Bihet family page
Eight brothers and sisters from this family were participants in the Great War, one of them being killed in action
Marcel George Bihet and his wife Marie
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Origins of surname
Although we have found no specific reference to the origin of Bihet in our normal French sources, it is assumed to be the same as Bihel, also a name from the Cotentin Peninsular of Normandy, derived from bihan, meaning 'small'.
However, a Bihet family history page suggests that the word bihet comes from the words bois and foret, meaning 'wood' and 'forest'.
The name first appeared in Jersey records in 1884 with the marriage of Pierre Francois Desire Bihet and Marie Anne Desiree Picot in St Martin. Pierre was the son of Jean Marc Desire Bihet and Josephine Brochard, of Bolleville, Normandy.
Today there are Bihets in Guernsey and also in the Manche department of Normandy.
By Great War historian Ian Ronayne
Pierre Bihet and his future wife Marie apparently fled to escape a law preventing marriages between Catholics and Protestants. In 1891 they were living in Jersey, but ten years later, in 1901, had moved with their nine children to St Annes in Alderney. In between, for a brief while at least, they also lived in Guernsey because one child was born their in 1897. By 1914, when war broke out, the family, or at least some of the children, may have returned to Guernsey.
During the course of the war, eight of the Bihet children served in one capacity or another. After enlisting in March 1915, Constant, John (Jean) and Arthur joined the Guernsey-raised 9th Divisional Ammunition Column, serving as drivers. John, who later joined a Trench Mortar Battery, lost his life in May 1917 reportedly due to a misfiring mortar tube. Another brother, Marcel, also served in the Royal Field Artillery, although apparently in a different unit to his three siblings.
The final brother, Ernest, served in the Royal Navy for several years prior to the war, but illness appears to have forced him to leave in 1915.
Three Bihet sisters also served their country. Ada worked in the munitions industry while Justine and Louise were nurses, the former with the Red Cross and the latter with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service. Two of these also had husbands that served in the Army.
Eight members of one family, plus two in-laws all serving together, and with links to Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney - could it be a record?
Probably different families, but with a similar derivation
Great War service
Pierre Bihet, father of eight children who were participants in the Great War
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