Operation Date
19 August 1942

Report by Capt. P.W.C. Hellings

Report on Events on 19 Aug 42, off Dieppe
of A. Coy, Royal Marine Commando
by Capt. P. W. C. Hellings, D.S.C. R.M.

HMS. LOCUST arrived uneventfully off Dieppe at about 0530 hrs, there had been a certain amount of firing and tracer seen on either bow previous to this. The sky was clear, but visibility was greatly reduced owing to the thick smoke resulting from the earlier landings.

At about 0610 hrs LOCUST attempted to enter the mole, but it immediately became apparent that the batteries to the EAST of the entrance had not yet been silenced. LOCUST received two hits whilst preparing to enter, resulting in two killed and about 6 wounded.

Commander Ryder seeing that the EAST batteries were still in control of the channel did not enter the harbour at the time, a Bombardment by destroyer and LOCUST being resorted to. It was very difficult in the following hours to get any clear picture as to what was happening owing to the thick smoke, destroyer bombarding and aerial battles overhead. It did however become apparent that the floating reserve in R. Boats of, I believe, about a Bn in strength was landed on BLUE beach.

Reports which I heard from Col. Phillipps on the initial landing stated that success was had at RED and WHITE beaches but that BLUE had not gone so well. I heard no report about Outer beaches.

After the floating reserve had been landed there was no news, until Commander Ryder returned from KELPIEE, when he reported that RED and WHITE beaches were clear of opposition and the General wished the marines to go in and support the ESSEX SCOTTISH through WHITE beach. The Colonel gave his orders from LOCUST, the idea being to pass through the beach to the town and there reform and report to the Colonel of the ESSEX SCOTTISH, the object of the force being to pass around the WEST and SOUTH of the town, and attack the batteries on the EASTERN cliff from the SOUTH.

The marines of Commando H.Q. and A. Coy were embarked in two M.L.C's, the force under Major Houghton from the chasseur consisting of X & B. Coy embarking in A.I.C. The Mortar Pl. & Demolition being left behind in LOCUST.

The Commando started to move toward the shore, it being about 1130 hrs, smoke was provided by the chasseur, who accompanied us within 500 yds.

Shell fire was opened on the boats almost immediately, at about 4000 yds, increasing in intensity as the range shortened. The fire appeared to consist of 3"-4" Mortar Bombs, or a similar size, intermingled with low angle gun fire of about 4" and a tracer shell of about 2 pds which may have come from tanks, up to date the range wasto great for S. A.

The fire was all coming from the EASTERN cliffs and the end and base of the mole, firing to the N.W.

The range was shortening and rifle and L.M.G. fire was become apparent, the chasseur, being now no longer able to support the force owing to the depth of waters.

At this stage I turn to the personal narrative of my Company. The M.L.C. in which we had embarked had done the main landing and was in need of repair, one engine being out of commission and the deck of the M.L.C. was washing down with water. Owing to one engine being out of commission and the other very hot, steering was difficult, and our speed reduced which resulted in in an ever increasing distance between boats; Just prior to reaching the shore and whilst in thick smoke we completely broke down, which may have been the result of a near miss or the overheating of our engine. The engine was started after about 2 mins. and we proceded on toward the shore out of the smoke in time to see the Colonel's M.L.C. and an A.L.C. containing Capt. Deveraux and one platoon and Major Hougton's A.L.C. arrive under heavy mortar and M.G. fire. Fire was intense and any attempt to reach the houses would have been most hazardous. Colonel Phillippe stood up in his M.L.C. and waved the remaining boats to return to the protection of the smoke, one A.L.C. was extracted, the Colonel M.L.C. turned broadside on and I believe from survivors reports, caught fire.

