GUERNSEY RUGBY CLUB’S players are putting their power behind our Guernsey’s Finest Hour Appeal.
The Guernsey Press campaign is in support of the RGLI Charitable Trust’s bid to raise £30,000 to fund memorials to the men of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry both at home and in France at the scene of the Great War’s notorious Battle of Cambrai.
Founders military historian Chris Oliver and Lt-Col Colin Vaudin want to ensure the story of these brave Guernseymen of this local British Army regiment – who joined up with their friends ‘to do their bit’ despite the horrors of the First World War having become clear – is remembered forever.
And this, the year of the battle’s centenary in November, is the perfect time they say to honour a landmark moment in our history, one which saw generations of island families changed forever.
A total of 327 Guernseymen were killed in the fighting, with 667 left wounded or missing. The trust hopes enough funds will be found to see a piece of Guernsey granite laid on the anniversary of the conflict close to the small town of Masnieres near Cambrai in northern France, at the exact junction in Les Rues Vertes where the regiment’s A Company waged a heroic defence of the small suburb against massed German attacks.
Although 13 graves are there, more than 200 men were never recovered and still lie undiscovered in the vicinity. This tribute would not only mark their sacrifice but offer a place of remembrance for islanders to visit.
In Guernsey a dedicated plaque of Portland stone would also be installed in the Town Church next to the battalion’s colours, which the trust hopes to preserve as part of its ongoing legacy work.
This week Guernsey Rugby Club coach Jordan Reynolds and the team were more than happy to back our appeal and to join Colin (who is also a local rugby referee) for our photos during their training session at the KGV.
Jordan said: ‘When Guernsey Rugby Club was asked to support and raise awareness about the Guernsey’s Finest Hour campaign, we were delighted to help.
‘The story of the RGLI’s bravery deserves to be told and remembered forever.
‘These men were lads who all knew each other and recognised the strength of working together as a team when facing incredible odds.
‘They never gave up, they never let each other down.
‘Their courage was awe-inspiring and we are honoured to back this appeal in their memory.’
Donations are still needed and can be made to Lloyds Bank, St Peter Port, quoting sort code 30-93-73, account number 32700168 and The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Charitable Trust. Cheques can also be made payable to The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Charitable Trust and posted to the RGLI Charitable Trust, Les Emrais, Ruette des Emrais, Castel, GY5 7YF, tel. 251683.
If you want your reason for donating to appear on our Roll of Honour , which will run regularly in the newspaper and online and be updated throughout the campaign, please either include a note if sending a cheque, or email firstname.lastname@example.org using no more than 30 words for the dedication.