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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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April 2019

245 (Guernsey) Coy. Army Troop R.E. Bridge Building under shellfire.

September 1918, The company was refitted and moved to Ypres and Poperinge area. A party of them was sent to a place close to Dickebush to construct a heavy bridge to enable the tanks to take part in an advance. This work was completed under shell fire, and two men were gassed. The bridge was visited in April 2019

March 2018

Mark Bougourd has produced a detailed list Channel Islands submariners. It was presented to Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey, His Excellency Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder KBE, CB on the 2nd anniversery of his appointment. Sir Ian spend many years serving in the Submarine Service.

Channel Island Submariners



November 2017

2017 saw two memorials to the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry unveiled

The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Charitable Trust funded and organised the events


RGLI Index Page

The first was to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of their departure from Guernsey and consisted of a plaque in Town Church, St Peter Port.


The second was at Les Rue Vertes, Masnieres, near Cambrai, the site of the Regiment's participation in the Battle of Cambrai in December 1917.


Photographs of the event

Channel Television's report from Masnieres.

Group members were in attandance and a wreath, on behalf of the Group, was laid.

A copy of " A Guernseyman Goes to War" by Liz Walton was presented to the Mayor of Masnieres


Brief report

October 2016

As part of the French Ambassador's visit to Guernsey, a wreath laying ceremony took place at the War Memorial, Smith St, to commemorate the Battle of Verdun and the loss of local French residents in WW1.

Two wreath bearers, in French uniform, were provided by the Guernsey Military History company.


September 2016

The Guernsey Military History Company presented a public weekend to show the lives of those going to fight on the Somme. This was held at Candie Gardens in St Peter Port with the help of the Guernsey Museums Service. More

July 2016

Two Group members were successful in the ballot for tickets to the official centenary event commemorating the Battle of the Somme at Thiepval. This enabled four members to attend. Wreaths were laid at Thiepval to remember Channel Islanders lost on the Somme and one at Guillemont for those in the Irish regiments. Full report

May 2016

The Battle of Jutland was commemorated on 31st of May in Orkney and a Group member was able to attend. Full report

November 2015

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has confirmed that they will be erecting a new headstone for Able Seaman John Helman in St Andrew's churchyard, Guernsey. AB Helman was was recently recognised for commemoration, by the Commission, following extensive information supplied to them by the CIGWSG.

4th August - Jersey

An exhibition of stories from the First World War opened at the Jersey Museum.The Voices of the Great War exhibition tells the stories of twelve Islanders whose lives were altered by the First World War.The exhibition coincides with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in August 1914 and will be on display until December. The event is free to Jersey Heritage Members and Jersey Pass Holders

Hundreds are expected to pack out Jersey's Royal Square this evening (4th August) to remember 100 years since the start of the First World War. Civil dignitaries, locals and members of the faith community will gather from 9pm for a special ceremony of light.

A narrated evening of music and readings will be accompanied by projections of scenes from the Great War.

4th August - Sark

Sark will be commemorating the centenary of The Great War with a service at St Peter's from 11 am, Monday 4th August.During the service, the names of the men who lost their lives in the conflict will be read out by school children.The Seigneur of Sark, JM Beaumont OBE, will then unveil a commemorative plaque marking the centenary.

Enamel poppies will also be permanently fixed to the headstones of those who served.

A Vin D'Honneur in the island hall will then be laid on for residents. There will be chance to view an exhibition of Sark World War One medals and memorabilia.The exhibition will be open to the public for the remainder of the week from 10 am until 4 pm daily.

Families will also be presented with a copy of the Men of Sark book, which records details of all the men who served during the First World War.

In the evening, the Sark branch of the Royal British Legion will be holding a candle lit vigil at the island's memorial.

4th August - Guernsey

On 4th August the bells of Town Church, St Peter Port will ring to remember each of the Guernsey dead of the Great War
More details

The Town Church, Guernsey, Summer Music series will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the The Great War with a concert of music and readings on Monday 4th August at 8pm. Admission free, retiring collection. Further details can be found here

An ecumenical service organised by the Bailiff of Guernsey to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War will be held next week. The Service will be led by the Senior Vice Dean, Rev. Kevin Northover, and Chief Minister, Deputy Rev. Jonathan Le Tocq will be the preacher.
His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, the Bailiff and Jurats of the Royal Court will all be in attendance. The Guernsey Concert Brass will be providing music for the service, which is open for all islanders to attend, and join in commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The service will take place on Monday 4th August, at St. Paul’s Sunken Garden at 11am. It is expected to last around 40 minutes.

