Paris 2015 bridges Friday, Apr 22 2016 

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Pont Alexandre III

This is one of my favorite areas of Paris showing off its splendour and glory from the 19th century, the Pont Alexandre III was built with views in mind and to make as little as an impact on them as possible. Named after Tsar Alexandre III who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892, and the foundation stone was laid by his on Nicolas II.  Like other picturesque Paris bridges it looks as good from the water as it does when crossing it, the beauty of being down by the river is it is usually a bit less hectic and away from the tourists and traffic, the only down side is in the night time there are lots of rats running around, and probably not the safest place to stroll along on ones own. Below is a picture taken from on the bridge looking towards the Grand Palais, from here the road leads onto the main strip to the Champs Elysee.

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Pont Alexandre III with the Grand Palais

I also enjoy walking around the surrounding area of Notre dame but as yet I have not been inside the building which I know mostly through Victor Hugo’s novel which mentions Olivier Le Dain the rather barber and evil assistant (henchman) to Louis XI, who according to family legend/fable the family fled to Jersey with their wealth after the Kings death, as it was he was hanged and there appears to be no record of him having family so there is no proof of any connection, although the story appears known to most if not all the branches in Jersey.

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Notre Dame and Pont au Double

Below is Pont des Arts with all the padlocks upon it glittering in the rain:

Not a bridge but a statue that I stumbled across; Marshal Ney at Avenue de la Observatoire it sits on a rather non descript street corner and I did not get a decent photo of the statue itself so I post a more interesting list of campaigns he served in, until he was executed in 1815 for his siding with Napoleon during the “Hundred Days Campaign”, the statue also gets a mention in Hemmingways “A Moveable Feast”. It is also has some acclaim amongst surrealists and was most notably photographed by Brassai in the fog.

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Just part of the campaigns Marshal Ney served in

Zadkine Museum Friday, Mar 18 2016 


La Poete in Jardin du Luxembourg



After leaving the Jardin du Luxembourg I could see there was a small museum for the artist Ossip Zadkine 1890-1967 nearby on rue d’Arrass it is tucked away and I at first walked past it, and even then it is small converted house (where he once lived). There are a few of his works outside int he garden, being late in the day I was not sure if it was open, I entered and was welcomed by the friendly staff, it was free entry, as a charge is only made when an exhibition is on, there is a collection box for donations which I contributed to on leaving. It only takes a short time to see.


Human Forest


Head with lead eyes

After visiting here I walked around and came upon the Musee de Cluny which was about to close, and so I shall have to return another day, there were a couple of interesting shops nearby for outdoor pursuits but the prices were very expensive. I then headed back and ended up on the Rue de Seine and there were several restaurants nearby which were too busy for my liking, and instead I walked around some of the art galleries on the street, interesting works but with ridiculous prices.


Head of a man

Looking at some of Zadkine’s work it makes me wonder why there is a lack of sculptors in Jersey given that the island has a history of stone and wood workers, there are some examples on buildings, but Jersey statues are mostly casts in bronze done outside the island, or with the modern works imported stone. The stone dressing and wood workers are dying trades in the island, it is a shame that they have not been encouraged and supported better.


Head of a woman

Paris 2015 continued Thursday, Mar 17 2016 

I arrived in Paris a few days after the November attacks so the city was rather chaotic with high security and sirens sounding pretty well non stop, the Eiffel Tower had been closed in a mark of respect and was reopened whilst I was there so I decided to have a look at the illuminations on a rainy evening.


Tim Willcox BBC world news

I also paid a brief visit to the Place de la Republique to see a media circus tented around the fringes with throng of those paying their respects around the statue, with a cyclist riding around getting himself on screens around the world, it did seem odd having watched reporters on the TV each morning and then to see them live in person and trying to hear what the latest news was, I think it was the following morning I decided not to listen to the news and went out on my travels and spent the day mostly at Jardin du Luxembourg and I received a number of text messages asking if I was okay, replying – “fine relaxing in the park with lovely sunshine” only to return back to the hotel later in the day and find out I had just passed below one of the incidents on the metro.


