Jersey’s new defenders on guard
After months of organisation, the Royal Jersey Garrison Battalion is taking up its duty of defending the island. In contrast to the now disbanded Militia, this new British Army unit is a fulltime professional force, formed mostly from local men judged unfit for overseas service.
The battalion technically formed in February 1917, after the enactment of Jersey’s new Military Service Act. It has been building in strength since then, as men conscripted under the new law were called up and assessed for suitability. Those classed as Category C and some of those graded Category B have been retained in the island as members of the new unit.
The battalion, which has an authorised establishment of just under 500 officers and men, is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ludlow Bowles. In common with his recruits, the 66-year-old was formerly a member of the Jersey Militia, commanding its 1st (West) Battalion. The new battalion is based at Fort Regent and St Peter’s Barracks.
There has been hopes that members of the new unit would be available to assist with agricultural work. The Lieutenant Governor has resisted until now, however, while the battalion is still organising.
A/E/5 contains a letter on the subject of agricultural labour in the island, noting that the men of the Jersey Garrison Battalion are not presently available.