Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Traveling Tuesday: Guernsey During WWII

Traveling Tuesday: Guernsey During WWII

During WWII, England’s Channel Islands (located closer to France than to Britain) were occupied by German forces. Learn about the islands here: http://www.lindashentonmatchett.com/2023/10/traveling-tuesday-channel-islands.html. Each of the islands responded differently. Today’s post is about Guernsey, the second largest and westernmost of the islands, it is the furthest from the coast of Normandy and forms the major part of the Guernsey jurisdiction which includes the three other inhabited islands of Herm, Jethou, and Lihou.

When the islands were demilitarized, arrangements were made to evacuate the residents. Each bailiff reacted differently, and on Guernsey panic reigned. Unsure whether there would be enough ships, the decision was made that the children would go first. Arrangements were made with Whitehall that three ships would arrive at 6:00 AM on June 20. Hurried meetings were called at the schools where the sounds of war could be heard from France. Knowing about the bombing raids of England’s cities and towns, parents wondered if the greater danger lay in sending the children away or keeping them under German occupation. Ultimately, there were enough ships for adults to evacuate as well, and approximately half of the fifty thousand residents left.

At 69, Guernsey’s Bailiff Victor Gosselin Carey was considered too old to serve as the island executive
Photo: Public Domain
on his own. Described as pink-faced, chubby, highly strung, and absent-minded, he was an attorney when given the position upon the unexpected death of his predecessor in 1935. Gentle and kind, he was popular among the residents. Interestingly, when the Germans arrived, they went to the home of Major A.J. Sherwill rather than meeting with Carey.

By all reports, a polite exchange between the Germans and Sherwill culminated in them moving to the Royal Hotel to conduct the business of setting up the occupation. By the time Carey arrived, evidence of the occupation was apparent: scores of German soldiers driving motorcycles on the “wrong” side of the road. The hotel’s Swiss proprietor acted as interpreter while the Germans read out the list of orders and instructions that ended with the edict that the full cost of the Occupation would be borne by the island.

The front pages of special editions of the island’s newspapers, the Guernsey Evening Press and the Star, were headlined: Order of the Commandant of the German Forces in Occupation of the island of Guernsey, followed by Carey’s signed statement that “The public are notified that no resistance whatever is to be offered.” More troops arrived on Monday, and the Occupation was completed without any hostile incidents.

Photo: Public Domain
Carey’s powers were reduced and a Controlling Committee created comprised of members from the States of Guernsey and chaired by Major A.J. Sherwill who would later be imprisoned, then deported to a German labor camp for his part in the Nicolle and Symes affair, the second of a series of British Commando raids on the islands. During the Occupation, the Red Cross ship SS Vega delivered supplies and mail to the island. Residents were given work by the Germans, but many refused despite promised associated benefits. Fortifications of the island were constructed by forced labor of captured men. Tragically, the three Jews who were part of Guernsey’s population were deported to German-occupied France in April 1942 where they were given jobs and eventually rounded up and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they died. After the war, a British Military Intelligence report said “when the Germans proposed to put their anti-Jewish measures into force, no protest whatever was raised by any of the Guernsey officials, and they hastened to give the Germans every assistance.”

Carey was knighted in 1945, and Sherwill given the British OBE in December of that year. He was knighted in 1949 and would serve as bailiff from 1946 to 1959.


Francine’s Foibles

She's given up hope. He never had any. Will they find it together?

World War II is finally over, and America is extra grateful as the country approaches this year’s Thanksgiving. But for Francine life hasn’t changed. Despite working at Fort Meade processing the paperwork for the thousands of men who have returned home, she’s still lonely and very single. Is she destined for spinsterhood?

Grateful that his parents anglicized the family surname after emigrating to the United States after the Great War, first-generation German-American Ray Fisher has done all he can to hide his heritage. He managed to make it through this second “war to end all wars,” but what American woman would want to marry into a German family. Must he leave the country to find wedded bliss?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3LrRasj

No comments:

Post a Comment