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Town Church service held for RGLI

News | Published:

THE woman who helped unveil an upgraded memorial to the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry in the Town Church on Saturday had not known until two months ago that her grandfather had fought with the regiment.

Organised by the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Charitable Trust, the service was an opportunity for families of RGLI members to remember the bravery and duty of their loved ones.

Sue Hunt’s grandfather, Private 257 Ernest Quevatre, was one the first men drafted. He left Guernsey aboard the SS Lydia on 1 June 1917 and remained with the regiment throughout its active service, witnessing bitter losses at Masnieres and Passchendaele.

Mrs Hunt said she had not known her grandfather, who died in 1957 and she knew nothing about him. When her father, Peter Quevatre, died on 30 September she found her grandfather’s service medals among his belongings.

‘There was an article in The Guernsey Press about RGLI war medals at about the same time so I contacted Chris Oliver [RGLICT trustee],’ she said.

‘He told my sister and I things we never knew about our grandfather. We’ve found it fascinating and we hope to find out more.’

The upgraded plaque commemorates the return and disbandment of the RGLI. There were 327 casualties and 667 wounded or missing from more than 2,280 Guernsey men who set out to fight on the Western Front.

Bailiff Sir Richard Collas attended the service along with representatives from Masnieres, the site of ‘Guernsey’s Finest Hour’.

Mrs Hunt unveiled the plaque with RGLICT trustee, Lt-Colonel retired, Colin Vaudin.

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‘As the events of the 100th anniversary of the First World War have concluded in most countries, remembering Guernsey’s place in history is vital and it speaks volumes that we were one of the last places touched by those dreadful events,’ said Lt-Col. Vaudin.

By the end of 1919 virtually every Guernsey family had been touched by loss.

The Dean of Guernsey The Very Rev. Tim Barker told the service that the Guernsey men’s willingness to fight in The Great War had been humbling and they were tiny cogs in a military machine.

The various parties were due to lay wreaths at the RGLI memorial in the Sunken Gardens. Given the forecast of bad weather for Saturday morning, they were laid at the foot of the plaque in the Town Church.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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