Flight Lieutenant Richard Jouault DFC 1920-1942 Tuesday, Sep 12 2017 

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Richard Jouault

Born in 1920 to Jean Louis Jouault 1883-1956 and Marguerite Marie Le Dain 1878-1949, Richard went to Victoria College where he became Deputy House Captain for Braithwaite, and was goalkeeper in the Hockey XI that I previously wrote about. He took a short service commission in the RAF in 1938, and I presume the following picture was from that time:

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Richard & “Bing” who looks like David Hocquard Crill in the Hockey XI

Richard was the first Jersey man to be mentioned in dispatches and to be awarded the DFC on June 1, 1940 with two others from 22o Squadron: Ronald Nicholas Selley and Hilton Aubrey Haarhoff, Jouault was promoted to flying officer in September, 1940. he was captain of one of a flight of three aircraft protecting shipping engaged on the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkerque. On encountering a force of some 40 Junkers 87s, the flight immediately launched an attack.  Jouault handling his aircraft with the utmost skill and determination shot down two of the enemy with his front gun.

On the 15th of March 1942 Richard was killed with three others in a training accident at RAF Spitalgate (Grantham) when the Oxford AP645 Richard was in with his pupil a Dutchman WB Straver collided on takeoff with an Oxford AB641 Pilot Derek  Oliver age 30 and pupil an American DL Wyatt  age 27. They are buried in Grantham Cemetery. Thanks to the local RAF association for getting in touch with me and supplying more information including a cutting of a memorial service 2002 making the 60th year since the accident which includes a picture of the Dutch pupil Straver:

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It took over two more years for Richard’s parents in Jersey to get official notification of his death through information passed on by the Red Cross and the Bailiff’s Enquiry and News Service dated 24th April 1944:

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La Rocco Tower Thursday, Jul 28 2016 

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La Rocco Tower

Last week I undertook a Jersey Heritage guide training for La Rocco Tower, having done Seymour Tower in 2013. The Tower was the 23rd and last and largest of the round towers to be built in Jersey and was started in 1796 and completed in 1801, it was named Gordon’s Tower after the then Lieutenant Governor Andrew Gordon. The name Rocco is derived from Rocque-hou meaning Rocky island. This is one of the islands more iconic buildings featuring on the islands twenty pound note and on the neck of proffessional rugby player Matt Banahan.

The tower under the management of Jersey Heritage offers basic accomodation and sleeps seven including the guide, access to stay is limited to tides under 2 metres at low water, under a metre swell, and force 5 (any direction) these safety limits are in place because of the possible need for emergency services needing to get a caualty off, and the lack of landing facilities at the tower. Which is disappointing as it must offer a spectacular view when a decent swell is running. Fishing is good around the tower with Bass, Mackerel, Wrasse, and Garfish (Snipe) giving good sport, another of the saftey issues is swimming which is not allowed from the tower, which I was disappointed to find out, as there was little or no tide around the steps whilst we were there and from half tide down it seemed very safe. There is a large rockpool which served me well for a dip on both days, given their is no rain water in the tower the wash in the sea was welcome.

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View from the top towards the beach

The views were a novelty having spent a large part of my life looking from the shore side, although views are limited at the base due to height of the wall, the top of the tower offers a 360 panorama, although there is no seating in place as yet. We were treated to a spectacular sunset to the west of Guernsey and one can clearly see the other islands of Sark, Herm,  and Jethou.

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German shell damage above the door

Whilst on the rocks below I noticed the marks pictured above, between the door and window, I thought at first it may have been a sun dial, I posted a picture of it on the facebook page of Unseen Jersey and the general opinion this was this damage caused by German fire, the account of the Tower being used by the Germans as a target has been contested by some, so I hope this picture adds some proof to the accounts. The window coins must have been modern repairs to the tower after it was purchased through the campaigning of the late Reverend Manton and public subscription. The repair work also included pumped concrete supplied by Ronez.

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Row of twenty paired unhewn granite stones, a possible megalithic structure?

There are a variety of points of interest to be seen around the tower and surrounding area: pictured above possible megalithic stones, at La Pulente clay deposits over 6,000 years old with horse hoof prints in most probably from horse drawn vraic carts (19th centur, y?), to the now obsolete vraic mark on Le Bunion de Haut (my appeal to the Privy Council to save this mark and others as part of the vraicking law failed with the Queen dismissing it). On our stay the wooden German defence posts were visible on the beach. I did not have much time to look for marine species but was pleased to come across a couple of Giant Gobies which may be the first recorded on the west coast of Jersey, and a protected species in the UK, I am pleased to say the Societe Jersiaise marine biology section are currently surveying the area, which follows on from the ongoing survey work they undertake around Seymour Tower which has resulted in one research paper being produced.

