Canadian flags hang alongside French and British on the streets of Dieppe, France, each August as the city marks the anniversary of an important and disastrous day during the Second World War. 

Eighty years ago today, more than 5,000 Canadian soldiers were sent onto the beaches in an attempt to breach the occupied town from the sea.

Among them was 20-year-old Gordon Fennell, a member of the Calgary Tanks regiment, who has returned this week to commemorate the battle in which more than 900 Canadians died.

Fennell is one of the very few remaining survivors of Operation Jubilee, one of the best-known and deadliest events of the entire war for Canada.

Of the more than one million Canadians who served during the war, it's estimated about 20,000 are still alive today, and their average age is 95. 

Historian Mike Bechthold says it's more important than ever to hear their stories and honour their sacrifices.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2022.