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13 November 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > Places > Local Events > 2009 Liberation Grosse Rocque flag raised

Grosse Rocque flag

The 2009 flag flies on Grosse Rocque

2009 Liberation Grosse Rocque flag raised

The tradition of annually raising a flag over Grosse Rocque has been in the island from before the Second World War.

Before the 1939-45 War the Union Flag was annually raised on Grosse Rocque, a large rock one mile off the coast from Cobo Bay, on the August Bank Holiday.

The German Occupying Forces did not allow this tradition to continue during their time in control of the island but after the Liberation of Guernsey on 9 May 1945 Fred Martel decided he wanted to place a flag on the rock to celebrate the island's liberation.

He was rowed out to Grosse Rocque by Henry Guilbert and ran the Union Flag up the mast.

Grosse Rocque flag

John Chick raising the flag

From 1948 this act has been commemorated by the raising of a new Union Flag, and later a Guernsey flag, every Liberation Day after it has been blessed in a simple ceremony, usually by the vicar of St Matthews' Church, and taken out to the flagpole by fishermen.

The strong wind and waves that hit the West Coast throughout the year mean that very little of the flag is left when it is replaced by the new one.

In 2009 Fred Martel's son-in-law John Chick was asked to raise the flag.

Fred's Daughter Sally Chick said, "It was a lovely morning, many turned out for the ceremony on the slipway. I only wish my father was alive today to see this happening."

Among the crowd that gathered for the blessing and to see the flag raised was former fisherman Herbert Nicholls who for many years took Fred out to Grosse Rocque.

last updated: 11/05/2009 at 17:21
created: 11/05/2009

You are in: Guernsey > Places > Local Events > 2009 Liberation Grosse Rocque flag raised

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