In a subdued session this week, the States agreed to adopt a new Military Service Act. Under its provisions, men up to 51-years-old are liable for military service and face conscription into the armed forces.
The change follows a request in April for Jersey to send more men to aid Britain’s war effort. Subsequently, the UK Government introduced a new Military Service Act, which increased the maximum conscription age from 41 to 51. Jersey has now followed this lead, with unanimous agreement in the States Chamber.
As well as extending the conscription age limit, the new act effectively removes any exemptions from military service issued by the island’s tribunal system since March 1917. Some groups will continue to receive automatic exemption, such as the clergy and those men already disabled through war, but all others will have to reapply if they wish to avoid military service. The tribunals will continue, although with emphasis on passing men as suitable for military service rather than exempting, regardless of circumstances. In the case of certain professions, any claim will be automatically dismissed.
The new act comes into force in as short a time as possible.
A/E/3 contains ongoing correspondence on Britain’s demands in 1918 for more men from Jersey, noting the new Military Service Act’s passing in June that year.