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Puys — The Royal Regiment of Canada and the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)

Landing on the Blue Beach at Puys, the Royal Regiment of Canada, led by Lieutenant-Colonel D.E. Catto, planned to begin the battle in the darkness of the night. Their landing delayed, the Regiment arrived on shore as the sun was rising. Without the element of surprise, their enemy was strategically placed, heavily armed and waiting. Heavy casualties were suffered immediately.

Few members managed to advance beyond the heavily-wired 10-foot high seawall at the head of the beach. Those who did (including Lieutenant-Colonel Catto) were unable to return. Most, including three platoons of reinforcements from the Black Watch of Canada, were pinned down by unrelenting machine-gun and mortar fire and could not evacuate.

Of the 554 members of the Royal Regiment of Canada who embarked on the raid, 227 died in or as a result of the raid—more deaths than any other unit involved. In addition, 136 were wounded and 264 became prisoners of war (POWs). Only 65 made it back to England. Only 44 of the Black Watch’s 111 troops returned. Four died in or as a result of the raid, eight were wounded and 63 taken prisoner.

The plaque on The Royal Regiment of Canada Monument, in Puys, reads:

You who are alive on this beach, remember that these men died far from home so that others, here and elsewhere, might freely enjoy life in God’s mercy.

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