In this edition
Meet the Team Liberation of Jersey Operation Hardtack 28 A Truley Great Escape Saving Russian Bill
Welcome to our magazine This was all started in 2012 with a little website and Facebook page we made called “Traces of War Jersey” Its only aim was to share photos and information from the WWII Occupation of Jersey. From there we have developed it in to a small business capable of funding our ongoing research, projects and most importantly the sharing of lesser known stories. It is our ambition to research and share the history of the Second World War Occupation of the Channel Islands and the Normandy region. Using our tours, website and this digital magazine we are going to share our journey of discovery with you. Phil and Kimberley
Contents Meet The Team Our Coverage Jersey From Occupation to Liberation Jägerstand Casemate See it before it’s lost Operation Hartack 28 A Truly Great Escape 3,7 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 36 Jersey Map Saving Russian Bill
Special thanks to, Stuart Nicholle (Jersey Heritage) & Colin Isherwood (CIOS President) for the kind permission to use many of the photos in this edition. All the Staff of the Jersey Archive, Das Bundesarchiv and the Library of Congress. David Marett for the assistance and advice on editing. Thanks of course to both of our long-suffering families, to whom The Occupation Detectives are dedicated
Phil Marett Co-founder Living on Jersey and being part of a very old Jersey Family, Phil was never far away from bunkers and stories from the war. Phil’s Great Grandfather served in the Royal Militia of the Island of Jersey during the First World War and he and Phil’s Grandparents remained on the Island during the Second World War Occupation by the Germans. Phil’s father, David, inspired his interest in photography and after finishing college he started work in the photography industry. After years of learning about cameras and film development Phil changed direction and started working in Finance. This did not stop his love of photography, which became more and more focused on Jersey’s Military heritage. After finding nothing online about the WWII sites Phil was documenting, Phil started a Facebook page and a website to share his research work. This started off with a few friends joining and soon grew into something much bigger, Kimberley joined the operation and the two of them created Jersey War Tours. When not in a bunker or researching, Phil can be found spending time with his wife Sarah and their children Toby and Holly.
Kimberley Bichard Co-founder Kimberley’s passion with History started at a very young age. Her grandad fought in the Second World War and she would take any opportunity to ask him questions. Like many people of that generation he was not very talkative, this only added to Kimberley’s curiosity. Kimberley studied history throughout her education, specifically focusing on WWII and Operation Overlord for her A Levels. “Growing up on Jersey you are surrounded by such a rich history you tend to take it for granted”. Kimberley was given her grandads war medals many years after he passed, she began to research them and reached out to Phil for a bit of extra help. Kimberley’s passion for history and specifically WWII had been reignited and with this she began to help Phil with his research of Jersey specifically the Occupation of the Channel Islands and with that Jersey War Tours was born! Kimberley is just about to return from her honeymoon after marrying her childhood sweetheart Luke.
Our Coverage To make it easier for our readers, we will drop one of the icons below, on any stories that are not clear on where the location is. In future editions, we will be covering stories from all the locations below.
StĂźtzpunkt Le Grouin
Jersey From Occupation to Liberation The German Occupation of Jersey began one week after the British government had demilitarised the island fearing for the safety of civilians should there be any conflict. The codename for this was “Operation Green Arrow” and the initial German Air Force reconnaissance flights mistake civilian farming lorries for troop carriers. On the 28th of June 1940 , the German Air Force, not knowing of the demilitarisation, bomb and machine gun multiple sites on the island. The attacks killed ten people and wound many more. A few days later on the 1 of July 1940 General Richthofen, The Commander of the German Air Forces in Normandy, dropped an ultimatum from the air demanding the immediate surrender of the island. White flags and crosses were placed in prominent positions, as stipulated by the Germans, and later that day Jersey was occupied by air-borne troops under the command of Hauptmann Gussek with the Navy transporting troops from St Malo.
Above German troops leaving St Malo for Jersey. Below the airport is under a new command (Bundesarchiv)
Under the occupying forces, one of the greatest hardships was the lack of news from the mainland after the Germans had outlawed the use of crystal radio sets. A number of individuals risked imprisonment by making their own sets and spreading frontline news. Horse drawn traffic became an increasingly regular sight as petrol shortages became severe, and many vehicles were converted to use gas. The price of bicycles rose, and their use was restricted to those connected to essential services. The German’s ordered all traffic to drive on the wrong side of the road. The island was also moved to Central European time.
Hitler ordered the conversion of Jersey into an impregnable fortress. Thousands of slave workers from countries like Russia, Spain, France, Poland, and Algeria built hundreds of bunkers, anti-tank walls, railway systems, as well as many tunnel complexes. In late 1943 the Tunnel Complex Ho8 (now known as the Jersey War Tunnels) in St. Lawrence was converted from an artillery workshop and barracks to an emergency casualty clearing station able to cope with up to 500 patients. All of the fortifications built around the island were part of Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’. Today, traces of Jersey’s defences and wartime occupation can be discovered across the island, especially in St. Ouen’s Bay.
Above construction starts at Batterie Lothringen and below Batterie Moltke (Bundesarchiv).
