30th November 2017
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled
Dignitaries from Guernsey and France gathered in the French town of Masnieres on 30 November 2017 to honour the RGLI. The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry suffered heavy losses in the town during the First World War.
Speaking at the event, Lieutenant-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder reminded those in attendance that Guernsey lost 1470 men fighting in the Great War – around 5% of the island’s total population, or one in twenty.
Masnieres saw some of the fiercest fighting during the 1917 Battle of Cambrai, a decisive battle of the First World War in which the RGLI was heavily involved. British forces took the town and held it for several days before withdrawing under heavy fire. In the meantime, they had severely disrupted German supply lines. The battle is commemorated in a tableau at the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry museum at Castle Cornet.
The town is the site of a British cemetery containing the bodies of 147 British, 19 New Zealand and 59 German soldiers. Soldiers from New Foundland are also remembered with a separate memorial.
The RGLI memorial was carved from a one-ton piece of Guernsey granite and sits on another piece of equal weight. It is positioned beneath a Guernsey flag, which will be replaced annually by a flag that has spent the previous 12 months hanging in Town Church.
An inscription carved on the upright stone and inlaid with gold reads,
The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry, despite great losses, held this position between 30th November and 2nd December 1917. This stone was brought from their island home in recognition of their bravery and sacrifice. Also honouring the men who remain buried or missing near this place. Diex aix.