No politician worked more tirelessly bringing relief during the recent flu epidemic than the Constable of St Helier, Mr John Edwin Pinel. This message was brought to the Town Hall by a group of petitioners this week determined to honour his efforts.
As the local situation spiralled out of control following the first flu deaths in October, Constable Pinel stepped in, taking a firm grip on matters in his parish. Recognising that households throughout St Helier needed help, he organised a relief effort. Gathering volunteers, including experienced nurses, he established a base of operations at the Town Hall. From there, volunteers sallied out daily, taking medicines to patients and working to clean infected homes. They focused special efforts on the town’s poorer districts, which had been particularly hard hit.
As rates of infection subsided in St Helier, Constable Pinel turned his attention to the country parishes, by then suffering rising flu cases. Calling for motorcycle volunteers, he dispatched them with medicines for collection from temporary medical centres across the island
Thanks to such efforts, the island now appears to be influenza free. The petitioners are rightly asking for Constable Pinel’s contribution to this situation to be recognised.
L/C/54/D/4 contains an official photograph of John Edwin Pinel, Constable of St Helier, probably taken between 1918 and 1920.