French Cavalary

I entered the park and spent a brief time watching a couple of chess games in progress, then a mounted ceremonial troop came in for a brief rest, they had an armed guard so I did not get too close, and they departed fairly quickly, part of the park was closed off for security reasons so I was unable to see where they went off to.

I was lucky with the weather and not many people about, the park have a variety of statues from Queens of France, authors and poets, and a couple of modern pieces all had some sort of interest be it visually or historically.

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Mary Stuart Queen consort 1859-60

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Greek Actor by Baron Charles Arthur Bourgeois (1838-1886)


Le Marchand de Masques by Zacharie Astruc

Masks of famous writers, composers, and artists: Victor HugoLeon Gambetta, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Alexandre Dumas son, Hector Berlioz, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Gabriel Faure, Eugene Delacroix, Honore de Balzac, Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly.

La Rocque and fish trap Friday, Mar 11 2016 


Today was fine and settled after what has been a very wet start to the year, coupled with a rise and fall of tide of 11.8 metres I decided to go for a walk down the main gutter below La Rocque Harbour and look at something I had discovered a couple of years back. The harbour was built in the early 19th century to shelter the fishing boats that fished around the south east coast and Les Minquiers where they would stay for up to a week and fish for lobsters and then return their catch and have it transported by boat and train to London. When the harbour was built it was said that 40 boats were using the area.


The photo above is taken from the lower part of the gully looking back towards the harbour


Eelgrass – Zostera marina

Once you are at the bottom of the gutter it opens up to plains of sand and rocks dotted around there is plenty of areas to explore and find some of the above pictured, eelgrass is on the IUCN red list and is in decline, it suffers from a wating disease and pollution, there were notable losses locally due to disease in  the early 20th century. It was also once a popular filling for matresses and known as “Palliasses”.

The area is also a haven for birds and at this time of year we have over wintering Brent Geese who will shortly be leaving for the Artic to breed, and Red Breasted Mergansers, I did not see any terns but Sandwich terns can be seen all the year round, and Common terns will be arriving from warmer climes next month.

The line of stones in the middle of the sand are man made and originally when I saw them some years back I thought they may have been a track for carts, but I now think they are some sort of fish trap (Pêcherie), there is another line of stones barely visible on this picture, they are just behind the reef.


Fishtrap ?

Paris 2015 Tuesday, Mar 1 2016 

My first day in Paris and I arrived at the train station and took a little while to obtain my metro pass which had been simple on my previous trip in that I just purchased it at a desk, I now needed to get a passport type photo and fill out a short form, and I obtained a card in a solid plastic holder. Before leaving the station I signed the condolence book for the victims of the recent attacks which is to be stored in the Paris Archives. I booked into my hotel the Ibis budget La Villette, on Avenue Jean Jaures. I then set off to Pere Lachaise Cemetery which was one of the few places I had decided to go to before my arrival.

pere lachaise

I had me guide book to guide me round which showed me the most notable graves, but I soon got sidetracked to some of the more interesting places, and I came across a number of Polish exiles which I have with limited success tried to find out more about them, but there are several that I have not been able to trace, one bonus was to find a list on google ( Almanach historique; ou, Souvenir de l’émigration polonaise) of those in Paris, which also included a few listed in Jersey several of whom I had not recorded, and it also gave there rank in the army.


Klementyna Tańska

Polish childrens author Klementyna Tańska and so called “Mother of the Great Emigration” is situated in an area of the cemetery where several other Polish exiles can be found.


Theodore Morawski

Sadly I did not get to see all of the cemetery as the rain came down and I went off to visit elsewhere in Paris.

Caen continued Tuesday, Jan 5 2016 


The statue above in Place Saint-Martin is of Bertrand Du Guesclin a Breton Knight c.1320-1380, also known as the “Black Dog of Broceliande” Known to Jersey for his invasion in 1373 when he captured the island and lay siege to Mont Orgeuil, the Bretons continued hostilities in the island for 2 more years after, until a ransom was paid for du Guesclin to cease hostilities.

