Reginald Wise is headed to France for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Dieppe. He has offered to place crosses on headstones on behalf of families' of the fallen who can't make it overseas themselves.

Veteran looking for relatives of Dieppe victims

Surrey man wants to put crosses on Second World War headstones in France.

Reginald Wise is no carpenter. And he doesn’t consider himself particularly crafty.

But for the last week or so, the 88-year-old has been a little bit of both, hand-making 100 small wooden crosses that he plans to take to France with him in August.

Wise, a veteran of the 40th Royal Marine Commando, will be marching at the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Dieppe, where he fought as part of Britain’s elite paramilitary force, the Green Berets, during the Second World War.

The Battle of Dieppe took place Aug. 19, 1942. Forces such as Wise’s from the United Kingdom, as well as those from Canada, the U.S. and France launched a raid on the German-occupied port of Dieppe.

The attack was unsuccessful in that more than half of the 6,000 men who went ashore were either killed, captured or wounded. However, it’s been argued that the lessons learned there paved the way for the successful D-Day landing in Normandy in June 1944 and the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation the following year.

“When I talk to people, they’re not aware of Dieppe,” says Wise. “I would like to raise awareness about how important this was.”

While it’s not the first time Wise has travelled to Dieppe to honour his fallen comrades and reunite with other survivors, it will be the first time he’ll be placing crosses – complete with a poppy at the centre and a small Canadian flag sticker – on the graves of Canadian troops.

He’s hoping relatives will get in touch with him so he can write their loved one’s names on one of his wooden crosses and match it to the right headstone.

He’s also offering to take photos of headstones for family or friends who can’t make it overseas themselves, and is extending his offer to relatives of the British forces: Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, #3 and #4 Army Commandos and Royal Navy.

The Canadian regiments Wise is looking for relatives of include: the 2nd Canadian Division, 14th Canadian Army Tank Battalion, Royal Regiment of Canada, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), South Saskatchewan Regiment, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, Essex Scottish, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, and Les Fusiliers Mont Royal.

He acknowledges Canadian relatives of the hundreds of Dieppe casualties could be anywhere.

“But I hope I can get at least a few from around the Lower Mainland,” Wise says.

Those interested are asked to contact Earle Fraser at the Cloverdale legion at or call 604-574-5300.


Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Police’s role in Barnston Island still needs ‘to be looked at’

Surrey RCMP polices unincorporated island a short ferry ride across Parson’s Channel

Surrey looking into reducing residential speed limits

Surrey city council on Feb. 24 approved five ‘key pillars’ of a Surrey Transportation Plan

‘We have to triage’: Surrey teachers stage ‘walk-in’ to support public education

Teachers raising awareness after more than one year at the bargaining table

Suspected drugs, counterfeit cash seized during distracted driving stop: Surrey RCMP

Police said incident happened near 152nd Street and Fraser Highway

Fate of five-district policing model in Surrey rests with new police board

Whalley/City Centre, Guildford/Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and South Surrey districts formed under McCallum’s watch in 1998

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read