Although almost driven from its country in the opening months of the war, the Belgian Army continues to make a contribution to the Allied cause. After the stabilisation of the Western Front, its soldiers were left to hold a stretch of trenches across the small corner of their country still in Allied hands. To remain in the field, however, it requires additional recruits. Now the Belgian Government is looking to Jersey for some of those men.
In June this year, the Belgian Government passed a law requiring all of its male citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 living in Britain to enrol for military service. At the request of the British Government, that obligation has been extended to Jersey. Any eligible Belgian men presently in the Island must attend a military commission established in Southampton for examination.
In response, the local Aliens’ Registration Office has identified 12 Belgian nationals of military age living in the Island. Most are ecclesiastical students studying in the Island’s Jesuit institutions. The new military service law makes no exceptions for this vocation, however, meaning that all are considered suitable army recruits.