Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid by the Canadian army. Very controversial, as to what was achieved, it is none the less, a key point in history.
The Canadians were tasked with storming the Dieppe beach, obtaining information, and getting out. It didn’t go so well, and was considered a disaster by many historians. Others consider this raid as a testing bed for what eventually became D-Day. No matter what the opinion, it was a key attack.
This year, I was able to visit Dieppe on our tour of Belgium and northern France.
On our visit, the day we were to arrive at the August 19th 1942 Memorial, we were running very late. The day before, we went back to Vimy to see the tunnels and trenches that were not open due to the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy ridge. And we had to drop some other travellers of our group in Arras. So we were there over two hours late. From what I could gather, the people at this memorial were waiting especially for us! The woman was very upset at our tardiness, and my girlfriend spoke to her in French and explained our situation. It seemed to mollify her. Her husband, one of the owners of the memorial, was still very welcoming. We soon learned why.
Turns out, his mother was in occupied Dieppe. The day of the raid by the Canadians, leaflets were dropped, saying “stay in your homes, be safe. This is not a raid. We are the Canadian army. We will be back”. The French held to that hope. He said, “and then in 1944, you fulfilled your promise…you came back”. As such, he holds the Canadians in very high esteem, because we came back and liberated Dieppe. Very powerful. The museum/memorial, which is an old theatre, is full of memorabilia, photos, portraits of Canadian infantry. While the old theatre held its own appeal (being a theatre type, and he allowed us to go on the stage and such), I felt both very honoured to be Canadian, and unworthy. I had no connection to the raid or liberation. Its amazing how much this man held Canadian citizens in such high esteem.
We kept our promise. We came back.
That still sticks in my memory. Photos were not permitted of the artifacts (see the link above for more information), but the man allowed me photos of the theatre itself. Maybe on a later post. We went down to the beach. These photos are of our trip down. Its no wonder the soldiers had a tough time on the rocky beach. Just walking normally was difficult; never mind having to run up it with an enemy firing at you!
And what sticks the most with this, is that the men who participated in this raid were volunteers; not professional soldiers. They gave up their lives to fight for freedom.
All photos taken with the Fuji X100T.
We took in the Lac Leamy fireworks competition last night. Typically, this is an international competition over a number of weeks (Wednesdays and Saturdays) but this year, being the 150th birthday of Canada confederation, it is a Provincial competition this year. We took in Ontario last week. For a $10 fee, you can go down by the river where there is speakers to listen to the music that goes with the fireworks. This week, being a Wednesday and having other schedules, we could only make it to a free location to watch Alberta’s contribution.
I brought along the Fuji X-Pro1 with the 35 f1.4 on it, should I get some acceptable opportunities to make some pictures. The view wasn’t the best with a tree partly obscuring the view, so I went for silhouettes and other ambient shots.
A few days ago was a terrific evening sky. No storm, just puffy clouds and a wonderful sunset. Being in the suburbs, seeing the sun to the horizon wasn’t going to happen, but the sky was still great.
A few planes flew over and I had my new 50-140mm f2.8 lens on the Fuji X-T1 at the ready to catch this silhouette of a jet taking travellers to some adventure.
While in Belgium, we visited the site/memorial of Beaumont Hamel.
The Newfoundland regiments signed up to fight for King and Country in a time when they were their own dominion, not yet a part of Canada (not until 1949). They sent a contingent over to fight, and on July 1, 1916, at the beginning of the battle of the Somme, they attacked. The Battle of the Somme was the regiment’s first major engagement, and during an assault that lasted approximately 30 minutes the regiment was all but wiped out.
Newfoundland purchased the land and preserved it and it stays to this day untouched. Shell holes and trenches remain. Although not a part of Canada yet, this is truly a Canadian place. The walking paths encircle the battlefield area and one can tour around from the Newfoundland side to the German side. From the German side, you can see a clear view of the Newfoundland position and can see how they had easy sight lines to mow down the opposition. Its terrible.
One of the cemeteries included a number of tombstones next (very close) to each other. I wondered why. I later learned that those this close together indicate comrades who died in close proximity or in the same battle together.
This is a very powerful site to visit.
