The Jubilee Disaster
In the summer of 1942 the war was almost at the end of its third year and the position of the Allies was desperate, both in Europe and on the Middle and Far Eastern fronts. The hard-pressed Russians were urging Winston Churchill to open a Second Front, about which he was understandably cool. Eventually it was decided to mount a “reconnaissance in force” against the French coast and at dawn on 19 August five thousand soldiers, mainly Canadians, were landed at and around Dieppe. The venture was doomed from the outset as en route the raiding force blundered into a German convoy heading for the same destination, alerting the port’s defenders. What followed was nine hours of carnage. Ronald Atkin has pieced together the full story of that day from all sides and the result is a masterly account of one of the most extraordinary – and tragic – episodes of the Second World War.
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