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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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Bailiwick of Guernsey War Memorial

Bailiwick Memorial

Guernsey decided to erect a War Memorial whilst Jersey chose a Cenotaph to commemorate those who had fallen in the Great War.

It was unveiled on Sunday 19th September 1926 by Guernsey's Lieutenant Governor, Major-General The Honourable Sir Charles Sackville-West, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., with the Bailiff, Sir Havilland de Saumarez presiding.

The memorial has a fascinating history.


Some Early Proposals

Obelisk at the Cotils

The Cotils

Final location

Smith Street Plantation Site

A Possible Design

Guernsey Weekly Press, 1920

After a long delay a definitive and satisfactory idea for an Island War Memorial has arrived, and we have before us as we write a very clever sketch and outline plan drawn by Mr J G West, O.B.E., of London, for the erection of a massive obelisk at the Belvedere at the Cotils, on the site of the recent landslide.

There has been inevitable delay in bringing any formulative plan into being, for, of course, there were so many opinions on the question of a site and of the form of the Memorial. All the parishes have been in council on the matter and various schemes have been mentioned.

It was with a mandate from this island-wide representation that a Sub-Committee was elected to bring into shape a scheme which would be considered to meet with the widest public approval. This Sub-Committee was composed of Messrs. H. G. Le Cheminant, A. A. Veal, P. V Dorey, G. F. Peek and E. W. Hutton. These gentlemen at once set to work to get a very competent authority in the Art World as their adviser, and wrote asking for this assistance to the Board of Works, London.

As a result of these negotiations Mr. J. G. West, O.B.E., who took such a prominent part in the erection of the great Cenotaph in Whitehall, visited Guernsey a fortnight ago, and after conferring with the sub-committee at length, submitted plans and reasons for the selection of the Cotils site.

There were three selected sites. The Emplacement by the Market Halls where, obviously, three pedastals cry for some Memorial, the plantation at the top of Smith-street, and the neighbourhood of St. Julian's Weighbridge. The Cotils had been suggested and turned down. For various reasons distant visibility and situation near populous districts, this site is considered by Mr. West as unsurpassable for the proposed Island Memorial and he has submitted a series of elevations, a plan, and a charming perspective sketch of the obelisk at the Cotils. It is proposed to carry it out in the lightest tint of grey Guernsey granite. Some indication of the size may be gathered at the site at the Cotils, for Mr. Guilbert, the States Surveyor, has placed a 50 ft flagstaff there, which will give the height the obelisk would obtain, and, of course, the points of vantage from which it would be seen.

The proposed Memorial, it pleasing to learn, will have the actual consideration of no less an eminent authority than Sir Edward Lutyens, for a letter from that gentleman states that he is gratified to learn Mr. West has been consulted, and that he will be pleased to give him all the advice and co-operation he can. The cost is estimated at £3,000.

A lot must have happened between 1920 and 1921 as the Cotils plan was abandoned in favour of the final design and site as shown below.

From the Guernsey Press, January 1921.

"Our War Memorial"

The Local War Memorial Committee met again on Thursday under the presidency of Sir Edward C. Ozanne, K.B.E. Designs for war memorials, of other than the Cenotaph type, have been collected and examined. The decision of the meeting finally arrived at was to erect a cross of Guernsey granite in the plantation at the top of Smith St. It is proposed to erect the cross on an octagonal base; the faces of the octagon to bear bronze plates inscribed with the names of those of Guernsey birth who fell in the Great War.

An estimate of the approximate cost is being invited from the designers. It is felt that by executing the Memorial in our splendid local stone an imperishable monument will be obtained which will be the work of local stone dressers.

As soon as the estimate is received, the recommended design will be reproduced in the local press and a public meeting held to ratify the selection.

Final Design & Location

Original sketch

St George was sculpted by Alfred Dury R.A. and the bronze founders were Messrs J W Singer & Co. of Frome in Somerset. The company is still in business, albeit with a new owner.


They are remembered at the Frome Museum.

The final choice of memorial was designed by Gervase F Peek and constructed by John H Le Page of Westbrook, St. Sampson's.


Unveiling Ceremony in 1926

Unveiling Ceremony in 1926

A coloured view. Pre-1950

A coloured view. Pre-1950

In the background is St. Paul's Church - demolished in the early 1970s

Guernsey Weekly Press, Saturday 25th September 1926 - Report on unveiling

Unveiling Ceremony order of proceedings

List of names

1926 names appeal

With thanks to the Guernsey Press and Priaulx Library & Guernsey Museums

Roger Frisby 2007

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