A small notice placed in the newspaper this week spoke volumes about a significant change presently underway in the island, and the conclusion of a way of life. In just a few words it spelt the end of hundreds of years of tradition – temporarily at least – as the Jersey Militia disbanded in line with the new Military Service Act.
The notice advertised a sale of furniture from the Sergeant’s mess of the Militia’s 1st (West) Battalion. Under the provisions of the new act, furniture, mess and sergeants are no longer required to defend Jersey. In place of the Militia will be a new military unit formed from men unfit for active service overseas, that will come directly under the British Army rather than have any local control.
The new garrison battalion will not require all of the installations previously used by the Militia, leading to the advertised sale of furniture. While Fort Regent and St Peter’s Barracks remain in military hands, only two of the island’s arsenals, Town and Grouville, are being retained. The remaining four – St Martin, St Mary, St Peter and St Lawrence – will be released for other purposes.
D/AP/R/13/40 contains correspondence and reports on arsenal inventories and plans for the installations after disbanding the Militia.