Archive military records
Jersey residents have been involved in the military and the militia for as long as they have existed. The first real evidence of the Island having a formal military organisation was in 1337 when Edward III ordered the Warden of Jersey to enrol all able-bodied men, provide them with arms and appoint officers. This is considered by many as the origin of the Jersey Militia.
For the next three centuries each parish had its own company until 1622 when three regiments were formed, the East, West and North. It was not until 1929 that the Militia was made entirely voluntary when it was reduced to an Infantry Company of 260 men.
In conjunction to the Royal Jersey Militia there have also been regular troops stationed at Elizabeth Castle and Fort Regent and later at St Peter’s Barracks since the late 1700s. It is important to recognise a distinction between the regular troops of the British Armed Forces and the local militia organisation as their records are held in different places.
Jersey Archive indexes all its catalogued records by name, place and subject. Therefore any name mentioned in the catalogue description of a record will be indexed on the Open Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) available in the reference area of the Jersey Archive and on the Internet at www.jerseyheritage.org.
It is important to note that not all names have been indexed from all documents so just because someone’s name is not indexed does not mean that there are no records relating to that person. Each collection held by Jersey Archive has a unique reference code. These collection references have been included in the following information after the collection title.
General Don’s Military Census – 1806 and 1815
In order to gain an accurate number of men available in case of an attack by Napoleon, General Don, Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor, ordered a census to be taken in 1806 and 1815. The 1806 census includes the names of the head of household, either male or female, along with their Militia rank and the number of women and children living in the household. It also lists those that are absent.
The 1815 census gives the names of males over the age of 17, their age and position in the Militia along with the number of women and children within the household.
Roll of Honour and Roll of Service 1914-1919
A roll of honour containing the names of Jerseymen who died during the First World War as well as a roll of service containing the names of those who served was published in 1919. In total 862 Jerseymen are listed as having died and 6292 are listed as having served.
Lieutenant Governor’s Collection – A
Correspondence – A/A
The letter books of the Lieut-Governor contain a number of names that may be of interest to the family historian. They mostly consist of internal correspondence between the Lieut-Governor and the British governmental departments.
The volume with reference number A/A2/1 may prove of particular interest as it includes a list of special agents from the years 1809-1815 as used by Philip d’Auvergne, the Prince of Bouillon. It also includes details of arrangements for French émigrés living in Jersey. Many of the letter books are indexed which should make the search easier.
1st World War Files – A/E
The Lieut-Governor’s Collection contains some information relating to the First World War. A/E is a series of First World War Files and within this section can be found details on foreign nationals living in Jersey during the First World War (A/E/1 & 2), correspondence with Whitehall relating to the sending of Prisoners of War from the UK to work on Jersey farms (A/E/5), letters between Whitehall and the Lieut-Governor regarding enemy aliens on the Island including a list of who was to be interred and exempted and the fate of their families (A/E/8/1 & 2 and A/E/11/13) and a file of applications to the Passport Office to travel through countries under British Military Occupation after the First World War (A/E/8/16)
Royal Jersey Militia - L/F/97
The Jersey Archive holds some records relating to the Royal Jersey Militia in the period just before and during the Second World War. These records include a number of different series that contain interesting information for the Family Historian. It holds attestation papers of the 11th Battalion Hampshire Regiment/Royal Militia Island of Jersey.
These papers include details of individuals joining the Militia during the period 1929 – 1940. These have been indexed by name.
L/F/97/M23 includes minor offences by members of the Royal Jersey Militia and an incomplete list of Islanders who served in the armed forces during the Second World War. L/F/97/M26/1 is a minute book containing lists of members present at the Royal Jersey Militia meetings from 1939-1945, including meetings that took place outside of the Island during the Second World War.
Almanacs - L/D/21/A/1-66
The almanacs for the period 1863-1940 include the names of commissioned officers of the Royal Jersey Militia.
Le Couteur Family Collection-L/C/68
The Jersey Archive holds the letter books of Sir John Le Couteur, who was a prominent Islander and was extremely active within the Royal Jersey Militia, eventually taking charge of the Town Regiment in 1850.
Within his letters and diaries details about his experiences are reported. L/C/68/C1/18 includes lists of names of defaulters from the Royal Jersey Militia with dates and sentences from the Poursuite Criminelles. In addition L/C/68/C2/9 and 13 contain letters to military personnel and civilians.
States Greffe Collection-D/AP
Within the Militia section of the States Greffe Collection lies the nominal roles of men who served with the Militia between 1902 and 1935 (D/AP/R/1). Also included are pay lists for men who served in the Militia between 1911-1938 although mostly covering the First World War period (D/AP/R/2).
The following websites give useful information for research into ancestors who served in the military.
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website gives personal information relating to the fallen of both world wars. Where information is available the name and address of the parents or spouse is included. This may be a useful website for primary research as the database generally includes the name of the regiment and service number of individuals, essential information when conducting further research.
- National Archives - The prime resource for military records. The site also includes many useful guide notes.
- Ancestry - A pay-per-view site which has digitised many military records including World War One service and pension records.
- A website recording France’s war dead
- World War 1 at sea and Naval history Both these sites are dedicated to nformation relating to the naval history of both the First and Second World War.
- The Imperial War Museum website
- www.greatwarci.net - This site relates to the impact of the First World War on the Channel Islands.