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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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Jersey Roll of Honour
1919 Memorial Roll

On the 10th April, 1917 the States of Jersey appointed a Special Committee of their body to compile a Roll of Honour of Jerseymen, who had given their lives for their Country, as also a Roll of those who had served in His Majesty's Forces, in the Great War.

The task imposed on the Committee was a difficult one, for Jerseymen were serving on every front, and in every part of the world, - in the Navy, in the Army and in the Mercantile Marine; but with the ready assistance of the local Recruiting Military Authorities and of the Press and in particular of the Editor of the "Evening Post", these difficulties have been surmounted.

In now presenting to the public the result of their work, the Members of the Committee desire to say that no effort has been spared to make the Rolls as complete and as correct as possible. The collecting of the many particulars required has involved much careful research and the Committee would here wish to place on record their appreciation of the invaluable services rendered in this direction by Mr. Ralph Mollet, who has devoted time and labour to ensure the accuracy of these records.

If omissions there be, the responsibility must rest with those who, if it was in their power to do so, have omitted to supply the information repeatedly requested by means of official notices in the local press.

The only regret is that it has been found impossible to include some special reference to the career and valorous deeds of each soldier. The attempt was, indeed, made, but, with the exception of a few cases, the difficulties of obtaining reliable information in a war of such magnitude was found to be insurmountable and the idea had to be abandoned.

"A thousand glorious actions, that might claim
Triumphant laurels, and immortal fame,
Confused in crowds of glorious actions lie,
And troops of heroes undistinguish'd die."

The Roll of Honour contains 862 names, - a touching record of death's toll of the Island's manhood. In that long list of heroes will be round a representative of nearly every Jersey patronymic. Jersey's sons have fallen in well nigh every battle on sea or on land. They took up arms that we might live in peace. It behoves us to take care that their noble deeds be kept in lasting remembrance.

The Roll of Service includes over 6,292 names, and gives particulars of many gallant men who have been wounded in battle and who have gained coveted distinctions for valour. It is a record of which Jersey may well be proud, and can compare favourably with that of any other part of the Empire.

A Roll of Jerseymen serving in the Mercantile Marine also finds a merited place. For obvious reasons it is incomplete. It does not by any means permit us to realize how large a number of our fellow islanders were engaged the world over in maintaining the food supply of the nation, braving untold dangers and suffering countless hardships.

This Memory Book would have been incomplete had it not included the Roll of Honour of those French residents in Jersey, who on the declaration of War, readily responded to the call to join the armies of our great ally. Monsieur A Jouve, the French Consul, to whose good offices in the times of stress through which we have just passed, this island is deeply indebted, has been kind enough to prefix a few tender words of homage to the memory of his departed countrymen. May we be permitted to add Jersey's respectful and sympathetic tribute to those valiant spirits of France.

The frontispiece and cover have been befittingly designed by a distinguished Jersey Artist, Mr. Edmund Blampied.

In the after-part will be found a brief account, related by Sergeant Major J Le Breton, of the services of the Jersey Contingent, (that patriotic little band who volunteered at an early stage of the war), together with a high appreciation of their work contained in a letter from their Commanding Officer to His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor. Another equally flattering communication as regards the soldier-like qualities and devotion to duty of the Jersey soldier from the Commanding Officer of the King's Royal Rifles, is also inserted. These are testimonies to which our men can look back with feelings of pride and satisfaction.

Some official notes on the mobilization of the Royal Jersey Militia at the outbreak of war form a state-paper of interest and importance, which properly finds a place in these records, and finally the Deputy for St. Saviour (Mr. FJ Bois) has been good enough to contribute a brief but succinct Memorandum, recapitulating the various political and economical phases through which the island passed during those terrible years.

The Great War, with all its tragedies, its heroisms, its prodigies, is vanishing into the past. There exists even a tendency to forget it; though, but a year ago, we thought the rest of our lives would be passed in meditating over the most momentous and eventful chapter in all the history of humanity. Truly, we live fast in these days. A great Roman historian held it to be the especial office of history that virtuous actions be not buried in oblivion. It is fitting, therefore, that these plain unadorned memoranda of our men's glorious achievements should be chronicled for the contemplation and remembrance of this and of future generations. May they help those who come after us to appreciate the virtue of self-sacrifice and to kindle that love of justice and hatred of oppression which make for freedom and independence, for peace and prosperity.

"It is the Dawn! the Dawn! The nations
From East to West have heard a cry, -
Though all earth's blood-red generations
By hate and slaughter climbed thus high,
Here - on this height - still to aspire
One only path remains untrod,
One path of love and peace climbs higher.
Make straight that highway for our God."


November, 1919

Barrie Bertram.

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