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World War One: Armed Forces - Channel Islands

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World War One: Armed Forces

Channel Islands

The British Army during World War I was fought by units which were made up exclusively of volunteers—as opposed to conscripts—at the beginning of the conflict.

Because of the numbers involved this project is one of a number of projects where GENi profiles of World War One armed forces can be added.

The First World War, from 1914-1918, universally known as the Great War, did not affect the Channel Islands in the same way as the second global conflict which followed 21 years later, when the islands were invaded by the Germans and occupied for over five years.

In the Great War the front was many hundreds of miles away in Eastern France, but many islanders fought there.

This project aims to honour the soldiers from the Channel Islands who fought and/or died during or as a consequence the war. Please assist by linking the GENi profiles of soldiers from the Jersey and Guernsey to this project

Please link profiles to this project AND to World War One: United Kingdom & Ireland HQ which is the place where we are recording progress.

At the outbreak of war Jersey was heavily defended but by late 1914 it was clear that there was no threat to the island. 18 months after the start of the war the United Kingdom government called on Jersey and Guernsey to introduce compulsory military service for all men between 18 and 41. In February 1917 the Jersey States passed the Military Service Act and the Royal Militia Island of Jersey was suspended for the remainder of the war.

Members of the Militia volunteered to form a contingent to fight in the war. By February 1915 an infantry company of 230 officers and men was ready to embark. See

Although the Guernsey Militia entered the war after Jersey, it suffered much greater casualties. At the end of 1916 the island's Militia was disbanded and the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Regiment formed from its members and conscripts. After training they were sent to the front line near Ypres and in November 1917 went into action in the Battle of Cambrai. By 3 December the 1200 officers and men of the RGLI had been reduced to just 501. Further action at Passchendaele the following month saw that number reduced to 55 men and two officers.

The War Office ordered the construction of a prisoner-of-war camp at Les Blanches Banques, which received its first prisoners in March 1915 and was eventually to house 1,500. Numbers dwindled later as prisoners were sent to England where there was more work for them to undertake. The camp finally closed in October 1919.

See also -

World War One: Armed Forces - England
World War One: Armed Forces - Ireland
World War One: Armed Forces - Scotland
World War One: Armed Forces - Wales
Participating British Women
'On War Service' - WW1 (United Kingdom & Ireland)

References and Sources

List of personnel and servicemen/women from the Channel Islands

...not yet on GENI alphabetical order


  • J Hamlett Serjeant, died 17/09/1918 - Husband of A. M. I. Hamlett, of 3, Sea View Cottages, La Collette, Jersey. Served in the South African Campaign.


  • Michael Moylan, boy Son of Thomas Moylan, of 13, Le Camps Terrace, St. Martins, Guernsey, and the late Mary Kelly Moylan. Educated at the Royal Hibernian Military School, Dublin.



  • J Smith, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant - Son of Christopher and Maggie Smith; husband of Eliza Winter Smith (Kitty), of Glenmore Cottage, Fort Rd., Guernsey, Channel Islands.


  • Private G Yates, Son of James and Mary Ellen Yates, of Burnley; husband of Mary Bougourd (formerly Yates), of "Sunrise," Berthelot St., Guernsey, Channel Islands.

Getting Involved

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// this project is in History Link