With the passing of another Christmas – the third since war began – islanders have been reflecting on the last 12 months and considering what next year will bring.
Expectant hopes of Allied victory in 1916 proved premature, although from newspaper articles it appears that real progress was made. The Battle of the Somme reportedly brought the German Army close to breaking point, driven back by relentless Allied assaults. Further east, the French Army not only held the German offensive at Verdun, but recently recaptured much of the territory lost to the enemy in the battle’s opening days.
Positively, both British and French commanders proclaimed that they had the means and knowhow to continue this success in 1917.
Jersey could take much pride in the achievements of its soldiers – both British and French – that have played their part in the great battles to date. Sadly, the cost in local lives continues to rise. For hundreds of island families, the arrival of a dreaded War Office telegram has been an all too familiar experience. With no clear end to the war in sight, it is gloomily obvious that many others will share this fate in 1917.
D/Z/H2/7 has correspondence relating to the estate of Private George Bewhay, who died on the Battle of the Somme’s opening day.