References and further reading:

Jersey Heritage – Conservation Statement: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/media/historic%20buildings/La%20Rocco%20Tower.pdf

Island wiki : http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/La_Rocco_Tower

Island wiki – damage: http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/How_was_La_Rocco_Tower_damaged%3F

Jersey Heritage site booking: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/holiday/la-rocco-tower

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

La Rocque and fish trap Friday, Mar 11 2016 

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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.

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

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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 wasting 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.

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Fishtrap ?

Caen continued Tuesday, Jan 5 2016 

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Jardin des Plantes

 

 

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.

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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: http://www.wikimanche.fr/Band_Shell

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.

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“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: https://jouault.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/battle-of-cherbourg-1864/

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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.

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.

JOSEPHS’ LIFE STORY

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

La Ferrière, Vingtaine des Pigneaux, St Saviour Saturday, Apr 4 2015 

La Ferrière

Some years ago I looked rather unsuccessfully into the history of this property as a Ralph Thompstone had lived here with his Aunt, Ralph had been at school at Victoria College with my Uncle Richard Jouault DFC 1920-1942

Ralph Thompstone circa 1930

Ralph Thompstone circa 1930

I recently had the chance to look around the building and became a bit more intrigued about its past so the following is a work in progress:

La Ferrière consists of a large three storey Victorian house and adjoining converted farm buildings there are a number of datestones to be seen mostly on the farm house:

Damaged Keystone from former arch, TME 1661 Thomas Mourant married Elizabeth Ahier St Saviour 24-1-1637/8

1732 above door east side, northern end.

Above the main garden gate – IMR.MF.1755. Jean Mourant m. Marie Falle (St S) 10.1.1720

I M 1835 on northern end of old farm building and in a similar style 1841 on west facing farm building.

Godfray Map of 1849

Godfray Map of 1849

On the Godfray map shown above between the O and the G we find R (Robert) Brown 1792-? born in St Helier, who was involved in a lot of property transactions but as yet I not aware what his trade or business was. In 1851 he handed over his affairs to his brother Daniel 1802-?  a baker, and we do in fact find Daniel living at the property which was then called “Hillsborough House” in 1852 Daniels sells it to Jean Le Gallais son of Nicolas of St Helier a silversmith and it is presumed this is when the name “La Ferrière” which means a smith in French originated. two weeks after the sale Daniel purchases a property of Jeanne Wimbée 1805-1870 wife of Julien Jouault 1895-1879 my great great granparents, as Julien was a French national he was not allowed to have property in his name, although later he did become a British National and returned to France!

It is said that Jean Le Gallais had La Ferriere built but I do wonder if it was actually Brown who did so. It would appear that Le Gallais did not live here till post 1861 as we find the following on the census: Edgar Bayley 54 England, late Captain 12th Regiment, wife Elizabeth K Bayley 47, daughters: Georgina 19, Fredrica 17, Charlotte 15, son Boné 14.
Farm has Thomas Baudains 39 widower, son Thomas 10, daughters Jane 9, Ann 7.
The building certainly looks new when Le Gallais is pictured here with his son Theodore 1853-1903 who went on to become receiver general, and his nephew Henri Le Bailly, his daughters Rebecca and Naoemi, Rebbecca married a Canadian the Reverend Josiais Jesse Roy 1849-1931,  Rebecca died in the 1880’s and her sister then went on to marry her brother in law. Jean died in 1872 and although I think the family continued to own La Ferrière the daughters remained in Canada, and Theodore lived in St Helier.

Jean Le Gallais & family

Jean Le Gallais & family

On the 1881 census we find Army Major Henry Charles Spearman born Baden, Germany 1836 died Battersea 1891, and his family.  The Farm has Francis C Mourant age 33 born St Helier, and family a farmer of 24 acres.
On the 1891 census John Claudius Raven 59 born Jersey a retired Army Officer, wife Isabella (McPherson) 49 N.S.W. Australia & children born Victoria, Australia. 1901 living at “Beverley Lodge” Colomberie
Farm: Francis C Mourant 44 and wife Jane 49

On the 1901 census Thomas Payn 54, retired Magistrate-Barrister wife Jeanne Payn 61
Farm: F C Mourant 53 and wife Eliza 59

On the 1911 census Marie Warin 41 married, French, Aline Gaudefroy 67 mother, widow.
Walter Le Gros (farmer) 40 born Clairfield, St Saviour, wife Jane E Le Gros 34 born Les Fontaines, St Martin, daughters Irene 7, and Marjorie 4.
1923 Testament of Francis Gaudin La Ferriere, St Saviour
1923 Kellys Handbook: Thompstone, Sydney Wilson C.M.G. (1906)

There is also mention of a Charles Jones of La Ferrière in that his daughter Catherine Elizabeth 1830-? married Naval officer Charles Burney and there son Sir Cecil Burney 1858-1929 became Admiral of the Fleet.

