It’s been a landmark week for the island, not just in respect of the war but for Jersey’s historic constitutional privileges. On 23 February, the new Military Service Act was registered in the Royal Court and promulgated in the Royal Square. As a result, local men between the ages of 18 and 41 are subject to conscription into the British Armed Forces.
Compulsory military service came into force in the UK from January 1916 and in Guernsey later that same year. A comparable Jersey law has been held up by the wrangling and rows between the States and Lieutenant Governor over the terms of its implementation. Among the principal points of contention was a desire by the local government to exclude the island’s agricultural workforce. The Lieutenant Governor insisted that all men should be liable, with tribunals established to decide on individual claims for exemption.
Having conceded on all points in November 1916, the law has now passed through Privy Council and been sanctioned. This week’s registration means its enactment in Jersey can begin in 30 days’ time. Details on how the call-up with be implemented should be released in the coming days.
A/E/3 contains a copy of Jersey’s Military Service Act along with extensive correspondence on the subject.