Remembering A Provost Colleague
Who Deployed On The Dieppe Raid

By
WWII C Pro C Veteran
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) George Wilkinson
(In Collaboration with Sgt Shane Causton, son of the late LCpl Frank Couston, C Pro C WWII Veteran)



Photo of Lt George Wilkinson, WWII Vet. In early March 2007 an e-mail was received from Sergeant Shane Causton, son of the late WWII Provost Veteran, LCpl Frank Arthur Causton, notifying the Canadian Provost Corps Virtual Association of his Fathers passing on the 27 February 2007, in his 87th year. Sgt Causton, an instructor with the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group Headquarters, sought the assistance of the C Pro C Virtual Association in making contact with anyone who may have known and served with his Dad during WWII.

A subsequent survey of our Association members revealed that WWII Provost Veteran, LCol George Wilkinson, age 89, of Victoria, BC, not only served with LCpl Causton during the war, but he also knew him very well. Assisted by LCol (retired) JD (Jim) Lumsden, Coordinator of the C Pro C Virtual Association, Mr Wilkinson and Sgt Causton were put in contact with each other which ultimately led to an exchange of e-mails and a telephone conversation.

In his e-mail to Sgt Causton, Lt George Wilkinson stated:
  • Hi Shane, I was sorry to hear about Frank' death. Its 65 years since we were together in Heathfield, Surrey and on the Isle of White where we trained for the Dieppe Raid. There was only 41 members of No 2 Provost Company who were to participate in that raid.

  • We used to board a Tank Landing Craft at Cowes on the Isle of White and sail down the coast to Dorset where we practised beach landings at a little town named Bridgend, next to Bridport. I remember saying to Frank; if we knew a town in France with a thousand yards of beach and cliffs 100 ft high, we would know where we were going. I entered Dieppe from the shore side as we fought our way across France in 1944.

  • I saw (Lt) Pete Oliver's grave and a lot of my other friends.

  • We left the I of W in July 1942 and sailed to Newhaven. All the ships were hidden in harbors waiting to cross the Channel. It was going to take 5 hours to cross. After 5 days the raid was called off and we returned to Earthem, near Chichester, Hants.

  • Capt (Red) Stevenson, our CO, selected me to report to Col Churchill Mann, our G1 at Simmer Force HQ. He took me in to General Ham Roberts who gave me the dispatches on the failed operation, code named RUTTER and instructed me to deliver it by hand to Gen Bernard Law Montgomery at HQ South Eastern Command, Reigate, Surrey.

  • The Brit Navy took me and my Harley M/C from Cowes to Portsmouth and I rode to Reigate in a downpour. I remember it was a weekend and the General was at his residence. The only person I could find at his house was an ATS Cook who took me in and fed me soup.

  • The Gen's ADC arrived and took me in to see the General.. I was pretty scruffy and had not shaved for days but nobody seemed to mind The old Man (Gen) read the dispatch and asked me a lot of questions. I then returned to the Unit. We were all later sent on a weeks leave and I then forgot about the raid.

  • We did not think it would ever be considered again. About a month later we were alerted for an Exercise and ordered not to leave our tent lines.

  • A guy named Morton came to me (I was now a Cpl) and asked if he could stay overnight with his new wife about a mile down the road. I said no and he asked to see (Lt) Pete Oliver. I paraded him in to Pete's tent and he repeated his request. Pete gave him the same answer as me. Unbeknown to us, Morton was a bit Nuts and he jumped over the table and hit Pete on the nose . It took about six of us to hold him down.

  • WE took him to the Field Amb and after a quick exam they ordered him evacuated to No. 1 Neuro Hosp in Reading, 75 miles away. I was ordered to escort him which somewhat interfered with plans I had made to meet a Wren in a Pub which was in our Tented area.

  • I phoned the Unit and asked John Webb to come down and relieve me but no one showed up and I left for Reading with instructions for my replacement to follow. No one came and the next morning when I returned the raid (Dieppe) was on.

  • I went to Potsmouth and met the Guys coming back. They took an awful beating. One guy didn't talk for weeks after,

  • Joe Lawson had been recommended for OCTU the day before the raid and about a month later we left the unit for commissioning.

  • I think I told you; Frank (LCpl Causton) told me as they pulled away from Dieppe he peeked over the gunwales and a bullet bounced off his helmet. Apart from a headache; he was OK.

  • I never saw Frank again. He was a good looking soldier and a good friend, and;

  • He was a good soldier Shane and you should be very proud of him.
Following receipt of the foregoing e-mail message, Sgt Shane Causton telephoned Mr Wilkinson where upon they engaged in further discussions about his late Father's service as a member of the Canadian Provost Corps during WWII.

As is the case with a lot of war veterans, their accomplishments during the war only come to the forefront when a family member researches their wartime service after they are deceased. In Sgt Causton's case he was lucky in that he was able to converse with a person who actually was a friend of his Father during WWII. Furthermore; having made contact with an 89 year old WWII Veteran whose memory is as remarkable as LCol George Wilkinson's, is indeed most fortunate.


Web Master's Note:
A detailed article prepared by LCol JD (Jim) Lumsden about the Canadian Provost Corp's contribution to the Dieppe Raid can be viewed at the link in the left column (Dieppe). In addition; LCpl Causton appears in the photograph in the Lt Oliver Memorial link on the left.

- The End -