Alderney Great War talk

Liz Walton gave the annual Mendham Memorial Lecture in the Island Hall, Alderney, on Thursday 24th July. About 120 people attended a presentation entitled "The Channel Islands and the Great War". It covered topics such as why war broke out on such a large scale, involvement of local Militias, French Reservists and British Garrison troops in the islands, volunteers and conscripts, the role of women and the home front. She took the audience through the major events of the war in chronological order, with examples of Channel Islanders' involvement at each stage. Emphasis was placed on how Alderney's experience was different from that of the other islands, and events specific to the island such as the murder at Fort Albert were mentioned. Each section finished with a summary of Alderney men lost in that year. The presentation concluded with the aftermath of the war- Spanish flu, effect of events on the population as a whole, and finally the fact that only 20 years later all the residents had to leave their island home which was taken over by the Germans for 5 years. Questions were taken at the end, and main topics of interest appeared to be the men who died who are not on the island memorial, and conscription in view of the fact that King John's charter said that this could only happen in exceptional circumstances

Press Appeals

With the centenary of the start of the Great War in mind, we need help from decendants of those who served in the Great War to help ensure that our Rolls of Honour and Service are as accurate and complete as possible. With this in mind, appeals for information have recently been published in the Jersey Evening Post and the Guernsey Press. Family members are coming forward with documents, photographs and and recollections for us to add and also to verify the accurancy of our Rolls.

Various publications from Group members are planned for this anniversery.

Faces of the Great War

The First World War had an enormous effect on Jersey. Approximately 20% of the population served in some way. The purpose of this project is to gather images of those Islanders whoplayed their part in the Great War as servicemen or civilians.

Jersey Heritage is holding Islandwide collecting days. We are inviting parishioners to bring along their photographs, letters
and objects relating to the Great War to be recorded, scanned and photographed. More information

Guernsey's New Militia Museum

The newly refurbished Royal Guernsey Militia Museum in Castle Cornet was opened on the 24th May, 2011 by the new Lieutenant Governor, Air Marshal Peter Walker CB, CBE. More

Short Courses in Jersey

In a series of short courses at Highlands College, starting in May and June 2011, Group member Ian Ronayne will be examining key conflicts and their affects on Jersey. More detail here.

Non Commemoration

It is hoped that in the next few months, fifteen Jerseymen and three Guernseymen who died during the Great War will at last be commemorated in the CWGC’s Debt of Honour Register............


Their Past Your Future, which runs from January 2007 to the end of 2009, is led by a partnership of; the Imperial War Museum; Museums, Libraries and Archives England; Northern Ireland Museum Council; National Library of Wales, and; Scottish Museums Council. The programme is supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Students from Guernsey's Ladies' College are one of the winners of the current competition with their project to research Guernseymen who served in the Canadian forces in the Great War. Supported by information from the Imperial War Museum and material from this site, they have visited London, France, Belgium and Canada. A website records their progress and includes audio and video recorded and edited by them: TPYFLadiesCollege

CAMBRAI - Guernseymen and The Great War - An exhibition to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai in the First World War during which 40% of men in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry were either killed, wounded or listed as missing.

It was the end of a generation and the huge losses shocked the island to its core. The exhibition gives an overview of the Great War and focuses on the role of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry within the conflict.

The Channel Islands Great War Study Group has worked with the Museums Service in collating and supplying information for the exhibition.


The exhibition ran from 3rd November - 31 December 2007 at:
The Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery at Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey.

Journey's End

Journey's End at Elizabeth College

A great success

Pictures of the set

Search the site with Google

Google Custom Search

A Site Search Facility has now been added. This will also search for names or topics in copies of the Journal

Mike and Rosemarie Thomas have spent many years photographing cemeteries and headstones in Belgium, France and Jersey. They have also researched the personal details of the soldiers found.

Their cooperation is enabling us to add a wealth of detail to the Jersey Roll of Honour.

Family information in both Rolls of Honour has recently been expanded greatly. This work continues.

