December’s naval bombardment of Britain’s east coast both shocked and served to remind Islanders how swiftly the war can reach out to strike formerly peaceful communities. Despite the supremacy of the Royal Navy and the presence of coastal artillery, the German High Seas Fleet demonstrated the damage it is capable of inflicting.
Adding to civilian concerns are the increasing number of air raids. Since the start of the year, German Zeppelins have dropped bombs on a number of English towns, resulting in death and destruction.
While there is little expectation of an imminent attack on Jersey, local authorities have been considering precautions in recent weeks. There has been particular attention given to protecting St Helier’s General Hospital, especially given its nearness to the coast and harbour.
In response to concerns raised, the Home Office has advised that the Hague Convention of 1907 does protect hospitals, as far as possible, along with places of public worship, buildings dedicated to the arts and science, and historic monuments. The General Hospital should be clearly marked, although not with a red cross, which is reserved for military hospitals, but with the agreed black and white sign.