Since the start of the war, St Helier’s Military Vingteniers have been more or less fully employed monitoring outgoing passenger boats for any militiamen trying to evade their duty. When volunteering to take on this responsibility, the expectation of the two vingteniers was that it would have only been for a short while. But now, 15 months later, the men have written to the Island Defence Committee requesting a substantial salary increase and back pay in lieu of time already committed.
Prior to the war, a Military Vingtenier’s role was to enforce Jersey’s Militia Law, making sure that all eligible men did their duty. Since August 1914, however, those in St Helier have taken on the added responsibility of attending all departing passenger boats to ensure men of military age were not leaving the Island. This has entailed being at St Helier Harbour at 5.00am on many mornings. In the evenings, it could mean staying on duty until past 10.00pm.
During this time, the men claim that it has been virtually impossible to continue with their normal paid employment. The allowance paid by the Defence Committee, however, hardly covers the loss of earnings.