Lebec amid the rain on Cape Gloucester


Rohan Nichol


2nd Lieutenant


Battle of Dieppe
Battle of Cape Gloucester


Committed suicide, Cape Gloucester, 1944.

2nd Lieutenant "Frenchy" "Commando" "Lebec" is a Canadian replacement officer in command of Robert Leckie's platoon.  In Leckie's book "Helmet for my Pillow" the officer is referred to simply as Commando.  Lebec is  assumed to be a fictional name.


A Canadian, "Frenchy" "Commando" "Lebec" would have served with 2nd Division, Canadian Army in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) in the tragic 19 August 1942 Combined Operations raid on Dieppe, the first Allied landing in force on the coast of France. The landing assault by 6086 troops and tanks, mainly Canadian with 1,000 British Commandos and 50 US Rangers suffered 68% killed, captured or wounded, some regiments losing 95% of men deployed on the beaches.  The supporting air battle was the largest single day engagement of the war in the ETO, inconclusive but not an Allied victory.  Of 252 vessels supporting, the largest were destroyers. Later described as a "reconnaisance in force," with air and naval intelligence objectives, the Dieppe raid was partly a response to Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalins pleas to open a "second front" in Europe to take pressure of the Red Army in the war in the East. The British and Americans intended in part to see if a port could be seized intact for future Allied landings.  Planned as Operation Rutter for July 1942, then cancelled with the troops on ships, the Dieppe raid was remounted in August as Operation Jubilee.  Controversy continues to surround the reasons for the raid, planning, changes to plans after the earlier cancellation, whether the Germans had learned of the raid after its first cancellation, and the effect of a chance encounter and firefight with a German convoy which delayed by fifteen minutes and daylight an assault force tasked unsuccessfully to take cliff-mounted guns covering the main beaches which became a charnal house.  The overall commander of Combined Operations, Lord Louis Mountbatten, assumed responsibility for the disaster and the Canadian commander of the assault force, Major General Hamilton Roberts, was not given another command.  At Dieppe the Allies gained valuable insight at terrible cost into the requirements to defeat German coastal defences and critical experience used in the Operation Overlord D-Day invasion of France.  After Dieppe Lebec volunteered to join the American Marines to fight in the Pacific. He replaced 1st Lieutenant Hugh Corrigan as commander of Leckie's Platoon.

Cape GloucesterEdit

On Cape Gloucester, he was seen figuring out a map with 2nd Lieutenant Stone, while Private First Class "Loudmouth" was trying to get over the fact that a Canadian came there, all the way from the ETO.


Lebec would survive the Japanese assault. After that, Lebec began to lose his sanity. One time when he was changing clothes in the pouring rain, he started looking confused, sobbing, and speaking French (C'est tout mouillé - It's all wet), before pulling a Colt .45 out of a box, and shoving it in his mouth. Leckie yelled at him to stop, but Lebec pulled the trigger, and killed himself.


  • Lebec is based off of Lt. "Commando", a Canadian replacement Officer from Leckies memoirs. However, what happened to them couldn't be more different, as Lebec killed himself, and Commando was wounded in the leg (Later, Commando was killed during the Battle of Peleliu).

See AlsoEdit

Robert Leckie

Hugh Corrigan


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