Spr Chester McGie - 2nd Fd Coy

Headstone of Spr Chester McGie in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, France
RCE Dieppe Memorial in Newhaven, England

Sapper Chester McGie was born in 1920 in Hopetown, QC to Barnie and Grace. He was working as a farmer when he enlisted on 29 July 1940 in New Carlisle QC. He was assigned to No 6 Employment Platoon RCE.

In early March 1941, he embarked for England at Halifax. When he arrived in England he was held in the Engineer Holding Unit until he was transferred into the 2nd Field Company on 25 July 1941.

In England, the 2nd Fd Coy was well into their work on camp construction and training at Aldershot. Chester was granted tradespay as Pioneer in August 1941. They continued training at Aldershot until mid-May 1942 when the 2nd Canadian Division was placed in Corps Reserve. The company then moved to Coolham in south-east England and by June Sapper McGie had qualified as a Pioneer Group III. The 2nd Fd Coy had settled down to a period of more construction and training when they received orders to commence an extensive training and exercise program to prepare for the Dieppe Raid.

On the Dieppe Raid, Sapper McGie was a member of the Shack Party of 59 All Ranks that was tasked with demolitions in the Dieppe rail yard. They were organized into seven teams with targets of the locomotives, tunnel, turntable, rolling stock, stores, oil tanks, engine sheds, machine shops, signal boxes, and miscellaneous buildings and switches. This was a large operation as it was estimated that there were 30 Locomotives and 200 rolling stock.

Sapper McGie was a member of Shakleton’s 20-man team whose task was to cut the rails inside the tunnel, drive locomotives to derail them in the tunnel and further rolling stock crash inside the tunnel and set them afire. Witness reports noted that Sapper McGie was Killed in Action attempting to place demolitions charges. He is buried in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, France.

{…with research assistance by the Canadian Military Engineer Museum…}

 

 

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