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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Liberation of Dieppe portrait a reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom

by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

A painting Leamington resident, the late Donald Robert Waffle, created in 2018 was inspired by his father, Silvanus Bolton (Van) Waffle, who served in the Essex Scottish Reserve during WWII.

The Liberation of Dieppe is now a staunch reminder of the cost of freedom for everyone who enters the County Council Chambers at the Essex Civic and Education Centre.

The Liberation of Dieppe portrait captures when the Pipes and Drums of The Essex Scottish Regiment marched through the streets in September of 1944, as the 2nd Canadian Division liberated the Town of Dieppe.

Two-years earlier, around 6000 men – most of which were Canadian with 553 from the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment – stormed the beach at Dieppe, France at dawn on August 19, 1942.

They were under heavy fire.

Around 50 of the soldiers from the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment returned to England after the raid. Over 120 of those men died, others were wounded or taken prisoner of war.

Essex County Warden and Mayor of Leamington, Hilda MacDonald, said she gets goosebumps when thinking of this historic battle when unveiling the portrait during a special ceremony last Wednesday afternoon, as it was recently donated to the County of Essex.

“They will never forget and neither will we,” MacDonald said.

Information about Waffle noted the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment was part of his life growing up. He would eventually come across the small black-and-white photo taken in September of 1944 as the Essex Scottish Regiment pushed the German army back and returned to Dieppe, France, which inspired his painting.

Many descendants of those in the Essex and Scottish Regiment were invited to the ceremony, including Bryon Knight and Brenda Humber. Both of their fathers – brothers Donald Knight and Harold Knight – served in the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment and were taken Prisoner of War during Dieppe.

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