Military

Little Wit, 1374

17th July 2017
The Guernsey garrison of men-at-arms and archers in 1374, a time of fear. From a transcript in the Library colleciton of an original document [Royal Court Library, Records and Documents, III 248.]. In August 1373, Bertrand de Guesclin attacked the islands, occupying part of Gorey Castle in Jersey and causing destruction in Guernsey and Sark; the islands had only recently recovered after a previous French invasion led by Owen of Wales.

Spirit of adventure: Violetta Thurstan

25th April 2016
'Guernsey readers will read with interest of the adventure of Miss Violetta Thurstan, who is managing an ambulance unit in Spain.' This article, from the Star newspaper of April 1, 1937, recalls her war service and brings readers up to date with her activities in the Spanish Civil War. Violetta received the Mons Star, the Russian Royal Cross of St George, and, twice wounded, was awarded the Military Medal.

Forts, 1850

8th October 2015
From the Gazette de Guernesey, 16 February 1850. 'We thought it would be useful to list here, for the benefit of our readers, those forts and fortresses, built by the States for the defence of this Island in time of war, which have been handed over to the Government, as very few people are aware of them all.' The photograph is of Fort Hommet, by S  M Henry, in the Library Collection. For further details on the individual sites see the Billet d'Etat for March 1908 in the Library Collection.

The Gordons on Guernsey

28th September 2015
By the writer and prolific journalist, Basil Campbell de Guérin. From The Scots Magazine, XLVIII (5), February 1948, in his Scrapbook H, in the Library. Although this is a fascinating article, the premiss upon which De Guérin wrote it is fundamentally flawed; the 92nd Foot did not become the Gordon Highlanders until 1798. This version of the 92nd Regiment was raised in Ireland by George Hewett on 31 December 1793. Also known from October 1794 as Colonel Hewitt's Regiment of Foot, it lasted less than two years, until it was disbanded in October 1795.

Safe-conduct for Alderney, 1513

20th July 2015
Letter to Monsieur de Pontaumont, archivist of the Société académique de Cherbourg.'My dear friend, I am taking the liberty of sending you a copy of a document which you might think appropriate to present to our colleagues at the Society. I feel it provides interesting evidence of the relationship between the people of Alderney and those of Basse-Normandie at the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries. It is a document of safe-conduct from the French admiral, Louis Malet, Seigneur de Graville, dated 20 April 1513.  We were then at war with England, but, as had long been the case with the people of Alderney, even though they were  subjects of the English Crown, they were very keen not to be treated as enemies by French soldiers and sailors.'[The portrait above is of Louis Malet de Graville.]

John Shipp, 1798

22nd May 2015
Memoirs of the extraordinary military career of John Shipp, late a lieut. in His Majesty's 87th regiment. Shipp (1784-1834) twice won a commission from the ranks before the age of thirty-two, and his memoirs were extremely popular, being published in four editions. He writes about his time at Guernsey as a young man in Chapter III.  He was fourteen or so, and lead fifer in the 22nd Cheshire Regiment of Foot at the time; the regiment was in the island from 1798 to 1799 (they were inspected here on 14 August 1799.)

Book of General Orders, Anglo-Spanish Legion, 1836/7

18th May 2015
The Friends of the Priaulx Library generously contributed the money needed to buy this Order Book at a local auction. The Anglo-Spanish Legion was a voluntary force of the British Army, raised specifically to aid the Spanish during the Carlist Civil Wars of the 1830s. The Library is very grateful to all those who contributed towards the Friends' donation of this important material.

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