Guernsey’s Finest Hour


‘The Germans will never get me,’ said Fred... and they didn’t

The Germans blew his legs off in the Battle of Cambrai – and then blew his second set up in the Second World War. Yet Private Frederick James Mahy lived a full and useful life, raising a large family, working on property and in greenhouses andusing ingenious methods of getting around, using his fists ‘almost as legs’. As the island commemorates the brave men who fought with the RGLI, Nick Le Messurier talks to Fred’s daughter Brenda about her extraordinary father

A freedom close to our hearts

THAT the Liberation Day events had a strong Armed Forces theme at their heart is particularly poignant in the light of two key Guernsey military anniversaries this year. Liberation 2017 saw the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF represented on a day the island remembers finally being freed from our five long, dark years of Occupation. Among their itinerary for this important day of remembrance, reflection and celebration – 72 years on from 9 May 1945 – was the Liberation Church Parade. Led by the Band of The Queen’s Division, it performed a special anthem in memory of the Battle of Cambrai.

Working with horses helped to bring dad home from war


Ron Le Page and daughter Yvonne are two of the many islanders supporting our Guernsey’s Finest Hour campaign on behalf of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Charitable Trust’s bid to raise £30,000 for lasting memorials to the regiment at home and abroad. In this the centenary year of the notorious Battle of Cambrai, here they explain the poignant family reason behind their donation

Don’t forget Doulieu

I AM delighted to see the Guernsey Press is supporting the RGLI Charitable Trust’s splendid initiative to raise funds for memorials to the RGLI, one at Les Rues Vertes, near Cambrai in France, and another in the Town Church. However, there seems to be little mention of Doulieu, battle of the Lys, where so many men also fell during that gallant, catastrophic fighting withdrawal against overwhelming force which marked the end of the RGLI as a combat unit. The only mention I have found is in the GP Opinion column of 23 October 2016, that states the Town Church memorial will include those ‘... who faced later final action at Doulieu...’.

News from the front line


A HUNDRED years ago this year, at the height of the First World War, the newly formed Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was involved in a bloody and brutal battle at the small town of Masnieres, near the French city of Cambrai. They fought bravely but suffered terrible casualties. But how much did the families of these soldiers, many of whom would never come back, know about the action? Nick Le Messurier finds out how it was reported at the time

Special film is made for RGLI


A SPECIAL film about the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry will help people around the world see where the local regiment once walked, 100 years ago.

Guernsey's Finest Hour Roll of Honour

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LISTED here are donors who have backed our 'Guernsey's Finest Hour' Appeal, launched to help the RGLI Charitable Trust raise £30,000 to fund memorials at home and abroad to the RGLI, in this centenary year of the notorious WWI Battle of Cambrai. The fighting against massed German troops on the Western Front saw hundreds of Guernseymen lose their lives, with hundreds more left wounded or missing. Many were friends and family and the conflict and losses would go on to affect generations of islanders. The roll appears in our newspaper and online and will be updated as the appeal continues. Some donors also share their reasons for giving...

Guernsey's Finest Hour: ‘RGLI men knew it would be hellish’


THE brave soldiers of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry knew they were heading into hellish conditions in the trenches, Royal British Legion Guernsey branch president Major Bob Place has said, as he praised plans for two memorials to the hundreds who died on the French battlefields.

Guernsey's Finest Hour - Bravery in our name


IT WAS the first of June, and after a cold wet winter, the sun was shining on the faces of the young soldiers parading on Belvedere Field, Fort George. Hundreds of people, wives and children, sweethearts, mothers and fathers, friends, well-wishers, watched and cheered. Many followed as the soldiers turned from the field and marched down through St Peter Port to the harbour, where more cheering people waited to watch them board the SS Lydia, with their regimental mascot ‘Joey’ the Donkey.

Guernsey's Finest Hour: A lasting tribute to the finest

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AS A tiny community on the global map, Guernsey often punches well above its weight on the international stage. Yet one moment in our history for which no one could deny us our national pride was a battle in 1917 in a corner of Northern France. While the bitter and bloody Great War raged throughout Europe, the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was playing its part in the conflict and defending the freedom we all enjoy today.

Help us mark ‘Guernsey’s Finest Hour’ centenary

Ministry Of Information First World War Official Collection

ON THE 99th anniversary of a First World War battle that left its mark on our island forever, campaigners have today confirmed that memorials to mark ‘Guernsey’s Finest Hour’ will definitely go ahead if funds are raised.

Marking Guernsey’s ‘finest hour’

IT HAS been hailed ‘Guernsey’s finest hour’, yet visit the scene of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry’s most historic battle and there is neither a reminder nor memorial. The local infantry regiment of the British Army, formed in 1916, would a year later fight in the now notorious Battle of Cambrai, defending the small French town of Les Rues Vertes against German counter-attacks. Fated to become a place name ingrained on the island’s memory forever it was the scene of appalling losses, with 40% of the regiment either killed, wounded or missing.