While in Belgium and Flanders visiting WWI sites, we visited a German cemetery. Similar to others we would visit, it was in farmland. The vibe was very different (as most cemeteries we visited were, all had a vibe; difficult to explain, but it was there).
The German one was very sombre and low key. Interestingly, there was wifi available here, however, it was very restricted such that one could only access an app that would describe the site. That’s fine. I found it interesting to have that technology to learn about the location, accommodating the next generation to keep history alive.
The Brooding Soldier is a memorial to Canadian soldiers in Langemark, who fought in the second battle of Ypres. This was the first time the Germans used gas. Of the nearly 6000 Canadians in the battle, 2000 were casualties. They did hold the line.
This is one of those monuments I’ve wanted to see in person for a long time. Our trip to Belgium included this, and it was fantastic to see. The location is in a small village on the edge of farmland. Not only is the memorial here, but a small garden area as well. We went first thing in the morning, and it was very peaceful. Looking around, the entire area was at one time a battlefield, which is a recurring theme in this area.
We stayed in Iepre (Ypres) a short two minutes from the Menin Gate. Every night at 8pm, they play the last post. The monument is dedicated to the 54,395 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.
The time we were in there, it was coming up to the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge. On this occasion, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were there. Of course. I go half way around the world to see Canadian Mounties.
The structure is humbling. Everywhere you look there are names in this quiet little town.
As mentioned in previous posts, I was off to Belgium and France to visit WWI and WWII sites.
Our first stop was in Iepre (Ypres) where we stayed to visit the battlefields of Flanders. This is my main interest, and something I’ve read and studied for many years. I was happy to be in this location. Our hotel was steps away from the Menin Gate and Cloth Hall.
Cloth Hall was a place to be in the medieval times if you wanted textiles. When the first world war broke out, Ypres was a target and the Cloth Hall was pretty much destroyed. The Belgians, after the war, rebuilt the hall with existing stone and drawings to its former glory. These days its a museum to the battles fought in the region, and the building itself is beautiful.
Time constraints within our itinerary and the times it was open prevented me from getting inside. Next time. I loved Iepre (as its now called) and I hope to get back again.
All photos were taken with the Fuji X100T and the wide-angle converter.
In my previous post, I indicated a trip and what I was taking for camera gear – very minimalist. Now that I have returned, the verdict it in, and it was a success….basically.
Having the small Fuji X-100T and complimentary converters was light-weight, and never a burden or pain to carry. Even the small bag proved to be easily accommodating to include sunglasses/reading glasses and a flask of water. The bag, a ThinkTank Retrospective 5, had plenty of room, and the bonus of velcro seals for the opening, meant that I never had to worry about someone reaching in and stealing my stuff, especially when in Paris.
The only downside was the lens converters. The screw on feature was a bit cumbersome, as sometimes I was switching them on a regular basis. And with the 100T, I have to tell it when it was using which converter or not. On many occasions, I simply forgot for a number of shots. At least with the X100F, that is now automatic and certainly a great feature. I tried to keep to one converter for a while, but that never really worked. Again, the screwing it on and off was not very fluid. As for focal length, it worked out fine. A few times I would have liked an ultra-wide lens, and only once a longer telephoto.
The other small thing, if you look at the last post, I had a shutter release button thing on the camera. Yes, I said “had”. As I expected, it eventually came off as there is no to keep it on without gluing it. Each time I used the camera, I found myself automatically tightening it. It may be in the camera bag, I haven’t checked, or its on the streets of Paris near Notre Dame cathedral. I won’t be getting another one. As nice as it was, its too pricey (with shipping) to have to replace or constantly check on it.
Other than that, the camera was great. I brought along three batteries and I could have fared well with two. I was concerned about the overall battery performance, because I haven’t used the camera for a full extensive day and didn’t know the longevity of it, and I have read that it wasn’t great. I don’t know what other people are doing, but the battery lasted a couple days before I needed to switch it out.
I also shot entirely in JPeg Classic Chrome. On quick inspection, the photos came out great. there will be some tweaking, as there always will be, but the images look great.
Stay tuned for updates as I put up photos of the trip.