I visted the gallery in the grounds of the Chateau de Caen which was disappointing in that it had a large collection of paintings depicting biblical scenes which although fine paintings had little interest to me, there was also a display of modern art which was little more than  scribbles to me. I then went on to visit the museum which was rather non descript from the outside, with the amount of space and art in the area the museum setting appears to have been ignored, the museum  was a variety of models, displays, and films depicting the history of Normandy, the most interesting bit for me was the display of traditional crafts of the area especially the tin works, below is a map of the foundaries, forges, and tinsmiths in lower Normandy.


I am interested because my ancestor Frederic Jouault 1811-1871 was a tinsmith living in Peter Street, St Helier, he was the son of a tailor, so I do not know how he came to take up the trade, but he must have been a skilled craftsman as he sent an engraved pistol to be displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The museum had a display of the sort of items that would be made by the smiths:

caen tin work

I walked to the north west of the town and came across the Church of Saint Nicolas but found it closed, and the cemetry has to be one of the most neglected I have seen:

caen cem

I then went onto the nearby cemetery des Quatre-Nations which was only in slightly better condition to the previous cemetery but I had an interesting walk around it.

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Cimetiere des Quatre-Nations

Then onto the Cemetery of Saint-Gabriel which was more in custom to the pristine French cemetery I was accustomed to.

Nearby is the Jardin des Plantes a wooded park on the side of a hill with variety of labelled trees and shrubs:

a plant

Jardin des Plantes



Caen Statues Sunday, Dec 6 2015 

My first visit to Caen. I stayed near the train station which is a 10 minute walk into the centre, I arrived on sunday morning and found a large market there that was worth looking around as the stalls were varied and numerous. I came across a variety of sculptures of interest and here are some of them:

caen nap

Louis XIV by Louis Petitot

Originally placed in 1828, the statue by Louis Petitot was smelted by the Germans and replaced in 1963.

caen lady

“La Parque” by Claude Quisse

“La Parque” by Claude Quisse is situated by the offices of the Conseil de Basse-Normandie, although situated in a pretty courtyard I think it would be better placed int he open as natural backlighting would highlight its form as you can see with the hair with the sky behind.


This was one of collection of statues “One man, nine animals” 1999 by Huang Yong Ping again very good works not best situated in my view as they are tucked away behind the restaurant

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“Unconditional surrender” by Seward Johnson

Not one I particularly liked but an interesting history in that feminists are campaigning against this statue “Unconditional Surrender” by Seward Johnson on loan from New York, it represents a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, This is well sited being between the war museum and the hospital.

There is also a statue of Bertrand Du Guesclin but because of his actions against Jersey I think it best not to glorify this person! But perhaps on my next visit I shall inflict some national retribution upon the statue and plant a Jersey flag on top of it.



Cherbourg Tuesday, Nov 24 2015 

Having missed my annual visit to the Archaeology/History meeting with GRAC at Hague last year I was pleased arrange the visit this year at short notice and caught the ferry and stayed overnight in St Malo catching the train up the next day, sadly the ferries do not combine that well with the times of the trains, something my Grandfather with Lucien Dior and Emile Riotteau was trying to sort out over a 100 years ago (one vision being a ferry from Gorey to Granville and train onto Paris), sadly Jersey seem to be going backwards rather than forwards in the area.I stayed three nights in the Hotel Angleterre which is just  off the Place de la Republique  with some decent restaurants nearby.


Memorial for those of the Resistance who lost their lives, with Alderney (slave labour camp) on one of the plaques alongside Auchwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau. When Alderrney was libertaed none of the occupying force were ever charged with any of the crimes that they had committed.

Armand De Bricqueville Cavalary Colonel under Napoleon

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Unknown piece of art just lying around

Details of the above work:

I walked along the east out of town which in hindsight I should have caught a bus out as it took a while to get to the better bits of the coast, I came across the above work sitting in a works yard, across at the harbour area was the vessel “Goliath”a jacking platform used mainly for erecting offshore windfarms. I made my way past the small Port des Flamands with a little lagoon inland with what appears an old dry dock now concreted in. I made my way to Collignon beach with a few surfers eyeing up a small wave which was dropping with the tide. I made my way along the coast to Port du Becquet which and made my way along a little further before making my way back inland and back on a cycling route.


