Garrison regiments

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A garrison soldier's album

Four pictures from the private album of an officer in the 66th Regiment who was stationed at Fort Regent as part of the island garrison in the late 1860s. The picture at the top left is the first we have come across of the accommodation inside the barracks, and, taken in 1869, it shows that the officer lived in some comfort in what he described as his 'casemate' with access direct on to the parade ground in the centre of the fort. The other pictures show the 66th Regiment band, a group of officers relaxing outside the 'Ante room' and a rare early view of Bel Royal, with St Matthew's Church, now popularly known as the 'Glass Church, and the Bel Royal windmill and coastal tower in the centre.
The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on parade at Fort Regent
The band of the East Surrey Regiment
Military Police of the Devonshire Regiment
The East Surrey Regiment on parade

In addition to its own Militia Jersey was defended until the 20th century by British Army garrison troops, stationed initially in Elizabeth Castle and then Fort Regent.

With the notable exception of the Battle of Jersey, when it repulsed a French invasion, the garrison never fired a shot in anger, but clearly acted as a significant deterrent against invaders.

The garrison also played a major part in the social life of the island, hosting band concerts and staging military displays: officers and other ranks provided husbands for many local women. The garrison also made a significant contribution to the local economy. It created jobs for local civilians and some estimates put the amount injected into the economy as high as £2 million at today's values.

Football

The garrison regiments were noted for their footballing skills. After the foundation of the Jersey Football League in 1904 all winners prior to World War I were military sides, except in 1906 and 1913 when Jersey Wanderers triumphed.

  • 1904/05 - 20th Company Royal Garrison Artillery
  • 1905/06 - Jersey Wanderers
  • 1906/07 - 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment
  • 1907/08 - 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment
  • 1908/09 - 2nd Battalion Kings Own Regiment
  • 1909/10 - 2nd Battalion Kings Own Regiment
  • 1910/11 - 2nd Battalion Kings Own Regiment
  • 1911/12 - 1st Battalion Devon Regiment
  • 1912/13 - Jersey Wanderers
  • 1913/14 - 1st Battalion Devon Regiment

Garrison regiments

No full list of regiments forming the Jersey garrison is held by the British Army, but by combining local records and those of individual regiments, the following list has been established. In some cases the names are those by which the unit was known after 1881. In general a regiment's tour of duty in Jersey lasted only from one to two years, but in earlier years, and again in the early 20th century, a three-year term was standard.

Picture gallery

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