BBC Radio Guernsey broadcast a live interview from Ploegsteert Memorial to mark the 90th anniversary of the R.G.L.I.s part in the Battle of the Lys.

Listen from here.

Group member Elizabeth Morey has been Elected as Chair-Person of the New Zealand branch of the Western Front Association

11 November 2008 is the ninetieth anniversary of the Armistice, which brought the First World War to an end
The Imperial War Museum is marking this with special displays and events at four of it's locations.

View details

The introduction of the tank is shown in two videos:

Tanks - The Wonder Weapon

A Jersey tank commander - Second Lieutenant Edward Francis de Faye

Jersey is marking the anniversary with a full programme of events including the digging and manning of re-creation of a Great War front-line trench.

Full videos now online

Commemorating in Jersey the 90th Anniversary of the end of the Great War - Photographs

Non Commemoration News

Captain Alwin Claydon Bailey and Private Albert Warne have now been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC and that we have approached them a second time with more evidence to do likewise for Able Seaman John Helman*. Liz Walton has discovered that Helman went into the Brompton Hospital/Sanatorium a few days after his discharge from the Navy!

Gunner Yves Blaise, buried at Foulon in Guernsey, is now properly commemorated by the CWGC. Previously, they had mistakenly commemorated his brother Emile.

Commencing in late-January 2011, the CIGWSG is starting to collect a range of data that will become the evidence required by the UK Ministry of Defence and the CWGC to enable those organisations to accept that an individual should be recognised.

The men are as follows:

Jerseymen: Walter Cheney*, Alfred Poingdestre*, Thomas Ounan*, Walter Orange*, Harold Mutton*, Edward Syvret*, Thomas Whittle*, William Turner*, Auguste Jouanne*, Charles Pirouet, Cubitt Rundle, Wilfred Le Breton*, John Vibert, John (Jack) Ellis* and Joseph Lihou*.

Guernseymen: John William Helman*, Ira Louis Le Messurier, Joseph Lihou* and William John Le Noury*. Several others are being considered for submission.

Is your ancestor’s name on the list, and do you have any of his old documents that could be copied and used as part of the evidence? The Group would welcome hearing from you and invites you to get in touch using our contact form.

*Now accepted by CWGC



An Old Victorian and a member of Jersey’s Militia who served as a member of the Australian Imperial Forces during the Great War, Sergeant Chester Cecil Church is believed to be one of the (approximately) 400 men whose remains have recently been discovered in a mass grave at Pigeon Wood, Fromelles that was originally dug by the Germans after the Battle of Fromelles on 19th/20th July, 1916. The remains of these men are currently being disinterred, and will be subject to DNA analysis in the hope that some men can be identified. A new cemetery is being constructed for their re-interment which will take place in 2010. It is not currently known whether Chester Church had any relatives.

Book review by Peter Tabb

'Ours'. The Jersey Pals in the first World War

After five years of research, Study Group member Ian Ronayne has produced an account of the 300+ men who formed the Jersey Overseas Contingent (the “Jersey Pals”), and who left the Island to serve with the Royal Irish Rifles, and later, of the survivors who continued with the Hampshire Regiment. Ian’s efforts has ensured that the story of the “Jersey Pals” no longer runs the risk of being forgotten by modern-day Islanders, and his work fills a major gap in the published history of 20th Century Jersey.

Published in August, 2009, “Ours” is the first book ever written that deals with Jersey and the Great War.

The new Regimental Museum of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry opened its doors to the public on Monday 6th July 2009. The opening ceremony was performed by the Earl and Countess of Wessex as part of their two day visit to the Bailiwick.

picture gallery

Fromelles and Sergeant Chester Cecil Church – An Update (1st August, 2009)

The possibility that the remains of Old Victorian Sergeant Chester Cecil Church (see our recent news item) might be identified among those found at Fromelles has greatly improved. Family descendants have been identified by the Australian service authorities, and a number of the family have been invited to provide DNA samples. This of course depends on Chester Church having been buried at Fromelles by the Germans after the battle there. However, the likelihood is high given that his service file, held by the National Archive of Australia (, contains references to the German notification of his death.

Further information on the work at Fromelles can be found on the CWGC website (

Remembering Guillemont and Ginchy, 3rd September 2009

A video presentation from the Somme Association

View video