Yesterday (4 Jun) His Excellency, alongside the Bailiff Sir Richard Collas and a number of French dignatories, inspected a parade commemorating the departure of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry for active service in WW1, 100 years ago.
Hundreds of men and women, boys and girls, marched the same route from Belvedere Field to the White Rock that was taken by the 1000 strong RGLI battalion on 1st June 1917. That evening they sailed for further training on the mainland and eventual deployment to the front lines in France where they fought with distinction, most notably at the Battle of Cambrai. Taking part in the parade were representatives from the 3rd Bn Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment (including their Band), a detatchment of the Jersey Field Squadron, the crew of the French Naval ship TENACE, a platoon of Bailiwick veterans, detachments from various cadet and youth organisations, school children from across the Bailiwick, the Guernsey Military History Company, and a donkey named 'Charlie'.
After the inspection, the Dean of Guernsey led a traditional drumhead service which included messages from both the Bailiff and Senator Phillipe Bas, President of the French Department of La Manche. In the afternoon, the Lieutenant-Governor attended a service of dedication in the Town Church at which a plaque to remember all the islanders who served and died in the RGLI was unveiled by Mrs Brenda Bougourd, last surviving child of Private Frederick Mahy who lost both his legs fighting with the battalion in France. In his address to the congregation, Sir Ian said we should 'dwell on the memory of the RGLI, not only in thanks for their service and sacrifice, but also in the profound hope that we are wise enough to ensure that, never again, will we ask future generations to endure the same'. For the full text of the address follow this link [128kb].
After the service, His Excellency and Lady Corder entertained the organisers and visiting French dignatories to tea at Government House.