“Alabama” and “Kearsarge” graves Cherbourg


I made my way up town later and ended up going to the cimitiere des Aiguillons to see what was of interest and came across the memorials for those lost with the action between the CSS “Alabama” and USS “Kearsarge” set aside in their own designated area. I previous did a post on the action:

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War graves Cherbourg

At the top of the cemetery there are the war graves from various actions from the first world war, 700 in all making it the largest militiary grave in a civil cemetery in France, including some allied burials on the east side. There is a monument for submarine tradegies: The “Ondine” lost at sea 1928, victims of the “Promethee” 1932, victims of the vessel “La Fidele” 1997.

Fishy Phenomenon of 2014 Wednesday, Oct 14 2015 

Fishy Phenomenon

Fishy phenomenon

Reading a recent article on fish stranding in Kerry, Ireland and being interested in our marine life past and present, I thought it about time to report on something similar I was lucky enough to see, that I had not seen before in many years of being by the sea, on the 26th and 27th of August 2014 with the usual spring tide that occurrs then, there occurred great shoals of whitebait, I have seen these before but not on such a scale and the mackerel chased them into the shallows of the stone bank on the Taille at Les Ecrehous, leaving large amounts of whitebait stranded and even a few mackerel went to far, I took advantage and scooped some up and had whitebait for starters two evenings on the trot.

This phenomenon also was happening in the UK with it making the news on the BBC and filmed earlier that month in Dorset  and photographs published by the Ecology Consultancy, and reported in the Plymouth Herald and noted at Carlyon Bay. It also made the national papers being reported in the Sun

Whitebait under attack from Mackerel

Whitebait under attack from Mackerel

Stranded on the Taille

Stranded on the Taille

whitebait3Not as dramatic as sardines stranded as reported in the Siberian Times

These and other reports are seen by some to be some biblical end of the world prophecy which when compiled together do make grim reading,

Saturday, Oct 3 2015 

Joseph Charles Eager

Joseph Charles Eager

From articles in the Jersey Evening Post 1929

Eager lived alone in one room (1911 census he is at 12 Commercial St) surrounded by the many treasures gathered during his long and interesting life. “ this is the ship I sailed in” ; “ these the vases Lady Otway gave me” ; “this is the photo of my son who was wounded three times during the war and who won the military medal” ; “this is the medal given to me by the General Petain,” and so on. He cooks his own food, mends and washes his clothes, and keeps his castle in excellent order. He smokes a little, but has never tasted intoxicating liquor. He has a pension of £18 a year from the Royal Albert Institution and the parish of St. Helier is very good to him.

But he is getting no younger, and is beginning to feel that he is not so firm on his feet as he used to be. He is very grateful for the many kindnesses done to him in the past and possibly there are many kind women in Jersey who, after reading his wonderful life, maybe inclined to become acquainted with this very interesting old man.

He has no faith in medicine of any description for, as he says, he has just lost an old friend of 94 who recently died from taking medicine. He used to go for walks with this friend but, missing him one day, went to see him and found on the table by his bed several bottles of medicine. Eager warned his friend that if he indulged in such foolishness he would not live three figures; but the warning was not taken, and Eager a few weeks ago had to attend the funeral of his friend.


Joseph Charles Eager was born at sea on the 28th December 1838  (actually January 1846). My father (James Eager) was owner and master of the brig “Tigress”, of Plymouth; and my mother generally went to sea with him, and I was born when the vessel was entering the English Channel on a voyage from Sierra Leone to London.

My mother died in 1840, and my father was lost with his vessel in 1851.

After my mother’s death, I was brought up by an uncle and aunt living in Tavistock. My uncle was a retired naval lieutenant, and one day, when ten years of age, I was sent out with a shilling to buy something which cost nine pence, and was told to bring back the change of three pence. So went my errand, brought back the change and put the three pence on the kitchen table, and then, as nobody was there, went out to play. When I came home the change had gone and my uncle, thinking that I had spent it, gave me a brutal thrashing.

