Ellis and Curry spoke about it. Shrubsall was killed in France in August, 1944 at the age of 23.

"You are a hero," Ellis told Curry.

dnolan@thespec.com

905-526-3351 | @dandundas

Poignant vigil recalls Dieppe Raid

News Aug 19, 2015 by Daniel Nolan The Hamilton Spectator

Three surviving veterans from the disastrous 1942 Dieppe Raid took centre stage Tuesday night at the annual candlelight vigil organized by a motorcycle club that supports veterans.

It is always an emotional time staged by the North Wall Riders Association at The Dieppe Veterans' Memorial Park on Beach Boulevard, but the presence of Ken Curry, 93, of Victoria, B.C., Fred Engelbrecht, 95, and Jack McFarland, 94, both of Hamilton, brought that keenness to the ceremony.

It was 73 years ago that nearly 600 members of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry landed on the beach of the French coastal town in a raid that was launched to shake up the Germans and ease pressure on the Russians.

A recent history also suggests a secondary role of trying to capture the German code machine Enigma.

This is a year for anniversaries of the Second World War — the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bombing. The 80th anniversaries are certain to look different, with possibly non veterans around to remember those days.

About 200 members of the Rileys were killed in the attack, called Operation Jubilee and overseen by Lord Louis Mountbatten. Another 174 were captured and spent the remainder of the war as PoWs, including Curry, Engelbrecht and McFarland.

The vigil attracted about 100 people and involved the reading of all of the Rileys who took part in the raid. Candles were lit and spread on the number 73, which was laid out on the ground in front of the three veterans.

Gary Bulmer, 70, came to pay respects to his uncle Herbert Spring, who was killed on the beach. He was 23. Bulmer said Spring has "never" been forgotten by his family, but he worried "kids did not appreciate he gave up his life so they could enjoy what they do today."

Many people came over to speak softly to the three veterans, shake their hands and get their pictures taken with them.

Curry's wife Norma, 92, pulled a Spectator reporter aside and wanted to point out the three veterans were all survivors of terrible years in a German prison camp.

"It must be God," she said.

McFarland said he couldn't remember exactly what he was doing 70 years ago on the night before the raid, but said, "I was hoping to get home, but I didn't."

He remembered crossing the English Channel on August 19 to Dieppe. "Of course, the Germans knew we were coming and gave us a welcome," he said.

A special moment came when North Wall president Keven Ellis thanked Curry for saving the life of his second-cousin, Herbert Phillip Shrubsall. Ellis said he didn't find out until recently that Curry had helped get Shrubsall aboard a ship and back to England after the raid collapsed. There were tears on both men's faces when Ellis and Curry spoke about it. Shrubsall was killed in France in August, 1944 at the age of 23.

"You are a hero," Ellis told Curry.

dnolan@thespec.com

905-526-3351 | @dandundas