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Children's Nonfiction Military & Wars


Canada's Darkest Day of World War II

by (author) Hugh Brewster

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Jul 2009
Military & Wars
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


On the night of August 19, 1942, a force of five thousand Canadians launched an attack on the Nazi-held French port of Dieppe. When the disastrous raid was done, and the Allies were forced to retreat, nearly a thousand Canadian troops lay dead. Almost two thousand were taken prisoner. Some called it "the bloodiest nine hours in Canadian military history."

For years, defenders of the raid claimed that the Allies learned valuable lessons from Dieppe that were put to use later in the war. Others, including prominent leaders of the time, believed that the Canadian soldiers had been used as cannon fodder.

Through meticulous research and interviews with veterans both in Canada and at Dieppe, Hugh Brewster has created a fascinating and haunting historical tour of the planning and execution of this tragic raid and its aftermath. Included aresections about the evacuation and the POW experiences.

About the author

HUGH BREWSTER has twenty-five years of experience creating books about the Titanic as an editor, publisher and writer. He worked with Robert D. Ballard to produce the 1987 international bestseller The Discovery of the Titanic and oversaw the creation of Titanic: An Illustrated History, a book that provided inspiration for James Cameron’s epic movie. Brewster is also the author of Inside the Titanic, 882 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions about the Titanic and Deadly Voyage, and has written twelve award-winning books for young readers, including Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, a 2007 Governor General’s Award nominee. He lives in Toronto. Visit him online at or follow him on Twitter @hughbrewster.

Hugh Brewster's profile page


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Short-listed, Canadian Children's Roundtables of Canada
  • Short-listed, OLA Silver Birch Award, Non-Fiction

Editorial Reviews

"Brewster's attention to detail and his ability to present the material in a student-friendly manner, complete with compelling illustrations and facts that have been overlooked or hidden for decades provides for a memorable, informative and essential point of reference for all Canadians and especially those who are just learning now about Canada's past and important struggles which played such an important part in keeping Canada safe for democracy." —The London Free Press

Librarian Reviews

Dieppe: Canada’s Darkest Day of World War II

Hugh Brewster notes that the inspiration for this book came when he was speaking to a group of children about On Juno Beach, his award-winning book about World War II. He met a veteran of Dieppe and decided to tell that story while there were still living veterans to interview. He went to Dieppe for the 65th anniversary ceremonies and collected more stories. With this book, he gives us a first-hand and historical account of the misguided and deadly battle that took so many Canadian lives.

In 1942 with the Nazis winning the war, there was great pressure on England to launch an attack on France. Many Canadian troops had not yet seen active fighting and were eager to jump in. The raid on Dieppe was planned, then discarded, then taken up again, even though many were against it. Canadians were at the forefront of the invasion that took place in the early hours of August 19. It was a disaster from the beginning; by the end, nearly 1,000 Canadian men were dead on the beaches and another 2,000 were taken prisoner. While some feel that this battle prepared the Allies for the ultimate D-Day assault, many felt that the Canadians were sacrificed for nothing.

The book is similar in format to Brewster’s other two war books. There are some amazing photos and artifacts, including some lovely pictures taken by the author’s nephew at the 65th anniversary. It is a fast-paced and compelling story, well-researched and well-written. It is a very worthy addition to the series.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2009. Vol.32 No.4.

Dieppe: Canada’s Darkest Day of World War II

Dieppe (August 19, 1942) has haunted Canadians for nearly seven decades. Some believe that Canadians were needlessly sacrificed there. Others think the Allies drew worthy lessons from it that helped lead to victory over Hitler. Note that the photographs, diary excerpts and memorabilia featured here belong to people who were at Dieppe.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

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