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Admiral Lord James de Saumarez Memorial

A new memorial for Guernsey's local naval hero


Admiral Lord James de Saumarez was born in St Peter Port, Guernsey on 11th March 1757 and died in his beloved island in 1836 after a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy with is contemporary Hopratio Nelson. His naval engagements included the Battle of the Nile, Battle of Alerziras, Defender of the Channel Islands, Bombardment of Granville and later the Baltic Mission where he defended Sweden against the French from 1807 to 1812. Read more about this great Britsih Admiral here 

Saumarez Memorial 1874. Courtesy of Guernsey Museum & Galleries, States of Guernsey, 2009 The States of Guernsey built a memorial to celebrate and remember his achievements with money raised through public subscription. The foundation stone for the monument was laid on 1 August 1876.

The 99 foot high granite memorial in Delancey Park was completed on 11 October 1877 and officially unveiled on 1 August 1878, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Nile where de Saumarez had been second in command.

On 7 December 1943 all except the base was demolished as the German Forces occupying the Channel Islands levelled many of the island's monuments and structures to clear fields of fire for their artillery batteries.

In 1954, after a debate spanning more than ten years, the States of Guernsey decided not to replace the monument and instead place the bronze plaques, which had adorned the memorial, in the outer bailey of Castle Cornet.

 

In 1874. Courtesy of Guernsey Museum & Galleries  

However, in 2009 a charitable organisation, the Admiral de Saumarez Trust, was set up to support community and island wide regeneration projects starting with Delancey Park, including the de Saumarez monument.

Guernsey's Lieutenant Governor, Sir Fabian Malbon is one of the patrons of the Trust, he said: "Admiral James de Saumarez was one of the remarkable figures in Guernsey's history. After an exceptional career in the Royal Navy, he spent 25 years in retirement engaged in charitable work for the Island community and good works abroad.

"Honouring him by creating a charitable initiative and reconstructing the monument is an appropriate way of bringing some of Guernsey's history back to life especially for young islanders."

The new monument will feature the original bronze plaques which will be moved back from Castle Cornet to the park and is being designed by architects Cresswell, Cuttle & Dyke.

Architect Andrew Dyke said "the proposed design will be a spirit of the original" adding, "it will be lit up with lights representing the constellations and stars with which the Admiral would have been very familiar for navigation purposes.

"The monument will be clearly visible from many parts of the Island and from the Northern and Eastern approaches."

Though still subject to planning permission the Trust hope work on the monument will be completed in time for Liberation Day 2010.

 
The proposed replacement memorial
  The proposed replacement memorial
 
Saumarez memorial plaque

Bronze Plaques

There were four plaques, one on each side of the memorial. One was a dedication of the memorial: "To James first Baron de Saumarez of Guernsey GCB, KS; DCL, Admiral of the Red, General of Marines, b.1757 d.1836. This memorial is erected by his fellow countrymen as a tribute of admiration to his heroism and Christian character. 1878."

The others are a head and shoulders relief of Lord de Saumarez, a frieze of the action off the west coast and a list of victories at sea during his career from 1778 to 1801.

 

Frieze of Crescent's escape from a French fleet Saumarez and the Crescent
 
 
 
 
 
 

  

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