The Canadian troops were without a doubt, the best that the Allies had, very highly trained and more than anxious to get into battle. That was probably the reason that they were chosen for this particular operation. However, they were doomed right from the outset. As soon as they dropped into the water from their landing craft they ran into this murderous barrage of gunfire. Many died even before they took one step forward. Those that followed had to step over their bodies and it was only a matter of seconds before they went down too. They didn't have a chance.

If they managed to get on the beach at all, they found it totally strung with entanglements of barbed wire 20 feet across and sown with mines. Even if they got across that, they came face to face with the sea wall itself, which was seven to eight feet high. That was covered with rolls of barbed wire too, on the top, and there were machine-gun posts all the way along.

The whole front itself, a mile long and crescent shaped, had boarding houses and hotels that were filled with hundreds of Germans with machine-guns and mortars zeroing in on the main beach. There were balloons over our landing barges that were supposed to protect us against low-level dive bombing, but on the decks of the barges they had all these hydrogen bottles lying right out there in the open. The shells from shore landed on the hydrogen bottles, and many of our men were badly burned by the exploding gas….

I was shot through the head that day, on my way out after our raid on the gun battery. Actually, it was a piece of shrapnel that went through the side of my head and knocked my eye out from the inside. The eye was hanging out on my cheek. I passed out, and when I came to I was making my way down over the cliff. I passed out, and when I came to I was making my way down over the cliff with the other boys. I couldn't remember what happened or even how I got the ladder. My theory was that I was plain shell shocked. I just jumped into the sea and started to go. I must have had the idea of swimming back to England, 65 miles away, but fortunately, I was picked up by one of our boats shortly after.

Bill McNeil, Voices of a War Remembered (Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1991), pp. 268-269.