It was on 30 November 1917 that the RGLI’s first major action in the Battle of Cambrai took place at Les Rues Vertes, Masnieres, in what is now known as Guernsey’s finest hour.
The event will see the rededication and extension of the RGLI memorial plaque in the Town Church and the formal twinning of St Peter Port with the town of Masnieres, where so many of the RGLI died and a large number remain missing.
The public are invited to participate in the parade at the RGLI memorial in the Sunken Garden and the service of commemoration in the Town Church.
The Bailiff, Sir Richard Collas, said over the last four years the story of the RGLI has been brought back to the public consciousness.
‘From our small islands, the “Norman Ten Hundred”, as they were affectionately known, fought with immense bravery on the battlefields of Cambrai and Lys and many were not to return,’ he said.
‘These commemorative events are an opportunity for us to pay tribute to their service and sacrifice and I would encourage everyone to attend.’
Chris Oliver, chairman of the RGLI charitable trust, which has organised the event, said one of the key goals of the trust has been to raise these memorials to the men of the RGLI.
‘As my fellow trustee said when the RGLI memorial was unveiled in Masnieres: “It may not be the biggest memorial, or the most ornate, but it is ours – and that is what matters. It is our tribute to our forefathers and that small part of France will be forever Guernsey”.
‘On the 102nd anniversary of the battle we now have the opportunity to gather for a final time to remember the men of the RGLI and I hope family members and members of the public will join us,’ he said.
St Peter Port constable Dennis Le Moignan said: ‘It is an honour to recognise the historic link between St Peter Port and Masnieres by this twinning declaration.
‘The link between us was forged by war, but in memory of those men we look forward to the future by building an enduring relationship based on a mutual commitment to peace and friendship.’
The formal twinning ceremony between St Peter Port and Masnieres will take place at 2pm at Hauteville House in the presence of the Bailiff, constables and douzeniers of St Peter Port and the mayor and representatives from Masnieres.
. 9.30am – Parade assembles at the Sunken Garden
. 10am – Wreath laying at the Sunken Garden in the presence of the Bailiff, the Seigneur of Sark, the Mayor of Masnieres and other dignitaries.
. 10.30am – Parade to Town Church
. 10.50am – Service of commemoration and rededication in Town Church by the Dean of Guernsey
. 11.45am – Unveiling of the ‘twinning’ sign between St Peter Port and Masnieres at the Weighbridge.