My M.L.C. at this stage received a hit close to the stern which finished any attempt at steering, leaving us some 300 yds off the shore, smoke was used in quantity and we were able to increase the distance by about 200 yds before the engine finally went. After some period a chasseur took the M.L.C. in tow and we returned to LOCUST where the company were placed on board and told to await orders. I reported to Commander Ryder who sent me to General Roberts whom I saw and reported the state of affairs and that WHITE and RED beaches were held by the enemy.

Any attempt to return to the LOCUST in a R. Boat proved fruitless as bombing had commenced and she was laying smoke at top speed, shortly after this organized attempts to evacuate ceased and the company returned to England in LOCUST.

sgd. P.W.C. Hellings,
Captain, R.M. D.S.C.
R.M. Commando

Statement by Capt. R.K.Devereaux

Statement by O.C. 'B' Coy, Capt. R.K.Devereaux, R.M.

The coy was represented by 7,8 and 9 platoons, with Advance and rear coy H.Q. No. 7. platoon was in Chasseur 13, 8 platoon and Advance Coy H.Q. in 43 Chasseur, and 9 platoon and rear Coy H.Q. in Chasseur 42. I was in with advance Coy. H.Q.

This force was standing off JUBILEE area at about 0530 hrs. 19 Aug 42. We were due to enter the harbour at 0620 hrs. At about 0730 hrs we received orders to trans-ship into A.L.C's. This was carried out forthwith. On checking up the chasseurs I discovered that No. 42 was missing. I made inquiries and was told that this chasseur had not been with the convoy since 0200 hrs. From the time of trans-shipment I never saw 7 platoon again during the operation. Advance Coy H.Q. and 8 platoon were now in A.L.C No. B.L.9.

I was told by Colonel. Phillipps that the whole force R.M. Cdo, was to move direct into the harbour. Being at that time under comand Major Houghton, I got in touch with him. He was in another A.L.C. I arranged to follow his craft in. There was considerable smoke put down during which I lost touch with Major Houghton. I then saw an M.L.C. with the C.O. on board, on my port bow. The C.O. then intimated that it would be impossible to make the harbour and that we were to land on the beach some 300 yds ahead. It was WHITE beach. We then became separated in the smoke. We were now coming under fire from a C.D. gun and a number of M.G. positions. About five to ten minutes later the smoke cleared and I say the beach about twelve feet away. The fire was still intense. There were many prone figures on the beach. Away to the left towards BLUE beach were many who appeared dead or wounded in reversed arrow head formation. To my front was an M.L.C. lying broadside on the bench with about twelve figures lying stretched out on the beach on the seaward side of the vessel. I then saw the C.O. standing in the M.L.C. He was signalling for us to withdraw. We then went half to starboard with an M.L.C. carrying A Coy colliding with us astern. Before we made this movement Mne Breen, L.M.G. gunner in the bow of my A.L.C. fired on enemy posts ashore. One post in the Casino was neutralised. As we went about again, through fresh smoke put down by my party, I saw a T.L.C. in an sinking condition and some men in the water, I came alongside T.L.C. 125. I took off two Naval ratings and then searched for the rest. I found Marine Cpl. Ply. 122590 Ryan who was taken in- board and found to be wounded slightly. We then moved under cover of smoke out to sea about a mile. We later discovered we were holed just above the engine room on the port side and we were making water fast. We then moved towards Chasseur 43 and boarded. All L.M.G's were then manned for A.A. on board Chasseur 43. We steamed around for some time and finally left in the last convoy at about 1400 hrs. From the time we re-boarded Chasseur 43 we were attacked by enemy aircraft many times.

The discipline and courage of the men, in particular Mne. Breen, was at all times exemplary.

sgd. R.K. Devereaux.
Captain. R.M.
C.C. 'B' Coy

Statement by Cpl. W.J.Harvey

Statement by Ply.x. 2505 Cpl. W.J.Harvey.