I had an elder brother (James T Eager) who was educated at Greenwich School and after joined the Navy, and several years afterwards when I was in Plymouth I met a man in a Navy uniform who asked me whether I was Joe Eager. I said yes, and he told me that he was my brother, and said my uncle and aunt had tried to find me, and he suggested my returned to Tavistock.

No, I said, my uncle beat me cruelly for three pence of change which I did not steal and I have done with him. Three pence, said my brother. Why, I took that to buy a Jew’s harp. We never met again.

So that night I ran away and came across a gypsy camp, and the gypsies took me in and were very kind to me. There was a German woman there who went about the country playing a barrel organ and she wanted a boy to join her, play the tambourine and collect the coppers whilst she played. So I was handed over to her, and she was just like a mother to me. We wandered south for five months, and when we arrived at Shoreham the German woman was engaged to play one evening at an inn for the sum of 2and6 pence and what she could collect. As I was going round with the tambourine one of the guests seemed to take a fancy to me, and asked if I would like to go to sea. I said I wanted to go, and so, after speaking to the German woman, it was arranged that I should join the ship ‘Blue Eyed Maid’ of Jersey, Captain John Kent, then discharged a cargo of oysters from Gorey, in Jersey. The German woman gave the captain 4 pounds to buy me a sea outfit. My wage was 5 shillings a week and I stayed with captain Kent and his wife for six years. They were very good to me, and after a while I had a shire in venture and sometimes and sometimes earned as much as £4 a week.

The oyster trade off Gorey was than in a flourishing condition. There was about 40 Jersey smacks (fishing boat) employed in the trade each carrying four or six hands, with tonnage varying from 10 to 30 tons. The Blue Eyed Maid was 30 tons, and sometimes we ventured across the channel to sell our cargo. Generally when we had dredged sufficient oysters we made for the shore and dumped the oysters in parks where they were picked over by land girls, who were paid 16 shillings a week.

There was only one baker named Jacob, in Gorey, and one butcher, named Godfrey, and when the English smacks came over, which they did sometimes for a month at a time, it was no unusual thing to find three or four hundred vessels off Gorey in the oyster trade. This was during the years 1848 to 1854. Then Gorey was very busy and sometimes it was difficult to get sufficient food. The oysters were taken to different ports in England and France.

After I had been oyster fishing for six years, I heard that a new vessel had been built at Bel Royal, called the “Coeur de Lion”, wanted runners to take the vessel to Liverpool, where I was offered the job as cook at £2 5 shillings a month on the vessel. She was to take a general cargo to New Holland (now Sydney) and the last lot of convicts to Botany Bay.

The convicts numbered 14, all men, and each convict had an iron band round the waist joined to ankle straps by chains. These irons were never taken of, but the captain of Coeur de Lion was a humane man and a gentleman, and after having ascertained from the convict superintendent that there were no murderers among the convicts, lie went forward and told them that if they would give him his word of honour that they would not interferer with the ship or crew, he would have there iron taken off and give them the freedom of the vessel. All gladly accepted the captain’s terms except one man named Kelly. The kind-hearted captain set him free for a couple of hours one day and he repaid the kindness by trying to murder the superintendent. So the iron were put on again until sometime the arrival of the vessel at Botany Bay.

On arrival the other convicts were set free, given food and clothing, and tools and sent up country. Later on Kelly was set free, and he became a bush ranger and for a time led a somewhat exciting life. Then he was captured and not long afterwards executed. (Note Ned Kelly arrived in Australia in 1842 before Eagers time at sea)

The Coeur de Lion was a vessel of 600 ton and carried a crew of 16 men. She only took 89 days for the voyage Liverpool to Australia, a record in those days. When she returned to Liverpool the vessel was docked, so I joined an American vessel called the Sir Robert Hudson bound for San Francisco. I have been a teetotaller (someone that has never drunk alcohol) all my life, and on arrival at San Francisco I went ashore to have a look round. After a while I went into a coffee shop to have a cup of coffee and enjoyed it so much that I had another, and remembered nothing more until I was being kicked into consciousness on board a vessel far out at sea.

