St Helier’s harbour was the scene of a dramatic episode this week. A local French soldier departing following a period of leave in the Island refused to board his ship, claiming he no longer wanted to fight for France, but was willing to serve in the British Army. Efforts by two police constables to force the man on board failed, leaving him in Jersey but facing an uncertain future.
Jules Marie Pettiquin was returning to duty with a number of other French soldiers when the incident occurred. Having been working in Saint Malo on the outbreak of war, Pettiquin claimed that he was forced to join a French Army regiment. Yet he had served in the Jersey Militia prior to 1914, as a member of 2nd (East) Battalion. Furthermore, his brother was serving in the British Army. Pettiquin had emphasised that he was happy to fight – but for Britain not France.
Records show that the 40-year-old was born in St Martin, and that his mother, Pelagie Pettiquin, lived in St Clement. The local authorities, having agreed to cooperate with the French Government on Jerseymen obliged to undertake French national service, are looking into the matter.
A/C2/51/3 contains a letter from Pelagie Pettiquin to the Lieutenant Governor on the matter of her son’s service in the Militia.