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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 423

Pair: Private A. M. Renouf, Royal Guernsey Light Infantry

British War and Victory Medals (1201 Pte. A. M. Renouf, R. Guernsey L.I.), nearly extremely fine (2)

Arthur Renouf was one of very few men of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry to survive both the Battle of Cambrai and the Battle of Lys; at the former, the Guernsey's were ordered to hold a little village called Les Rues Vertes on the outskirts of Masnieres on the River Escaut. Hold it they did, twice being almost pushed out by weight of numbers and twice retaking the village at the point of the bayonet. At the end of the Battle of Cambrai, 40% of the Battalion's total strength of 1311 all ranks were killed, wounded or posted missing. After Cambrai, such was the slaughter, that there was a real danger that the R.G.L.I.'s service battalion would be disbanded, there being no more Guernsey lads to fill the ranks.

During the early part of 1918 they were in the line at Passchendaele where the awful conditions resulted in almost as many casualties as did German fire. The Portuguese Division, new to the line, broke and ran, and 29th Division, including the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry were rushed in to desperately attempt to stem the advance. In the action which followed on 11 April 1918, the vast majority of the Battalion became casualties. Lieutenant-Colonel T. L. De Havilland took into action 20 officers and 483 men but just three days later he was reduced to just 3 officers and 55 other ranks. Eventually, the German attack ran out of steam and the Battalion played a crucial part in stemming the advance, but at a terrible cost; many at home considered it the end of a generation in Guernsey. The island watched on as the casualty returns grew and grew until there was hardly a family that had not suffered.

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