I soon found out that I was on a slaver and that the vessel had no name. she was commanded by a Cornishman named Peter, and had a brutal Portuguese as mate, the vessel made for the west coast of Africa, where some 340 slaves men woman and children were taken on board and herded together in the hull of the vessel. I was not allowed to go ashore and was warned that any sign of sympathy towards the slaves would be very dangerous to my health. These 340 slaves had been engaged by a local king for some imaginary employment, only to find that the proposed temporary employment offered at good wages meant for life without any.

I made three trips on board this vessel carrying slaves to Savannah, Caroline and New Orleans. Many slaves died on the voyage and all were brutally treated. As the vessel neared the destination the slaves were brought up two by two and prepared for market by being scrubbed down with a deck brush.
One of the slaves carried on the first voyage was the discarded wife of the king. She was a very handsome woman, a half caste about 28 years of age, and she fought tooth and nail for her freedom when she was brought on board. But the odds where against her and she was brutally treated.

When the vessel arrived at New Orleans heard that a Russian vessel was to sail the next morning, so during the night I slipped overboard and swam to the Russian vessel and hid myself on board. The vessel was anchored about 80 yards from our ship and was bound for Archangel.

When the vessel had got to sea I presented myself to the captain, who spoke English, and told him my story and he allowed me to sign on as a Russian on board his vessel.

One of the deck hands of the slaver told me that three voyages before I was brought on board they had been chased by a British sloop (ship) of war, and as it was a serious matter to be in the slave trade, the three hundred slaves were brought on deck and dumped overboard.

After discharging a cargo at Archangel the Russian vessel sailed for St. Petersburg and I then went to the British Consul (the people in the building will help you if your British) who sent me on to Hull and eventually to Jersey.
I then got a job on board the cutter George of Jersey (Captain Kent), and we sailed to Brittany to get a cargo of apples for Liverpool.

After a passage of five days we arrived at Liverpool and the girl came down to the ship to buy apples. I noticed a young girl, about 14 years of age, very dirty and verminous. And I ordered off the ship. She went on quay and began crying, and the captain passing by asked what the matter was. She said she had been ordered off the ship by me, that she had no mother or father and nowhere to go, and that she was trying to earn a little money by selling apples.

The captain asked me why I had ordered her of the ship and I explained that she was so filthy and verminous. The captain was a very kind-hearted man, and he said to me: “Joe, don’t you think that if I gave you half a pound of tobacco you could get some hot water and wash that girls head?” I did not like the job, but I did it, and having given her some hot water she went into the hold and thoroughly washed herself. The captain then got some clothes from a friend ashore and these we gave to her with a new clean basket and he burned the old rags which she had previously worn. She then went into the city with her apples and did good business, and whilst we where in Liverpool we looked after her.

A few years afterwards when I was walking in one of the streets of Glasgow a smartly dressed young woman came up to me and asked whether I did not know her I said “no” and did not want to. But she said “ do you remember the apple girl at Liverpool?” it then dawned apon me that she was my old friend, and said that after we had left she got a job and had married and was very happy. She took me to her home and introduced me to her husband, and when I left she gave me a gold ring which later on I gave to my wife.
After leaving Liverpool the George made for port Dinorwic near Caernarfon on the Seiont river for a cargo of slate for Jersey and after loading and sailing we were caught in a storm and had to take shelter in Holyhead.

