Two coun­tries weep for ‘An­gel of Dieppe’

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD -

A FRENCH nun known as the “An­gel of Dieppe”, who helped save wounded Al­lied sol­diers from ex­e­cu­tion, has died aged 103.

Sis­ter Agnes-Marie Valois be­came a Cana­dian mil­i­tary leg­end for treat­ing sol­diers wounded in the dis­as­trous Dieppe com­mando raid.

She has re­ceived hon­ours from both her na­tive coun­try of France and Canada.

More than half of about 6000 Al­lied sol­diers in­volved in the raid on the French port be­ing used as a ma­jor Ger­man base were cap­tured or killed — the ma­jor­ity of them Cana­dian. A trained nurse, Sis­ter Agnes was one of about 10 Au­gus­tinian nurses who re­ceived the wounded and dead from the bloody bat­tle.

“It wasn’t war,” Sis­ter Agnes said some years ago. “It was a mas­sacre.”

Sis­ter Agnes per­son­ally tended to the wounded on the beach and later at a nearby ho­tel. Her care for the sol­diers, re­gard­less of their na­tion­al­ity, sparked sev­eral mil­i­tary leg­ends and earned her the nick­name the “An­gel of Dieppe”.

Ac­cord­ing to one leg­end, when a Ger­man of­fi­cer pointed a pis­tol at a Cana­dian soldier, she stood in front of the wounded man and told the Ger­man he would have to shoot through her.

She at­tended the com­mem­o­ra­tion for Dieppe ev­ery year, un­til re­cently when her health be­gan to fail. The flags in Dieppe were flown at half­mast to hon­our her death.

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Sis­ter Agnes-Marie Valois, the ‘An­gel of Dieppe’, at the 71st an­niver­sary of the Dieppe raid in 2013.

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