Authors set to straighten out the record of Dieppe and D-Day

Ted Barris, who has made speaking stops at Festival Place in the past, said he is excited to be travelling with David OÕKeefe, a fellow military historian and author. The duo are holding the event at Festival Place on Sept. 13, that they have called From Dieppe to D-Day: The Untold Story. Supplied

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World War 2 may be long behind us but a pair of authors are hoping to keep the incredible stories of the war alive.

Ted Barris, who has made speaking stops at Festival Place in the past, said he is excited to be travelling with David O’Keefe, a fellow military historian and author. The duo is holding the event at Festival Place on Sept. 13, that they have called From Dieppe to D-Day: The Untold Story. Dieppe is a story many history buffs may be familiar with as it saw 907 Canadian soldiers lost that day and D-Day is of course well known and this year was the 75th anniversary.

“For 70 years, we have considered the story (of Dieppe) explored entirely, but what David realized is that that wasn’t true and there was more to the story than we’d discovered,” he said. “The Dieppe raid was a British mounted action and was an attempt to ensure we would open a second front because the Soviets, who were our allies at the time, were battling the Germans on the eastern front. The idea was to test the German defences on the French coast, but unfortunately, they chose one of the most fortified seaports that existed, the port of Dieppe.”

The attack on the Dieppe beach August 19, 1942 was largely perceived as a disaster but new information that suggests it may have been successful in another sense.

“David discovered in his research that there was a whole parallel operation going on with commandos given the job of using the Dieppe raid as a diversion and sneak into the harbour and snatch what was called the four-wheeled Enigma, which was a German coding device,” he said. “Nobody else has discovered that in 70 years of research and writing except David O’Keefe.”

Barris said O’Keefe will be explaining these amazing discoveries and he will be talking about his extensive knowledge of D-Day for the first half of the event.

The second half of the night will have the pair talking about their new books, with O’Keefe set to release Seven Days in Hell and Barris talking about his latest work A Rush to Danger, which is very personal to the author.

“It is about all the people involved in saving lives rushing into danger, going against what everyone else was doing and running towards the danger. My father was a medic and that is why I was motivated to write this book,” he said.

Barris said he tracked down forgotten files and spoke to a man who served with his father to get the story of his father in the war. The author also included stories from other medics in the military.

This is Barris’ 19th book of military history and he is excited to talk about D-Day and his new book at Festival Place.

“I’ve had the good fortune in the past of selling out Festival Place and I’m hoping that will be the case again this time,” he said.

Anyone interested in Canadian or military history to check out the event, which is Sept. 13 at Festival Place.

Tickets for From Dieppe to D-Day: The Untold Story are available at the box office at Festival Place, by phone at 780-449-3378, or online at festivalplace.ab.ca.

tdosser@postmedia.com

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