We were kept there over a month by the contrary winds and had very little money and had very little food for the captain could get no advance on freight or cargo. When we did get away the George began to leak badly and we only managed to get into the old harbour in Jersey just in time. On examination the vessel was found to be in a very bad state and was condemned as unfit for sea.
I was then about twenty-two years of age and was out of a job, but I came across my wife a Jersey woman, and as she had a little money we married and I stayed ashore for a while. I was called up by the military and joined the East regiment and rose to the rank of corporal, I then thought I would join the navy and went to see Commander C Burney of the royal navy who was then in charge of H.M.S Jersey, a stone built ship on Gorey hill, used for preparing boys for the navy (the ship was fully rigged), who told me that I was to old but said that I could attend the navigation classes on board the ship. I did so well that he suggested my going to Captain John Le Dain’s classes at Plymouth and get my mate’s ticket. I told him it was impossible on account of the expense. He generously gave me £5 and I went and passed the examination and I got my certification as 2nd mate.
After getting my certificate Captain Le Dain obtained a berth on board the brig “Ocean” of Jersey (Captain Brache and owned by Mr. Ottley of Commercial Buildings. She carried about 600 tons and was charted by the Government to take out munitions to Gibraltar, Malta, Hong Kong and Shanghai and to return to Plymouth with obsolete Government stores. I was on this vessel for 14 months when on a voyage from Cadiz to London with fruit and when the vessel was in the Bay of Biscay a block fell and hit me on the shoulder rendering me insensible and I had to be taken into Bayonne, and put in hospital were I remained for over a month.
When I recovered I returned home and then got a job on the “Rose” of Harwich carrying about 300 tons of coal and general cargo for Iceland. When off Iceland a thick fog came on and the Rose ran on the rocks we were sent home by the British Consul.
In 1873 I obtained command of the schooner “Commodore” of Jersey 150 tons, belonging to Messrs Buesnel and Le Quesne of St Malo and the vessel was dismasted in a storm between the Kentish Knock and the Gallopers and taken into Ramsgate and lost my job this was my only ship under command.
I joined many ships after that, going to India, China, Japan, Africa, and other parts of the world, and when able seaman on the German passenger steamer “chemintz” of Bremen

Going to Australia, a little child fell over board and seeing her floating astern of the vessel being held up by her clothes I jumped overboard and had for her and held her until a boat was lowered from the steamer and we were saved. The childs name was Malcolm and she and her mother were going out to Melbourne to join the father who had been successful in gold digging.
The passengers on board made a collection for me and I was presented with £15 and latter on when we arrived in Australia, I was given a silver medal and more money.
During the year 1879 I was wrecked three times. I was A.B. in the “Harvest man” formally of Jersey, when in a dead calm she was run down by the French steamer St. Lorance of Le Havre off the Lizard, and only myself and another Jersey man named Philip Langlois were saved. I managed to save my life by jumping overboard just before the collision. I got hold of a lifebuoy, and when in the water I saw a head come up and seized it and made Langlois get hold of the lifebuoy. After being about an hour in the water we were picked up by the “Peggy” of Padstow, and taken to Plymouth. After the Board of Trade inquiry had been held I joined an American brigantine the “Tregarth” of New York bound with a cargo of ore for Neath in the Bristol Channel, and when about to enter the Channel a very heavy fog came on and we struck Trevose Head near the entrance of Patstow and were taken off from the vessel by a boat from the shore. We had no sooner landed than the Tregarth slid off the rocks and foundering. When at Newport I heard that the Grace of Jersey bound for Jersey with rails for the eastern railway, wanted a hand. She was a smack of about 50 tons and was very old (about 80 years old) and very badly found. The A.B. had deserted her and the night before we “Grace.”
When off Ilfracombe I happened to go down below, and to my astonishment found the cabin half full with water. So we managed to get into Ilfracombe Harbour and, after having had the vessel overhauled and caulked, renewed our voyage, but when we got between Hartland Point and Lundy Island the cabin began to take in water and the vessel began to tremble. So we got out the boat and had just got away when the Grace went to the bottom.
Three wrecks in nine months were enough, so I decided to try and get a job ashore.
I got a job with Mr. Tostevin, who was building the new markets, and worked there until 1881, when Richard Henwood, Francis Quenaultand myself were given the job of pulling down the old pork Market.
Mr. Blakeney, the postmaster, then gave me a job under Mr. Campbell, late R.E., who was employed by the post office, until 1902. When after 20 years service, I was discharged with no pension.
From 1902 until 1908 I did odd jobs at the piers and worked with the National Telephone Company for five years until it was taken over by the Post Office.
I managed to get odd jobs after that until the war broke war.
I may add that in 1881 Fred Barton, George Diamond and I fitted all the rails round the new market under Mr. Dyson, who had the contracts for the ironwork.
When the war broke out I know that if I stayed in Jersey I would have no chance to do my bit, so I went over to Southampton and went to the government office and asked what was the age limit for an artificer who was accustomed to engineering work.
I was told sixty years, and having told the recruiting officer that I was 59, and was allowed to join as a civilian and sent over to Le Havre in a hospital ship. On arrived I was employed in discharging ammunition, but a sergeant of the Engineers hearing that I had been employed at telegraph work engaged me as a civil helper and took me to St. Valery-sur-Somme, where Colonel Hodgkins engaged me as assistant to the Engineers. I was handed over to a Corporal who doubted my capability of climbing a pole, so he ordered me to climb a 30ft pole, which I did, and when I got to the top enquired what was next to be done, he told me too come down again. When we got to the mess the Corporal told the other boys that none of them could climb the pole like me. We staid at St. Valery for a fortnight.
(sec.3,R.E.), and then were ordered on to Albert, when we erected cages for Germans prisoners, but on 19th, 1914, we were ordered to Ypres to demolish my pole a bomb fell at my feet with a time fuse. I had my clippers in my hand, so a simply cut off the fuse and went on to the next pole. The man killed alongside of me was named Du Fresne, of Jersey. I had not got far when I was called before Colonel Hodkins, who asked me if I realised what I had done, and he then told me that if I had not cut that fuse they might all have been blown to pieces.
On 31st October, 1914, we were two miles away when the battle of Ypres began. The Germans succeeded in cutting a salient though and if they had fired up there success they might have got though to Calais. We were terribly short of shells.
We returned to Albert and remained there for five days, when we were ordered to a place called Cheville to make a tunnel which took us a week, when we were sent to Verdun to assist the French. But we only stayed there about three days when we were ordered back to Albert we wanted a drum of field wire, so Sagt. Tapper and I went to Contil Maison to get it. On arrival there we saw that the Northumberland Fusiliers was there and I had a son a sergeant in this regiment. He saw me came up and asked me what I was doing there. I told him “You don’t expect to win the war all by yourself, do you?”
Sergeant Tapper said “is this your father?”
“Yes”, replied my son,
“What do you think of him?”
Sergeant Tapper said that I was the smartest man for 60 that he had ever met.
“60, said my son, “77”.
The sergeant looked grave and said “he must report it or else he would get into trouble. So when we returned he reported it to Colonel Hodkins and latter on I was called before Marshal French, General Petain was with him.

