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