La Ferrière circa 1880 by Badoux http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/File:LaFerriereStSBaudoux.jpg

Le Gallais family photographs http://www.angelfire.com/home/prncarter/photoarchive.html

Jersey Silversmiths http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/Biographies_of_silver_makers

Henry Rondel Le Sueur 1872-1921 Monday, Aug 4 2014 

Dr Henry Rondel Le Sueur 1872-1921
Born January 1st 1872 the son of Francis Charles Le Sueur and Esther Elizabeth Rondel of “Fairfield” Rue du Hurel, Trinity.

"Fairfield" Trinity

“Fairfield” Trinity

The following obituary was published in the journal “Nature”
“He attended a private school until 1887, and then for two years was in the laboratory of a Jersey analyst, Mr F.W. Toms. Thence in 1889 he proceeded to University College, London, taking the B.Sc. degree of the University of London (Honours in Chemistry) in 1893 and the D.Sc. degree in 1901.
Dr Le Sueur’s teaching experience was entirely connected to the institution, namely the Medical School of St Thomas Hospital, where he was appointed demonstrator in 1894 and lecturer in 1904, a post he was still holding at the time of his death on July 9th, he was also one of the Secretaries of the Chemical Society.
There was but one break in his connection with the hospital namely that the caused by the war. In July 1915, he was commissioned Major in the Royal Engineers, and ordered to Gallipoli, to advise on chemical warfare problems, and the complaint he contracted there was probably in no small degree responsible for his final illness. On his return to England he was one of those originally appointed to Gas Warfare Experimental Station at Porton, where he remained till the end of 1917, when he was ordered to the United States to assist in the preparation of the American Gas Warfare Experimental Station.
Dr Le Sueur’s original papers are to be found principally in the Journal of the Chemistry Society. He was a most capable experimenter, who found it necessary to satisfy himself on the minute detail. This probable accounts for the fact that the number of his communications (24) was not large, but they are characterised by a thoroughness, which can only be rightly appreciated by those who know his methods of work. It was however as a teacher that he particularly shone out as a bright star, His capacity for imparting knowledge to others was most pronounced and quiet exceptional, and among his students in his laboratory he was at his best.
Dr Le Sueur’s most marked characteristic as a man was his unfailing loyalty, whether to the science of his adoption, to his colleagues and students, or to his friends. Certainly the Island of Jersey never possessed a more loyal or truer son. His efforts to mask his natural shyness and reserve of manner did not always meet with the success which would allow strangers to recognise the true qualities of the man himself, but those who knew him intimately realise that by his untimely death the science of chemistry has lost a devoted servant, and they have lost a true and loving friend.”

Card sent from Cairo to Elizabeth his sister

Card sent from Cairo to Elizabeth his sister

Prior to the war Le Sueur assisted Dr A.W. Crossley C.M.G, C.B.E, F.R.S. 1869-1927 who was a lecturer in Chemistry at St Thomas’s Hospital, and during this time became a close colleague, and it was Crossley who was the creator of the research station at Porton when the war began. Crossley had an able and close assistant in Miss Nora Renouf 1881-1959, during the war she became a survey officer at the Fuel Research Board. Nora was the born in St Helier, the daughter of John Renouf and Delahay Woods, Le Sueur’s grandmother was a Renouf, but I am unaware of any family connection between the two.