Marshal French said that I could not remain in the lines as if anything happened to me at my age there would be a terrible time in parliament, but that he would send me to Leeds to make munitions.
General Petain gave me a medal as he said France must do something of a man who volunteered at 77 so I came back to England and worked at munitions near Leeds until one day I was told I must go to London and would be met at the station. I put on my best clothes and on arrival at London was put into a motor and driven to Buckingham Palace, where I was taken before the king, who presented me with a Civilian Meritorious Medal.
The king asked me whether I was the type of man who came from Jersey and he then turned to he Majesty the Queen who was present “we must visit these islands”.
I remained at these works until an age limit was ordered and I retuned to Jersey.
In the year 1900 the SS Ena, of Stockton, from Grainville, ran on the rocks off the Minquies and Mr. Le Sueur coal merchant bought the wreck and he engaged Mr. Harper engineer to salve he if possible.
I was engaged by Mr. Harper to assist and we managed to get the Ena afloat by pumping air into the main hold. Mr. Harper, Captain Noel, Connors, myself and a fisherman from La Rocque went aboard the tug Wellington taking the Ena in tow.
We had no proceeded far before the Ena began to blow water into the air and I then knew that she was going to founder and with all hast made for the small boat towing behind.
Mr. Harper and Captain Noel where on the bridge and went down with the vessel, but Mr. Harper came to the surface holding Captain Noel and held him afloat until we came to their assistance. The captain was in a very exhausted state. He could not swim and the end of his tongue had gone into his gullet.
The war was over and on the 19th July, 1919, sports were held at Westmount and there was a veterans race for those over 45. I was then 81 years of age, but I entered among the 30 competitors and came in 4, winning a butter dish, which I am very proud of.
My life has been full of incidents and as my memory I get great pleasure in living in the past I have had many kindnesses shown me.

Joseph C Eager

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Roger Jones

Founder of Ex Libris Books ~ Book Publishing and Production

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