Moldmakers lend skilled hands to Dieppe monument (September 02, 2010)
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The Windsor, Ont. moldmaking community has played a pivotal role in making sure that the infamous Dieppe Rai...
The Windsor, Ont. moldmaking community has played a pivotal role in making sure that the infamous Dieppe Raid of World War II – one of the darkest chapters in Canadian military history – will never be forgotten.
The one-day raid was a major offensive on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on August 19, 1942, involving 4,963 Canadians. None of the raid’s objectives were accomplished, and the human toll was staggering: approximately 3,365 Canadians were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The fallout hit the Windsor community particularly hard. Of the area’s 553 Essex Scottish Regiment soldiers who took part, 121 were killed, and only 51 were still standing to be evacuated to England later that day.
Exactly 68 years later, on August 19, 2010, a memorial to the Essex Scottish Regiment was unveiled in Windsor’s Dieppe Gardens. The $60,000, 2.4-metre-high monument is made of black granite and features a cutout of a large maple leaf. It is aligned so that if the sun shines at 1 p.m. on August 19 — the exact hour that the regiment stormed the beach — it will cast a perfect shadow of that maple leaf on the ground below.
The Windsor monument is a duplicate of a memorial dedicated in 2006 on Dieppe’s Red Beach, where the Essex Scottish regiment landed. Members of the Windsor moldmaking community had worked on that project, and rallied again to help complete the new hometown monument.
“We approached the same moldmakers who had been involved four years ago, and nobody declined to participate,” said Ed Bernard, research and development manager at Windsor’s Crest Mold Technology Inc., who helped spearhead the project. “Everyone treated it as a top priority.”
The construction of the memorial – which was designed by local art student Rory O’Connor – took about 16 months. In total, there are 51metal components affixed to the black granite, excluding stainless steel fasteners, and all were handled by local moldmakers. “The work on the components represents a lot of technical skills, including wire EDMing, drilling and tapping, diamond polishing and nickel plating,” Bernard said. “A particular challenge was machining the backs of the metal parts to match the various curves of the granite, and in the end, they all fit perfectly.”
For Bernard and others, their work on the Dieppe memorial went beyond a labor of love – it was more like a call to duty. “Nobody treated this as just another business project,” Bernard said. “Despite the pressures that we’re all under, the moldmaking community still rallied without hesitation for a good cause.”