We were ordered to transfer from Chasseur No. 43 to and A.L.C. at about 0730 hrs. On the way in shore we were under shell and small arms fire. When the A.L.C. arrived at the beach and the doors were opened, Mnes Garland and Kettlewell were hit and were later taken off shore by the same A.L.C. When we cleared the A.L.C. we came under strong enemy M.G. fire so we took cover behind a tank which was still firing but unable to move. We were there until 1130 hrs. when we were ordered back to an A.L.C. Quite a number were wounded. These men were carried back to the A.L.C. by Lieut. Smale and Cpl. McDonald. Others with this party moved under cover of the smoke put down by them. The last time I saw Lieut. Smale was when he ran back to the cover of the tank. The party was now well split up. During this operation I was acting as platoon sergeant.

sgd. W.J.Harvey.
Corporal. Ply.x. 2505.
R.M. Commando

Report by Lieut. J.W.Bradley

Report on Events on 19 Aug 42, off Dieppe
by Lieut. J. W. Bradley, No. 9. Pl.

I was in Chasseur No. 12. with B. Coy rear H.Q. (C.Q.M.S., 2 sigs, 2S.B's) When the convoy sailed we took our place in it and steamed with it until the Aapt. (Capt Parq) reported that we had lost the rest of the ships, and he was trying to locate than with the aid of Asdig apparatus.

We made contact with the convoy at about 0515 hrs. but had to fall out again owing to the failure of one of our engines. This was apparently due to the excessive speed we had done catching up the convoy. At 0400 hrs the best speed we could make was 5 knots, and I was given to understand that the captain was not altogether certain of his position at sea. Owing to the lateness of the hour and the fact the the ship was incapable of doing any towing we turned and made our way for the English coast. When we were about 10 miles out the engine was restarted and it was decided that we should again turn towards Dieppe in the hope of being able to lend some assistance. We had steamed for about an hour when we picked up with and S.G.B. carrying members of No. 3 Commando - she was not able to make any headway owing to the engine having been put out of action by enemy action, so we towed her into Newhaven - we received orders at this time to 'Return to Base' which we proceeded to do picking up with a convoy of T.L.C's. At about 2000 hrs the the T.L.C's were bombed by 5 Focke Wolf 190's - we lent all possible assistance and convoyed a B.P.C. back to the Spithead Boom leaving 4 T.L.C's to put in at Shoreham, because one was damaged. We then returned to Base.

sgd. J.V. E. Bradley.
Lieut. R.M.
R.M. Commando.

Statement by Lieut. H.G.Loe

Statement by Lt. Loe i/c No. Demolition Party Chasseur No. 5.

There was no particular incident other than those general to the whole convoy until approximately 0830 hrs. on the 19th. At this time LOCUST had disappeared in the direction of Dieppe and we were stationary amongst a collection of landing craft. We received orders to cruise parallel to the shore and lay smoke approximately one mile off shore. This we did in company with one destroyer and under fairly regular fire from the coastal batteries.

During this time I posted my section on the A.A. guns both on the bridge and in the stern. Altogether the marines manned 6 Hotchkiss and 6 Lewis Guns. We were thus able to reply in force to any attention from enemy aircraft. After 20 minutes steaming we came to the end of our run and we were now well outside the area of the other naval craft. A large german two engined bomber came down to approximately 6,000 ft and then tried to hit us with a stick of bombs. Al guns were brought to bear and fire was opened with the result that there is an explosion inside the plane and a large part of the port wing fell off. The plane disappeared inland falling fast.

Immediately afterwards two F.W. 190 planes attempted to dive bomb us. Our fire caused them to pull out early and the bombe fell about 20 yds away.

Soon after this we were asked to pass a message to an A.L.C. to draw alongside LOCUST and take off R.M. Commando. We were given to understand that the Demolition Party was not to land and that we were to move inshore to support the A.L.C's which were about to go in.

