Reports coming through this week indicate that the Jersey Contingent recently suffered a considerable number of casualties while serving on defensive duties in Belgium. Among those lost during an enemy attack were eight men believed seized as prisoners. Their families are anxiously awaiting news of the men’s fates.
The German trench raid struck a stretch of British front line situated below the infamous enemy-held Messines Ridge. The Jersey Contingent has been in that area since their battles on the Somme in September 1916. Under the cover of darkness and following a hurricane bombardment, the Germans entered the British trenches. In the confused fighting that followed, a number of men were killed, including 22-year-old Jersey Rifleman Clarence De Veulle. Wounded was Rifleman George Picot who died in a casualty clearing station on the following day.
Among those captured and taken back to enemy lines were Jerseymen Edward Bastin, Harold Brochet, William Hughes, Sid Kerry, Charles Lafolley, Philip Laffoley, Alf Marett and William Whiteman.
There was praise for a number who distinguished themselves in the fighting to drive the raiders back including Company Sergeant Major Christian D’Authreau, the Jersey Company’s senior NCO.
L/F/08/C1/5 contains a company roll book for the Jersey Contingent, including the names of the men killed, wounded and captured in the trench raid.