Recent announcements have shone a further spotlight on the Jersey Contingent’s bravery and commitment. RSM Jack Le Breton, widely known as ‘father of the Jersey Boys’ has received a Distinguished Conduct Medal and Captain Cyril Ogier, the unit’s last remaining Jersey officer, the Military Cross.
Both men left Jersey in March 1915 with the 326 Contingent volunteers for service with the Royal Irish Rifles and then Hampshire Regiment. As senior NCO, Jack Le Breton was extensively involved in the men’s training and then leadership after arrival in France. Cyril Ogier joined as a second lieutenant, initially commanding a platoon but eventually rising to lead the whole company.
RSM Le Breton won his DCM for actions on 7 June 1917, during the storming of Messines Ridge. Detecting enemy soldiers hiding in a deep dugout, he volunteered to enter and bring them out as prisoners. Captain Ogier’s award came during the resolute defence of Ravensberg Ridge in April 1918 during which he led several timely counter-attacks.
Both men are presently away from the front. After losing sight in one eye RSM Le Breton is no longer fit for active service, while Captain Ogier is recovering from recent wounds.
L/F/08/F/22 contains a photograph of the Jersey Contingent before departing from Jersey, with both Jack Le Breton and Cyril Ogier present.