22nd August 1919

St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide

St Sampson residents had a nasty shock on 22 August 1919. Going about their business on what they took to be a regular Friday night, they were startled by what sounded like an earthquake. It was so loud that it could be heard across most of Guernsey. People ran out of their homes to see what had happened.

Neighbours discovered that the noise had been caused by 10,000 tons of granite and rubble sliding down the western slope of the 45m (150ft) deep Longue Hougue Quarry. At that time, the quarry belonged to Messers Menuelle and Co.

A fatality

It wasn’t only granite that had fallen, though. The landslip had taken a garden and washhouse from Church Road with it, and buried 83-year-old Mrs Martin, who had been waiting in her garden for her husband to arrive home.

The Scotsman reported,

Eye-witnesses state that they saw Mrs Martin in the garden when a rumbling noise was heard. They shouted to the old lady to get clear, and she endeavoured to do so, but in vain, and disappeared screaming.

Although a search party immediately started to dig through the rubble, Mrs Martin was not found.

The Western Times reported,

There seems to be no possibility of reaching her body, as some of the slabs of granite weigh hundreds of tons.

Whether the landslip had loosened other rocks itself, or they were all destined to fall sooner or later, isn’t clear. Either way, that wasn’t the only landslide the quarry saw that day. A second slip happened around midnight.

It was estimated that the quarry would take two years to recover from the landslide, which covered an area of 90m (300ft) by 20m (70ft).

The quarry has since been flooded and now forms the Longue Houge Reservoir at St Sampson.


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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st