Great War casualties and service notes

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Notes on listings of Great War casualties and service records


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During 2017 we have embarked on a major project to add records of those who served in the Great War, with particular emphasis on those who lost their lives. We hope to have this work complete by the end of the year, several months in advance of the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict


The addition of service records is requiring a considerable amount of research: as well as expanding and correcting, where necessary, the records in the official Rolls of Honour and Service, we are creating links to Jerripedia family trees and relevant articles on the site. Several thousand records are involved.

We believe that the inclusion of these war records in Jerripedia is of vital importance, because, spanning a period of five years in the wake of the last available census (1911), they can provide a valuable bridge across a generation for family researchers.

Study Group

Our lists of those who served in the forces during the Great War and those who lost their lives in the conflict are based on the Rolls of Honour and Service compiled by the States of Jersey in 1919, and the updated digital version on the website of the Channel Islands Great War Study Group, with additions to both rolls uncovered by our own research.

The listings include not only those who were born in, or lived in Jersey before the war, but those with Jersey-born parents, and others whose connections with the island are much more tenuous. Others have long-established Jersey surnames and a connection with the island is often assumed with no records to justify that.

We have excluded some of those for whom no local connection has yet been established, but included others for whom the list's compilers appear to have accepted a local connection, without actually giving any details, beyond a parish of origin. The Roll of Service includes many whose only connection with Jersey was that they had married Jersey women, but where no family connection is identified and little or no further information is available, we have not included them in our lists.

The Roll of Service also includes a significant number of French nationals who were living in Jersey before the start of the war and left to join their country's armed services. Where they have no family connection with the island and details of their service and deaths are lacking, we have not included them in our listings.

It should be noted that the Roll of Service includes many whose participation in the war was not of a military nature, but involved, for example, working on the steamships which continued to ply between Jersey and the English coast throughout the conflict.

The Rolls also include officers in the Indian Army, although they were not strictly participants in the Great War, unless they left the sub-continent with their regiments to serve in Europe.

Discipline

The records assembled by the group seem excessively concerned with the disciplinary records of some of the servicemen, almost to the exclusion of their bravery in action. Presumably because these details are readily available in service records, disciplinary matters often take priority over the courageous actions of others, with few or no details about many awards as conspicuous as the Military Cross (second only to the Victoria Cross) available on the website. We are working to discover the stories behind these important citations.

Assumptions

The digital Roll of Service shows a number of records with the reference 'assumed' in the comments column. It is usually unclear what has been assumed, and we have tried to confirm all relevant details for these records with our own research. In line with our operating policies, we have tried not to make assumptions.

Included in our lists

Our lists of casualties and service differ from those in the Great War Study Group's rolls in a number of respects. We are less interested in service numbers and career details than individuals' family background, place of birth and the most important elements of their military service. We list major gallantry awards but not the ordinary service medals for which most participants qualified.

We show parishes of birth or baptism wherever possible, rather than where individuals were living before joining up.

In some cases the dates of birth we have found in church records or census returns differ from those shown in the group's lists, which are drawn from service records and newspaper reports.

It was quite common for those who served to give inaccurate birth dates to persuade recruiting officers to allow them to join up. Most importantly, we have referenced baptism and birth records, whereas the compilers of the Rolls appear to have relied more on census returns, which are frequently much less accurate.

We have carried out often lenghty further research to identify parents and wives of many of those who appear in our lists. These relationships have been researched in our own database of baptism and marriage records, in census returns and, if necessary, in online trees in whose accuracy we have confidence.

In keeping with our policy for all Jerripedia content, we have tried only to include information which we are confident is accurate. We have not made guesses, and where there is any doubt that we have identified the correct date and place of birth and parents for an individual, we say so.

Detailed histories

The Great War Study Group's site includes pages with more information on most of those who lost their lives during the conflict and our family page listings include direct links to these pages, We also provide direct links to a number of more detailed articles on participants in the war.

There is website dedicated to the Jersey Pals – members of the Jersey Company who left the island together in 1915 to join the Army as part of the Royal Irish Rifles. We provide links from our family page listings to the individual articles on the members of the company.

The Roll of Honour and the Roll of Service are being continuously updated and enlarged and we will attempt to do the same with our listings.

Where to find records

Our listings can be found in two places

We also have images of the pages of the official States of Jersey Roll of Honour and Roll of Service, published in 1919

Abbreviations

Standard abbreviations have been used throughout our listings

  • RN – Royal Navy
  • RNVR – Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • RAF – Royal Air Force
  • RFC – Royal Flying Corps
  • RASC – Royal Army Service Corps
  • RAOC – Royal Army Ordnance Corps
  • RAMC – Royal Army Medical Corps
  • RE – Royal Engineers
  • RA – Royal Artillery
  • RGA – Royal Garrison Artillery. This had a unit based in Jersey and often it is difficult to distinguish in the Roll of Service between those who were part of the island unit and those who served elsewhere
  • RMIJ - Royal Militia Island of Jersey
  • RMLI - Royal Marine Light Infantry
  • RJGB – Royal Jersey Garrison Battalion, the unit formed to defend the island after the Militia (RMIJ) had been disbanded. It included not only island residents, but others drafted in by the UK War Office to supplement their numbers at a time when it was believed that the Channel Islands might be attacked
  • RGLI - Royal Guernsey Light Infantry
  • KRRC - King's Royal Rifle Corps
  • DCLI - Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
  • OV denotes a former pupil of Victoria College.
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