Guernsey Press

‘Sunken Gardens is a great spot to have RGLI memorial’

A MEMORIAL to the men of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry could be placed in the Sunken Gardens in St Peter Port, if planners approve an application from the RGLI Trust.

RGLI Trust co-founder Chris Oliver at the Sunken Gardens, where the group plan to install a memorial to the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 20679658)

The trust was behind a commemorative stone that was unveiled in Masnieres, France, last year to commemorate the Battle of Cambrai, in which many members of the RGLI lost their lives.

The plan now is to have a similar stone monument created on-island, aimed at remembering the RGLI as a whole.

Trustee Chris Oliver said the fundraising for the Masnieres memorial (and a smaller one in the Town Church), which was backed by the Guernsey Press’s Guernsey’s Finest Hour campaign, had raised more than the £30,000 target. ‘We had a wish list if we could do more,’ he said. ‘And we can do more.’

The idea it has picked up on is to commemorate another major conflict in RGLI history, the Battle of the Lys, which started on 9 April 1918 and lasted 20 days.

But although Mr Oliver said it is hoped to unveil the memorial in April, it will be a tribute to the RGLI generally rather than commemorating a specific battle.

‘We have memorials all over the island for the First World War and they have Second World War names on them, as well as people from other conflicts,’ said Mr Oliver. This one would be a specific focal point for the RGLI.

Stone for the monument will be Guernsey granite and diorite from Ronez, which supplied the Masnieres stone, while Vaudin Stonemasons will carve the inscription, just as it did previously.

‘At the moment we have applied for permission to have that site,’ said Mr Oliver. ‘We have our fingers crossed, but everyone has been very positive.’

He said the trust was working with a utility which is due to carry out work in the Sunken Gardens and if permission is given it is hoped to have it officially renamed as the RGLI Memorial Garden.

‘There’s been some major remedial work down there and this is a great opportunity.

‘We wanted somewhere we could put this stone that would be central and accessible and where people could get out and see it and remember what happened 100 years ago,’ said Mr Oliver. ‘We just thought, “what a great spot to have a memorial”.’