The Channel Islands and the Great War
245 (Guernsey) Coy. Army Troop R.E. Bridge Building
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
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.
2017 saw two memorials to the Royal Guernsey Light
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Charitable Trust
funded and organised the events
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
Channel Television's report
Group members were in attandance
and a wreath, on behalf of the Group, was
A copy of " A Guernseyman Goes to
War" by Liz Walton was presented
to the Mayor of Masnieres
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.
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
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
The Battle of Jutland was commemorated on 31st of May
in Orkney and a Group member was able to attend. Full
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has confirmed
that they will be erecting a new headstone for Able Seaman
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. Pauls 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
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
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
Jersey Heritage is holding Islandwide collecting days.
We are inviting parishioners to bring along their photographs,
and objects relating to the Great War to be recorded,
scanned and photographed. More
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,
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.
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 CWGCs
Debt of Honour Register............
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.
Journey's End at Elizabeth College
A great success
of the set
Search the site with Google
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
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.
|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
The Imperial War Museum is marking this with special displays
and events at four of it's locations.
The introduction of the tank is shown
in two videos:
- The Wonder Weapon
Jersey tank commander - Second Lieutenant Edward Francis
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
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
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*,
Jouanne*, Charles Pirouet,
Breton*, John ,
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
Is your ancestors 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
An Old Victorian and a member of Jerseys 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
'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. Ians 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.
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 (www.naa.gov.au),
contains references to the German notification of his
Further information on the work at Fromelles
can be found on the CWGC website (www.cwgc.org/fromelles).
Remembering Guillemont and Ginchy, 3rd September
A video presentation from the Somme Association