June 10, 2019 London, England: The Métis Nation’s Veterans Minister David Chartrand visited Paul DeLorme, a 98 year old Métis Nation hero of the Second World War at his residence near London, England today to thank him for his service and present him with the compensation he so richly deserves as a Métis Veteran.
DeLorme, who served with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, participate in the failed raid on Dieppe France on August 19, 1942. It was a battle that paved the way for the D-Day landings in 1944 but at an enormous cost, with nearly 3,000 Canadians either killed or taken prisoner on the beach.
DeLorme was one of the more than 1,900 Canadians captured at Dieppe — the largest group taken in Canadian war history. Wounded by a grenade, he was taken by rail to a POW camp in Germany where he was put to work in a salt mine and later a stone quarry. He tried to escape twice. Two other Canadians who tried to escape the camp were shot dead.
“We buried these two men next day, rolled in black tar paper at the bottom of the stone quarry,” Delorme later wrote in a book about his experience, A Métis Man Goes to War.
On August 19, 2017, DeLorme returned to the scene of his capture as part of a Canadian government delegation to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid. In an interview with CBC, he said: “I remember pretty well everything: how some people got killed. I remember all that. Where are all my friends? Most of them buried in Dieppe. So I pay my respects.”
For the Métis Nation’s Veterans Minister, the visit to Mr. DeLorme and presenting him with a $20,000 cheque, the first from the recently established $30 million fund, is of special significance.
“I have been lobbying for proper recognition and compensation for Métis Veterans and their families for the better part of 20 years,” stated Minister Chartrand. “Now, thanks to the reconciliatory path of the Trudeau government, that work is about to pay off. It was a great honor to meet Mr. DeLorme. While the cheque I gave him cannot erase the horrific memories of war, it will hopefully reassure Mr. DeLorme that the country he risked his life for is truly grateful for his courage.”
See transcript of Mr. DeLorme’s interview with Historica Canada, The Memory Project on his experiences at Dieppe and prison escape attempts. (Click here to download PDF transcript)