Rachael Newton has shared the incredible story of her grandfather, Sargent-Major Robert Shaw who first British soldier to land on Guernsey soil after the liberation of the island from the German occupation.
Mr Shaw’s ship came into L’Ancresse Bay and Mr Shaw was the first to disembark, riding off on the landing craft on a motorcycle followed by a number of armoured vehicles. Mr Shaw “met no opposition whatsoever except for the mobbing of the soldiers by the hilariously enthusiastic population”. The first person he met was a local boy called John Rault who was cycling on the right hand side of the road. Mr Shaw stopped the little boy and told him to “cycle on the British side of the road which was the left hand side” as he was worried the little boy would be knocked over by the other vehicles behind him. Forty seven years later in 1992, Mr Shaw visited Guernsey from Scotland again to receive commemorative Liberation medallions with a number of other war veterans. After the local newspaper printed his story, the very same little boy, now an adult, Mr Rault read about the event in the local paper and remembered it and contacted Mr Shaw at the hotel he was staying in. The two met up, reconnected and re-told the story and stayed in touch until Mr Shaw passed away in 2005 aged 89.
The Shaw family are set to visit Guernsey from all corners of the world for this year's Liberation Day celebrations.