A recent Admiralty telegram signified an important step from war to peace. It announced that coast and harbour defences across the country, including those of Jersey, could stand down. The enemy threat has passed.
Since 29 July 1914, Jersey’s defences had been on alert, whether the threat came by sea, air or some form of clandestine attack. The Jersey Militia had stood guard over the island’s coastline and manned coastal artillery positions for over two and a half years. Following disbandment in March 1917, the Royal Jersey Garrison Battalion stoically assumed this role, formed mostly from ex-Militiamen unfit for active service.
Honorary and paid police forces had investigated numerous incidents of suspicious activity, particularly during the early stages of the conflict when the threat of enemy sabotage seemed strongest.
Politicians had passed the laws – many controversial – needed to maintain security, and dealt with the constant challenges of war. The Bailiff, Sir William Vernon, had remained an active, vigilant figurehead throughout, working diligently with the island’s two wartime lieutenant governors, General Alexander Rochfort and General Alexander Wilson.
Together, all had brought Jersey safely through four of the most challenging years in its long history. Well done!
A/E/11/13 contains a telegram from the Guernsey Naval HQ to Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor ordering coastal defences stood down.