Armistice Day Service recognises reconciliation
THIS year’s Combined Nations Armistice Day Service at Fort George’s Military Cemetery strengthened the relationship between the island and Germany.
The Monday morning service saw around 30 people turn out to mark the armistice truce signed between the Allies and Germany to end the First World War and pay their respects to the fallen with a two-minute silence at 11am.
The initiative follows several years of an informal service held on Armistice Day, organised in St Peter Port, in cooperation with the Honorary German Consul with the blessing of Guernsey’s Royal British Legion.
St Peter Port constable Dennis Le Moignan said it was a service of remembrance and commemoration.
‘It recognises the importance of reconciliation,’ he said.
‘[This] is reflected so well in our military cemetery, where former enemies now lie alongside each other in their final, peaceful resting place.’
Led by the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Rev. Tim Barker, the service started at the British memorial, with the second half taking place at the German memorial.
Visiting officers from the Allied Rapid Response Corps, based in Gloucester, attended the service, alongside members of the Royal British Legion, the Lt-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, the Bailiff Sir Richard Collas and a number of the island’s veterans.
German Army captain Sebastian Kuhne said he was very happy to return to the island after his visit last year.
‘It was a very moving ceremony,’ he said.
‘When the trumpet plays the Last Post and there is the laying of poppy wreaths it’s quite emotional. There are so many people who remember the war and the fallen.
‘Our intention is to further relations between ourselves and Guernsey and we want to thank the people of Guernsey for welcoming us.’
The exhortation was read by Major Bob Place, head of the Royal British Legion in Guernsey, who said the service would continue.
‘It’s a very moving ceremony,’ he said.
‘It is an act of reconciliation and remembrance and we want to maintain this relationship between our nations.’
Wreaths were laid at both the British memorial and the German memorial.
Alderney also remembered the fallen with a parade and a service on Sunday, which saw veterans, service personnel and children participate.