80th Anniversary of St Valéry-en-Caux
12th June 2020 marks the commemorations of the 80th anniversary of St Valéry, with piping tributes across Scotland to mark the occasion.
At 10am, on a blustery day with haar over the sea, then as now, the Lord-Lieutenant led a two-minute silence at Macduff War Memorial, accompanied by members of Legion Scotland and Aberdeenshire Councillor Mark Findlater.
A piping tribute was played by Melissa Philip.
The Second World War battle led to 10,000 mainly Scottish soldiers from the 51st Highland Division being captured at St Valéry-en-Caux. They had continued the fight on the continent in support of the French after the Dunkirk evacuations had been completed. However, it proved impossible at St Valéry to evacuate the troops due to poor weather and the proximity of heavy German artillery on the cliffs above the beach. As a result, the British were forced to surrender to German forces at 10am on June 12, 1940.
Many brave men fell in action that day. Thousands more, who had spent weeks fighting gallantly, went on to spend years as prisoners of war. They included men of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, the Black Watch, the Gordon Highlanders, the Seaforth Highlanders, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, RAMC, RASC, RA and other supporting and attached troops from other parts of the UK.
Five years later, marching to the sound of the pipes, the reformed Highland Division re-entered St Valéry-en-Caux as liberators.