Le Sueur was a founder member of the Jersey Society in London, and became its chairman shortly before his death. He is buried in the family grave at Trinity Church.

hrls

La Pierre Des Femmes Wednesday, Apr 23 2014 

Pierre Des Femmes

Pierre Des Femmes

 

Many will be aware of the largest rock on the south eastern side of Les Ecrehous called Pierre des Femmes which translates into Ladies rock, it is common knowledge about how the rock came about its name, but I had never come across an account of it until I stumbled upon it last year when I was googling for something else and to my surprise there is an account in French which I will roughly translate: The passage between France and and the Channel Islands was a passage for commercial vessels plying their trade between Portsmouth and the islands. The cutters would leave for the Channel Islands and often stop at Cherbourg before tackling the Alderney Race (Le Raz Blanchard), the current would carry them between the islands and sometimes past the Ecrehous before making for the main Jersey port of St Helier. In this period of time things were not good in Liverpool with epidemics and unemployment etc., at the same time Jersey was maunfacturing clothes and pottery and taking on workers. Many young and elderly women left their homes and family to seek work and provide for them. emmigrated to St Helier. One year at the end of summer the brig “Minot’s Light” as usual took on some forty women bound for Jersey They were making good way with a north east wind and were passing Les Ecrehous when the rudder became damaged, perhaps it broke under strain as it passed the shoals, or hit a submerged object, nobody did or will ever know. The Captain called for the ships carpenter to fix it, and this was not the best time for this to happen as they were now being driven towards the Ecrehous reef, the sails were let fly so as to allow the rudder to be fixed, and the flapping of them caused some alarm among the passengers. The captain went below and found the carpenter and his assisant strugglig to repair with the bar flying around in the confined space and their faces were bloodied where they had been struck by it. The captain called for the experienced boatswain to see if he could fix it. The captain went back on deck and then there was an awful shudder and he ran up onto the bridge and saw the sea foaming around them with the out of site rocks below them, he decided to haul in the sails in the hope that the boat would heel over and clear the reef, but it only pushed them more onto the rocks, panic amongst the women set in. A large wave bigger than all the others pushed them hard against the rocks and the dreaded sound of water entering the damaged hull was immediately heard. This was the end and the captain gave the order to lowere the boats in the hope they would get off before the mastes broke and fell down upon them, the boats though were stuck with on one side they were stuck onboard and the other they were being hit by the waves and the rock, they did manage to get one in a useable condition. The ships carpenter was no where to be seen and presumed lost below, two women had been crushed and killed by a falling boom, and one of the crew had been lost trying to free a boat. The sea settled slightly and the second in command ordered everyone to try and make their way onto the nearby rock, half of the women had been washed away and weighed down by their waterlogged garments. Eventually some of the younger, fitter or just lucky ones managed to mount the rock, and the boat was continually being bashed on the rocks and then their was a large crashing noise as the main mast broke and fell. In all 23 women and 9 crew had survived on the rock that was out of reach of the waves but had no vegetation upon it. The women starting drying their clothes although it was not cold but night time was not far away, the crew were concerned as they watched their vessel break up as they had no fire or water and no apparent means of gaining safety.

The young officer suggested they swim to the vegetated island visible not far away stating that the rock they were on would be covered by a couple of metres of water, and that it would not be too difficult a swim as the tide would take them that way, then the women stated most of them could not swim, and even some of the crew admitted likewise. With the “Minot’s Light” breaking up and becoming covered by the tide those that were able had no option but to strip to their underwear and attempt the swim and the others sat their desolate and sobbing awaiting their fate. They made good progress over a short distance but the women were not accustomed to swimming in such a sea and were soon lost to it, eventually only six of the men managed to reach the shingle and the island. Then men tried as best they could to dry their clothes and warm themselves, then tried to get some sleep, not long after the cries and screams of those being taken by the sea could be heard, eventually the survivors fell asleep and awoked in clear sunshine with not a sign of anyone else or the remains of “Minot’s Light”  Nothing reamined to be seen at Pierre des Femmes and no one would ever want to venture near this site of such an unfortunate tradegy.

The author was never sure of the tradegy that is related above but one day he related the story to friends father from Morlaix who had been a Merchant seaman and he said it is true as he had seen a plaque in Liverpool which commerated those on the “Minot’s Light” lost off the French coast.

translated from an account by Gilles Letournel  http://www.la-mer-en-livres.fr/pierre.html

The version I have heard but from whom I do not recall was that there was an English vessel that struck a rock and was taking in a great deal of water and expected to sink, and so the captain put the women on Pierre des Femmes thinking it would not be covered by the tide, and during the night the vessel managed to make its way into the sheltered waters of the reef and remained afloat but the woman had been washed from the rock never to be seen again. Given that this was such a disaster it is surprising that I have not come across any substantial record or mention of this episode, but given the name of the rock has lasted one suspects the account must be true, as is the rock La Balance at les Dirouilles which happened in 1816 when a French transport ship “La Balance” on its way from St Malo to Canada met its fate and 40 perished and 70 survived and reached the barracks at Rozel where they were given food and shelter.

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