Soon afterwards an M.L.C. with Major Houghton in charge passed us about 30 yds away. We decided to follow this craft inshore. This we did until we lost the M.L.C. in the smoke screen and then carried on until we were six hundred yards offshore opposite the west end of the promenade. We changed our course and did the run again. In all we fired 143 shells. The high rate of firing helped by Cpl. Cullerton who took up position in the magasine for ammunition supplies. During all this time enemy shells were falling all round us but by the time we had finished there were numerous fires fires burning on shore.

Nothing further transpired until we were ordered to embark troops from the beach. Sub.Lieut. Syms then took the Chasseur in until she was just grounding in front of the west jetty and troops began to swim out to us. Immediately several M.G. posts opened fire on the men in the water and on the bridge of the Chasseur. A battery on the cliff opened fire and after 12 shots they had us straddled. One shell fell alongside and made a hole below the water line abaft the engine room.

Mne. Bevan, My servant, was stationed on the rear port Hotchkiss and managed to locate one M.G. post on the left of the harbour. He engaged this target for approximately 30 seconds until a shell entered the engine room immediately below him and tore his gun from its mountings. He was injured in the legs and arms but managed to silence the post.

With the next salvo a shell landed on the bridge, tore one side away and damaged the steering, Sub.Lieut. Syms decided to withdraw from the beach and this was accomplished by putting the Demolition Section on a manual steering gear. We were taking water rapidly and none of the pumps would work, but members of the naval engine party who had been below all this time, worked hard and got the pumps going and after another hour or so they repaired the steering gear as well. We then made our way back to England with 50 survivors and an M.L.C. in tow.

sdg. H.G.Loe.
Lieut. R.M.
R.M. Commando

Statement by unknown Capt

the Senior officer most close to my Comanding Officer before and as a spectator at his death, I should like to bring to your notice the following points.

My Commanding officer, when ordered to proceed to WHITE beach was not aware of the fact that the beach was held by the enemy, whilst proceeding shorewards it became apparent that the beach was held in considerable force and under heavy fire. The Colonel, immediately fire became intense, took up a prominent position sitting on the top of the M.L.C. in order to direct the reminder of the party, from their position, leading the boats, and open to most intense M.G. and mortar fire, he led his Commando into the beach. As the range shortened and the smoke cleared there was no doubt in any man's mind that an attempt to reach the town over that beach would mean certain death to the majority. In spite of all these facts my Commanding Officer refused to turn back until he had proved the uselessness of the adventure by his personal action. The M.L.C. reached the beach and realising now the futility of further action he stood in the stern in full view of all, placing his white string gloves on his hands and waving to the boats astern to return to the cover of the smoke.

His final order to his Commando undoubtedly saved the lives of a further 200 men. He was shot shortly after.

I cannot say more fully how the personal courage of this officer led and inspired his subordinate officers and men. He went cheerfully and happily to a death which he had said the night before could not be better.

Capt. R.M.
R.M. Commando.

Statement by R.S.M. Martin

Statement by R.S.M. Martin.

Po.x. 107025. Mne. R.B.Singleton.
Ply.x. 105411. Mne. L.C.Bradshaw.
Whilst approaching the beach, we were engaged by heavy M.G. and rifle fire the C.O. ordered the buildings on the beach from where the fire was coming to be engaged by L.M.G. I passed the order forward and a gun opened up by Marine Bradshaw. I also ordered the H.Q. L.M.G. into action which was manned by Mne. Singleton. Both guns were kept continuously in action until such time as the targets were obscured by smoke. During this time the M.L.C. was repeatedly hit by bursts of M.G. fire and very accurate rifle fire from the beach. Owing to the position of this M.L.C. these men had to stand up to engage the targets, and Singletons gun was in action until all the ammunition at his disposal was used up. Both these men carried out their duties very courageously whilst under heavy fire and without thought to their own personal safety.

sgd. H.F.Martin. Q.M.S. R.M.

Mne G.R.Bevan

Mne. G.R.Bevan.

