Islanders asked to help with family history investigation

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However, when the time came to leave, some went back to family and friends with more than their kit bags and souvenirs of the Great War.

The soldiers proved popular with local girls and vice versa, with a few relationships leading happy couples up the aisle and to a new life on the other side of the world.

One such newlywed pair were Angus Anderson and Edith Hamon, who established a dairy farm, named it St Helier, built up a herd of Jersey cows and raised a family.

Their grandson Rob Lamb is tracing his family roots and contacted author and historian Ian Ronayne to see if he, and the JEP, could help.

Mr Ronayne said: ‘The Australian soldiers were some of the thousands of men unable to return home immediately after the fighting stopped in November 1918.

‘Lacking the ships to transport over 130,000 servicemen, the Australian government prioritised repatriating those with longest service, with family commitments and those needing medical treatment. Concerned that the thousands of active young men who remained behind would get bored and potentially restless, the Australian Army came up with a vocational training scheme.

‘Small groups were parcelled out across the country to study commerce, industry and agriculture. With the latter in mind, a group came to Jersey and joined a scheme organised by a Lieutenant Benest through the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society.’

Unfortunately, records and memories of their time in Jersey are sketchy, but more than one relationship between Australians and Jersey women led to marriage and children.

Edith Anderson’s family owned La Guilmettrie Farm to the north of St Helier and her grandson has sent Mr Ronayne a faded sepia photograph of soldiers outside a property in St Helier. His grandfather is pictured second from the right in the back row above. Investigations by Mr Ronayne have failed to locate where the photograph was taken, or anything more about Angus Anderson and his mates. He hopes Islanders may be able to help fill this forgotten page of Jersey’s history.

Mr Ronayne said: ‘I had assumed it was a building in David Place, but on comparison I am now not sure whether this is the case. A walk around St Helier revealed other candidates, but none quite matched

‘I wonder whether JEP readers could throw some light on where the building is or was if it has been knocked down. Rob would love to get a feel for the places in Jersey where his grandfather worked and lived. Finding this house would be a good starting point.

‘Rob was planning to visit Jersey this year, aiming to retrace his grandparents’ first footsteps together. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic means his trip is more likely to be in 2021.’

Mr Ronayne can be contacted by email at or by calling 07797 722356.

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