Island part of service to mark Amiens centenary

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GUERNSEY was represented at a commemoration service at Amiens Cathedral in northern France to mark the centenary of a battle which marked the beginning of the end of the First World War.

Representatives of the Crown Dependencies at the Battle of Amiens commemoration service. Left to right: Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey’s External Relations minister, Howard Quayle MHK, chief minister of the Isle of Man, and Deputy Richard Graham, vice-president of Education, Sport & Culture.

The Battle of Amiens in 1918 saw the start of what became known as the Hundred Days Offensive and the eventual path to peace.

It has been called the most important battle the British Army has ever fought, with heavy casualties on both sides.

Although the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry has been withdrawn from frontline service, Guernsey-born men continued to serve with other regiments.

Some 19 local men died in France in August 1918 and three were likely have done so in the course of this battle.

Many Guernsey-born men were also serving with Canadian, Australian or French regiments.

The commemoration service was hosted by the UK government in partnership with the governments of Australia, Canada, France and the USA.

Education, Sport & Culture vice-president Richard Graham, who had a 28-year army career, said: ‘It was an honour to represent Guernsey at the commemoration service in Amiens.

‘The battle was one of the most important points in the war and, though they did not know it at the time, those who fought in this battle were just a few months away from securing peace in Europe.’

He added: ‘The immensely moving ceremony in the stunning Amiens cathedral was an important reminder of all that we owe to those brave individuals who sacrificed so much during the conflict, including the Guernseymen who formed part of the Allied effort both in this battle and throughout the war.’

Also attending the event was the Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister Theresa May and Jersey’s external relations minister Senator Ian Gorst, as well as the families of some of those who served in the battle.

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