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Mike Zima

 

Date and Place of Birth: circa 1916 Lovett, Alberta, Canada
Date and Place of Death:    August 19, 1942 Dieppe, France
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Outfield
Rank: Trooper
Military Unit: 14th Armored Regiment, Canadian Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Michael F. Zima was born in Lovett, Alberta, and moved to Newcastle in the Drumheller Valley, Alberta as a child. Zima was an active athlete and played the outfield with the Newcastle team and the Drumheller Nationals. His older brother Joe was a well-known boxer in Drumheller. Zima was married to Dorothy and had two children, Mike Jr., and Robert. Prior to enlistment he was a mine worker.

Along with his wife’s brother, Floyd Bigford, he joined the 14th Armored Regiment (Calgary Tanks) on February 22, 1941. After training at Camp Bordon together they were sent to Britain and arrived there on July 2, 1941.

On August 18, 1942, Trooper Zima and Lance-Corporal Bigford left Britain with the Calgary Tanks bound for France. The Dieppe Raid was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the Northern coast of France. Over 6,000 troops, predominantly Canadian, were supported by large British naval and Allied air force contingents. The objective was to seize and hold a major port for a short period, both to prove it was possible and to gather intelligence from prisoners

The main attack was at three points and the Calgary Tanks were in the middle. Attacking thirty minutes after the flanking assaults and onto a steep pebble beach they were met with intense fire. Only 29 of 58 tanks disembarked, two sunk in deep water, 27 made it ashore but only 15 managed to climb the beach and cross the sea-wall onto the esplanade under unrelenting fire. However, they were completely stopped by anti-tank blocks, were immobilized, or later returned to the beach to cover the withdrawal.

The raid was generally considered to be an unmitigated tactical disaster, with no major objectives accomplished. 3,623 of the 6,086 men who made it ashore were either killed, wounded, or captured, including Trooper Michael Zima.

Floyd Bigford returned to England safely and immediately informed Zima’s family that he was missing. He was officially reported missing on August 25, 1942, and officially reported killed in action in late October 1943.

Mike Zima is buried at the Calais Canadian War Cemetery in France.

Date Added: February 8, 2013

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