Bihet family members who served in World War 1

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Bihet family members who served in the Great War


Marcel Bihet, second from right in back row, with Royal Field Artillery colleagues, in India or Mesopotamia

One member of the family lost his life while serving in the armed forces and a further seven saw active service in World War 1. They were all brothers and sisters - see below.

The dates shown are often birth or baptism dates from our database, not necessarily those shown on service records, and parishes shown are parish of birth, where known, not the parish in which individuals were living when they joined up.

Notes on our list, abbreviations used etc

Sons and daughters of Pierre Bihet and Marie Anne, nee Picot

  • Jean Bihet (St Mt) (1895-1917) Gunner, Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds
  • Arthur Joseph Bihet (1897- ) (St Mt) Driver, Royal Field Artillery. Enlisted on 17 March 1915 at the age of28 and fought in France with the 9th Division Ammunition Column - the same as his brother Constant.
  • Constant Henri Bihet (1896- ) (St Mt) Driver, Royal Field Artillery. He enlisted as a driver at the age of 19, on 18 August 1914. Prior to that he gave his employment as 'assistant cook', and had served with the Guernsey Artillery Contingent.

He served in France with the 9th Division Ammunition Column (same as his brother Arthur) as part of 'Expeditionary Force France 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918'. In November 1918 he was posted to 19th Corps.

In 1918, he was stated to be 'of Alien Origin' due to his French parentage. This was investigated at the request of the RFA by the Alderney Police. The War Office declared, in October 1918, 'having been born in the Channel Islands he is a British Subject. His parents, however, are French Subjects and his documents should therefore be marked "alien origin" and he should be considered as coming under the provisions of ACI 578 of 1918'. Of the five brothers who enlisted and fought in the Great War, he is the only one who has records indicating he was investigated in this manner.

He was demobilised in February 1919.

  • Marcel Georges Bihet (1892- ) Driver, Royal Field Artillery. Marcel joined the Royal Field Artillery as a driver (71086, 1008623) in November 1912 (119 battery from 28 January 1913).

He travelled on the HT Rohilla on 26 December 1913. The Rohilla was a troop ship (normal route London - Calcutta) which took him to India where he was based in Nowshera and Peshawar (now part of Pakistan) in the North-West Frontier, near the border with Afghanistan, from December 1913 to August 1917 (90th battery from 12 January 1914).

He was then sent to Mesopotamia, now Iraq, in August 1917 until 25 December 1918.

He described "marching" back to the UK via the Dardanelles, and eventually returned home to Guernsey in April 1919. He was a member of the RFA Reserves until November 1932.

  • Ernest Peter Bihet (1885- ) Leading Stoker RN, HMS Vivid II. Joined the Royal Navy on 19 April 1906, and served until being invalided out in April 1915.
  • Ada Bihet, munitions worker
  • Justine Bihet, British Red Cross.
  • Louise Bihet, served as a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service during the Great War, while her husband, Harry Thomas, MM, served as a bombardier. They had 8 children

One family

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?
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