When there was no possibility of landing, my Chasseur was ordered to close into the beach to pick up survivors, whilst doing this, the survivors were being machined gunned in the water. Marine Bevan went aft, and located on M.G. on the East Cliff which he silenced, with L.M.G. fire, he continued to fire at others until the Chasseur was hit aft and his gun was blown off its mounting.

He showed great courage throughout.

H.G. Loe.
Lieut. R.M.
R.M. Commando.

Roll of Honour


  • Military Cross
Houghton, Robert Dyer
On the 19th August 1942 Major Houghton who was 2 i/c Command 40 (RM) Commando during operation 'Jubilee' was ordered to land party from an LCA onto the main beach at Dieppe. On the run in, the LCA in which he was travelling, came under heavy enemy fire, but in spite of this proceeded towards the beach He eventually grounded about 100 yards out. Major Houghton, with complete disregard for his personal safety, was the first to attempt to land. He found the water too deep to achieve a landing, so under heavy fire he re-embarked and gave orders for the LCA to be beached on another position of its shore. This second attempt was successful and on landing Major Houghton immediately organised his party and engaged the enemy with all weapons at his disposal. In spite of overwhelming enemy fire, he only gave up when all other troops in the vicinity had surrendered. After capture, Major Houghton behaved in a manner which exemplified the highest traditions of the Royal Marine Corps. He maintained a high standard of discipline while acting as a company commander in OKay VIIB and by his personal example, stimulated the morale of all troops with whom he came in contact. He was always ready to give every assistance to potential escapees and it was only as a result of medical advice that he did not himself partake in any attempts to escape. By his devotion to duty, personal example, courage and untiring efforts he rendered to his country and corps a service which can seldom have been surpassed.
Click to expand...
Smale, Kenneth William Ridley
For bravery, endurance and inspiring devotion to duty whilst serving in Commando operations in the raid on Dieppe, 19th August 1942, and later as a prisoner of war in Germany, August 1942 - May 1945.
  • Military Medal
Bevan, George Reginald
When there was no possibility of landing, his boat was ordered to close into the beach to pick up survivors, whilst doing this, the survivors were being machine gunned in the water. Marine Bevan went aft and located one Machine Gun on the East Cliff which he silenced, with L.M.G. fire. He continued to fire at others until the boat was hit aft and his gun was blown off its mounting.

He showed great courage throughout.
Bradshaw, Leslie Charles
Whilst approaching the beach his boat engaged by heavy Machine Gun and rifle fire, the C.O. ordered the buildings on the beach from where the fire was coming to be engaged by L.M.G. A gun was opened up by Marine Bradshaw who also ordered the H.Q. L.M.G. into action. Both guns were kept continuously in action until such time as the targets were obscured by smoke. During this time the M.L.C. was repeatedly hit by bursts of M.G. fire and very accurate rifle fire from the beach. Owing to the position of this M.L.C. the men had to stand up to engage the targets. Bradshaw carried out his duties very courageously whilst under heavy fire and without thought to his own personal safety.
Breen, Terence Edward
During the approach to the beach in L.C.A. under a continuous and withering fire, Marine Breen took up a position with his Bren gun on the port side of his craft. He continued to fire with accuracy and effect at the German positions and succeeded in neutralising the German gun position on the Casino. During this time the craft was being continually hit by small arms and mortar fire but Marine Breen continued undaunted until all his ammunition had been expended.
  • Croix de Guerre
Manners, James Calvert (Not listed in London Gazettes)
In the action at DIEPPE on 19th August, 1942, Lt Col. MANNERS was senior surviving Officer of the Commando. His boat was sunk, and he spent over two hours in the water. During this time, regardless of his own safety he devoted himself to encouraging his men, and seeing them into rescue boats. He personally saved the lives of two of his men. On finally leaving the water, he assumed command of survivors setting a fine example of endurance and devotion to duty.
  • Mention in Despatches
Stockley, Gordon Herbert