20th June 1940

The Royal Militia leaves Fort Regent

Not only is the Royal Militia of the Island of Jersey the oldest sub-unit of the British Army, having been established in 1337; it was also the last British force ever to be garrisoned at Fort Regent. This came to an end on 20 June 1940 when, as part of the British demilitarisation of the Channel Islands it was transferred to the mainland. Although it was disbanded for 41 years between 1946 and 1987, it was re-established at St Helier’s Royal Engineer’s Yard, Mount Bingham.

Troops shipped out

At the time of their evacuation, the Militia comprised 193 troops and 11 officers, who travelled to the mainland on the SS Hoder and, there, joined the Hampshire Regiment. This transfer was necessary because, had the men remained part of the Militia, to which the National Service Act did not apply, they might not have been sent to fight. By transferring them to the Hampshire Regiment and maintaining the Militia as an entity without any men, they were brought under the auspices of the Act like any other soldier in Britain.

Throughout the occupation, German forces used the Militia’s former home at Fort Regent as a defensive structure, hardened through the addition of flak cannon.

As the Militia was never reformed following the end of the war, Fort Regent lacked a defined purpose until, in late 1967, the States of Jersey started work on building a leisure centre within its walls. This opened in the early 1970s and closed in 2009.


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