Document Source: Royal Canadian Army, Puits, Memorandum, Cpl Ellis (Royal Regiment of Canada). Memorandum of Interview: LCpl L.G. Ellis, DCM, (B-66984). Royal Regiment of Canada, at Canadian Military Headquarters, London, October 20, 1942.

Dieppe, France, August 19 1942, Operation Jubilee, Beaches Assignations & Markings

Operation Jubilee, Dieppe, France, August 19, 1942

[1] Corporal Ellis (then Lance Corporal) is the only member of the Royal Regiment of Canada known to have crossed the sea wall during the attack at Blue Beach and who subsequently succeeded in returning to England.

[2] Cpl Ellis landed on Blue Beach with A Company, Royal Regiment of Canada, which landed on the right flank (i.e. the west end of the beach), as part of the first wave.

[3] Cpl Ellis describes the situation at Blue Beach as follows: At the head of the beach was a sea wall perhaps 8 to 11 feet high (2.5 to 3.5 meters), on top of which there was a triple concertina wire obstacle (barbed wire). As far as his observation went, his impression was that the wall ran the whole length of the beach,i.e. from one cliff to the other across the mouth of the valley in which lies the village of Puits. Where the wall ran in front of the slope of the hill it was cut into a slope, that is, on climbing the wall a man found that there was no drop on the other side. There was a clear space perhaps 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) wide on the landward side of the wire obstacle on the wall; and beyond this was a deep and very thick obstacle of bundled wire, virtually impassable.

[4] On the western section of the wall, in front of which A Company landed, there was a double flight of steps; that is, there was a recess in the wall containing flights of steps leading up to the top of the wall both to right and left. At the top of the western flight of steps was a pill-box, probably the one at (252696) shown with 3 arrows attached (Intel. map, 1:12,500). This pillbox was found not to be manned.

[5] Cpl Ellis’ company was transported in the HMS Princess Astrid, and LSI (Landing Ship Infantry). From this vessel, the troops were transferred into LCAs (Landing Craft Assault) which carried them to shore. Cpl Ellis noted that there seemed to be a slight delay in forming up after leaving the HMS Princess Astrid, and he got the impression that the reason was that a couple of boats appeared to be missing. The first part of the trip in the LCAs was quite uneventful, but in the latter half flares were seen. Cpl Ellis is not certain whether these came from the shore. He did not himself see searchlights illuminating the LCAs.

British LCA during the final exercise prior to Operation Jubilee in Dieppe

[6] The crafts were still perhaps half a mile (800 meters) when the daylight came. Objects formerly only vaguely distinguishable were now clearly visible. The LCAs proceeded to the beach and landed the troops. Cpl Ellis saw no fire directed against his LCA before it beached.

[7] Cpl Ellis was about the fourth man off the LCA. The ramp had not gone fully down; he jumped on it to bring it down, but without effect. He then leaped out onto the beach, getting no more than his feet wet. He ran up the beach to the sea wall and crouched against it waiting for the other men to join him. Looking back, he saw these men being cut down, chiefly by Machine Gun fire which was not sweeping the beach.

[8] The men who were not struck came up the beach and took shelter against the wall in the vicinity of the steps already described. The wall, however, gave no protection from the fire of a machine gun, evidently sited on the eastern cliff somewhere in the area about (254697), which was able to enfilade the wall effectively and caused very heavy casualties. Cpl Ellis got through a barbed wire obstacle obstructing the steps and went up the steps on the right to the pill-box, from which no fire had come. He looked inside and found it empty. He then went back down the steps and ascended those to the left; at the top he found himself confronted by a very thick wire obstacle, so thick that he could not shoot through it.

LACB2. Canadian infantrymen disembark from a landing craft in England during a training exercise before Operation Jubilee, the Raid on Dieppe, France, in August 1942. Photo, Library Archive Canada, Ottawa MIKAN 3194482

[9] About this time he was joined by Capt G. G. Sinclair, commanding A Company, who had with him a private armed with a Sten Gun, probably his batman. Capt Sinclair shouted for a Bren Gun and Cpl Ellis also shouted, but no gun was brought. Capt Sinclair then called for a Bangalore Torpedo, and this was passed up. The Bangalore was set in the wire above the eastern steps and blown. It made a good hole in the wire. Capt Sinclair looked over the wall and said come on over. Cpl Ellis pushed past him and went over the wall.

[10] By this time the second wave of the Royal Regiment had beached, coming in probably just before the explosion of the Bangalore. The men came up and lay against the wall and Cpl Ellis had shouted to them to warn them against the fire the Machine Guns already mentioned.

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