Royal Guernsey Light Infantry

From theislandwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was a regiment in the British Army that was formed from the Royal Guernsey Militia in 1916 to serve in World War I. They fought as part of the British 29th Division. Of the 2,280 Guernseymen who fought on the western front with the RGLI, 327 died and 667 were wounded.

Cap Badge of the RGLI

The regimental motto, Diex Aix, derives from the battle cry used by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings.

The Regiment lives on in the Guernsey Army Cadet Force (Det.) Light Infantry, who, although they do not wear the RGLI Cap Badge, still keep alive the history of the Regiment within the Detachment.

Contents

Brief History of the Regiment

1916

17 December

Royal Guernsey Light Infantry established. (Royal Guernsey Militia disbanded)

1917

Training in Guernsey at Fort George, L'Ancresse and Les Beaucamps

1 June

To England - Bourne Park Camp near Canterbury for advanced infantry training.

September

Soldiers sent on a final leave

26 September

The RGLI 1st Service Battalion (44 Officers and 964 other ranks) boarded trains to Southampton and onwards to France.

9-14 October

Battle of Poelcappelle (Part of Third Battle of Ypres, or ‘Passchendaele’). After this, rest and training for Cambrai.

20 November - 3 December

Battle of Cambrai, where the RGLI's role was to go through the Hindenburg Line after the first wave and take 'Nine Wood' to the north of Marcoing. This went according to plan, and they then moved into Marcoing and on to the front line at Masnières. The Guernseymen found themselves defending the small town of Les Rues Vertes against a huge and determined German counter-attack. They suffered heavy casualties, with nearly 40% of the regiment either killed or injured during the battle, but only withdrew when ordered to by the high command.
After this, rest, refitting, training.

1918

18-26 January

RGLI went back into the front line at St Jean (north east of Ypres). After this, work parties, training.

8-29 March

In Battle zone, front line at Poelcappelle. After this, rest and training

3-7 April

In front line, Passchendaele sector.

10-14 April

Battle of the Lys, east of Hazebrouck. German 6th Army under Von Quast smashes 5 miles through allied lines. The RGLI is bussed south to help stem the German advance. Hopelessly outnumbered, but holding the Germans in a fighting retreat from Doulieu to near Merris, the Battalion suffers appalling casualties for the second time in the war. The RGLI is relieved by the Australians.

30 April

The RGLI, withdrawn from the 29th Division and 86th Brigade, become GHQ troops well to the rear in Ecuires for the rest of the war and beyond.

1919

22 May

The RGLI return to Guernsey from France.

Honours & Awards

Order of St. Michael and St. George (Companion)
Thomas Lyttleton De Havilland, Lieutenant Colonel

Royal Victorian Order (5th Class)
Norman Redston Ingrouille, Lieutenant

Military Cross
Edgar James Stone, 2nd Lieutenant
Harry Easterbrook Knollys Stranger, 2nd Lieutenant
Herbert Arthur Le Bas, Captain
Ambrose Sherwill, Lieutenant
Frank de Mouilpied Lainé, Lieutenant

Distinguished Conduct Medal
Walter Herbert Budden, 569 Acting Sergeant
WIlliam J. Le Poidevin, 590 Sergeant
Harry Leonard James, 586 Sergeant

Military Medal
Thomas. R. Robin, 841 Private
Cecil H. Yeaghers, 610 Private
Joseph C. Sealley, 843 Corporal
Walter Gannicott, 335 Corporal
Winter T. Gregg, 87 Private

Médaille Militaire (France)
Joseph C. Sealley, 843 Corporal

Mentioned in Despatches
(Despatch from Sir Douglas Haig to the Secretary of State for War, 7 April 1918)
Edward Arthur Dorey, Temporary Lieutenant
Harry Jones, Temporary Lieutenant
Cecil C. Machon, 226 Lance Corporal
William T. Robinson, 1131 Lance Corporal

(Despatch from Sir Douglas Haig to the Secretary of State for War, 8 November 1918)
Charles W Hockey, 438, Lance Corporal

(Despatch from Sir Douglas Haig to the Secretary of State for War, 16 March 1919)
Norman Redston Ingrouille, Temporary Lieutenant
Albert J Murdoch, Quartermaster & Temporary Lieutenant
Albert Le Cheminant, 250, Colour Sergeant Major
William S. Sackett, 600, Company Quartermaster Sergeant

Poetry

Stanley Blicq's Norman Ten Hundred, an eyewitness account of the RGLI in action
See ye Masnières canal a'flood
And where yon green graves lay?
There Norman warriors fled to their God
Ne'er more to glimpse the day.
But writ there, first, a name in blood-
Norman Ten Hundred.
At Doulieu, the night birds flit
Across yon blue-grey water.
And at dusk ghost warriors sit-
Wraiths of a fearsome slaughter.
There too in blood the name is writ-
Norman Ten Hundred.
And thus there the battle's flame
Laid men out fast and low,
So young Sarnia died, but Fame
Cast o'er their graves its glow,
And honours wove about the name
Norman Ten Hundred.

(From Blicq, A Stanley, Norman Ten Hundred, Guernsey Press, 1920)

External links

The Channel Islands and the Great War Study Group
Other Links

References

  • Blicq, A Stanley, Norman Ten Hundred, Guernsey Press, 1920
  • Parks, Major Edwin, Diex Aix: God Help Us - The Guernseymen who marched away 1914-1918, States of Guernsey, 1992
Personal tools
Donate

Please support theislandwiki.org with a donation to our hosting costs