People in Guernsey have come together to reflect on the deaths of 21 sailors who were buried on the island when their ships were sunk during World War II.

In 1943, two British naval ships - HMS Charybdis and HMS Limbourne - were struck down as a result of a German torpedo attack. The two shipwrecks lie 80 miles off the coast of Brittany.

Members from the community and Guernsey Association of Royal Navy and Royal Marines (GARNRM) joined together at Le Foulon cemetery to commemorate the men whose final resting place became Guernsey.

The lives of 500 sailors were lost at sea. Some bodies washed ashore on the French coast, some on Jersey's coast and 21 swept onto Guernsey.

During the days that followed the 23 October, bodies of the sailors washed up on Guernsey's West Coast Credit: ITV Channel TV

Chris Wellsby is the President of Guernsey Association of Royal Navy and Royal Marines (GARNRM). He believes the sinking of HMS Charybdis and HMS Limbourne was somewhat overshadowed by the many tragic events of World War II.

It’s an important factor for Guernsey to stand proud of what happened all those years ago and actually to say, we are still very much committed to our Armed Forces and the remembrance of them. >

Chris Wellsby
Chris goes into local schools to teach children about the events of 1943 Credit: ITV Channel TV

The presence of occupying forces in Guernsey did not deter the community from giving the sailors the burial they deserved. German forces allowed the islanders to give the men a ceremonial, military burial.

More than 5,000 people turned out with 900 wreaths and floral tributes at Le Foulon cemetery as the community came together in an act of defiance to honour those that died.

  • WATCH: Marina Jenkins' full report on the ceremony to honour the sailors who washed ashore when HMS Charybdis and HMS Limbourne were sunk in a torpedo attack.