The Great War 1914-18 didn’t touch the Channel Islands directly. True, many Jerseymen joined up to fight, and many never returned. And a POW camp popped up on the sand dunes with hundreds of Germans enjoying a little holiday there. But generally speaking, life in our quiet island continued as normal.

On the site of the present day Highlands College was a Jesuit school, Notre Dame de Bon Secours. On 6th July 1915 a group of students set off for their annual picnic with a school master. Their destination was Portelet Bay on Jersey’s south-west coast.

The weather was poor – cloudy and windy. Nonetheless the boys, seeing the tide receding, decided to bathe. Few were able to swim, but ventured into the shallower waters off the western edge of the causeway leading over to Janvrin’s tomb.

front cover-page-0

It appears that a large wave swept the boys over the causeway to the deeper waters on the other side.

Eight boys were drowned.