In June 1941, islanders responded to a radio appeal from Britain to the peoples of Nazi-occupied Europe to put up ‘V for Victory’ signs. The appeal was not specifically directed towards Channel Islanders, but a few bold people joined in nevertheless. Such signs were painted on street signs, houses and walls. The sabotage provoked a strong reaction from the Germans who threatened to punish whole neighbourhoods if the culprit was not found. Islanders helped to hide forced workers that had escaped, shared news from illegal radios, some escaped with detailed plans of bunkers. All of these actions were seen by the German forces as military crimes, with heavy penalties if caught. Some islanders made the ultimate sacrifice for others. One of the most common questions we are asked on our tours is whether there was any attempt by the British to get back the islands. Operation Constellation was the code name of one of the missions planned by Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1943 to take back the Channel Islands. ‘Condor’ was the name given to the Jersey part of the operation. After a period of heavy bombing Jersey would be taken back at force. Approved by most of the high command, no air support was offered due to what was seen to be as an excessive loss of civilian life. The liberation of the Channel Islands would have to wait until after D-day.
Above is a photo of the map drawn up for the invasion of Jersey, courtesy of the National Archives, Kew
Photograph shows American soldiers wading from Coast Guard landing barge toward the beach at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944
On the 6th of June 1944, the Normandy landings marked the initiation of ‘Operation Overlord’, the invasion of northwest Europe by the Allied forces.1944 signalled the beginning of the end of the German occupation, but it was not until nearly a year later that the islands were finally liberated. As you can see on the map below, the 82nd and 101st Paratroopers passed incredibly close to the islands. Major David Thomas, regimental surgeon of the 508th PIR, like most of the other in the regiment, took off from England on his first combat jump. “We took off and headed out over the English Channel. As far as you could see were C-47s We got no flak until we passed the Channel Islands. Shortly thereafter we did a left flank and went into Normandy”.
The Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944 profoundly affected the food and economic situation of the islands. Supplies which had previously been imported from German-occupied France were cut off. In a memorandum handed by the Bailiff to the commander of the German forces on 31 August 1944, Dr R N McKinstry, the medical officer of health, stated of the islanders: “Many are in a very poor condition, so the extra reduction in food values will have a serious consequence for them.” The British government reminded the German commander that it was the duty of the occupying authority to feed the civilian population. On 12 November, the German authorities allowed the Bailiff of Jersey, Alexander M Coutanche, to send a message to the British government giving details of the state of the islands’ supplies. The Home Office issued a letter on 9 November 1944, proposing that the Joint War Organisation (JWO) take definite action to help the islanders. The government would provide facilities for sending food parcels to British civilians on the islands, subject to the same conditions under which parcels were sent to prisoners of war. The ICRC would supervise the supply and distribution of the parcels. The German government agreed to accept a supply of food to the islands. The JWO estimated it would need to supply 300,000 food parcels and 10,000 diet supplement parcels (for the ill) to the islands for the first five or six weeks. The JWO had several ships operating a shuttle service between Lisbon and Marseilles. The government asked the organisation to provide one of their ships to transport the supplies, and the Vega was chosen for the duty. The Bailiff of Jersey announced in The Evening Post on Friday 8 December 1944 that: “I am officially informed by the German military authorities that a Red Cross ship was, weather permitting, due to leave Lisbon on Thursday, December 7th, for the Channel Islands.
The ship will call at Guernsey first, en route for Jersey.” They were also informed that letters for the Channel Islands’ civilian internees in Germany would be collected by the Red Cross ships. The Red Cross’ SS Vega left Lisbon on 20 December, carrying food parcels and diet supplies for the ill. She arrived in Guernsey with her life-saving cargo on 27 December and in Jersey on 31 December. The food parcels were provided from the British Commonwealth supply stores in Lisbon and included 108,592 Canadian-packed parcels and 11,200 New Zealand-packed parcels. The Vega sailed five more times. In relief voyages between February and April 1945 Photos and information provided by the British Red Cross
On the 6 May 1945 a delegation of German officials met with Jersey’s Bailiff, Alexander Coutanche, and the Attorney-General to discuss the developments in Europe and their impact on the islands. The German Command were defiant and no reference to surrender was entertained. Instead, the Germans portrayed their defeat as a shift in focus towards a union between the powers in a new fight against Russia. As if to illustrate this sentiment, the German Commander of the Channel Islands, Vice-Admiral Huffmeier, responded to the British Army’s request for capitulation by stating that he only received orders from his ‘own Government’. Despite the nonchalance of the German occupying forces, which were still officially recognised, Jersey’s preparations for liberation began to take noticeable shape. On 8 May the Allied units that made up Force 135 received their orders to move to their marshalling camps in Portsmouth. The main body of the Force was due to arrive in the islands on 12 May, however, a small contingent of Force 135, including their Commander, Brigadier AE Snow, left for the Channel Islands aboard HMS’ Bulldog and Beagle the morning of 8 May. Together with the units of Force 135, this first party consisted of a team of officials responsible for negotiating the terms of the Germans’ surrender. The front page of the Jersey Evening Post carried Jersey’s first confirmation of the Allies’ victory in Europe, and islanders were informed that Winston Churchill would broadcast the Nation’s first official announcement that afternoon at 3.00pm. Crowds began to gather at various locations to hear the announcement that would declare their liberation. Islanders waited patiently amidst the heavy air of expectation. At 3.00pm Winston Churchill crackled onto the airwaves. The Prime Minister’s words announced the end to the war in Europe and the “unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces in Europe”. When, amidst great cheers across the island, he uttered the words, “our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today”. Island-wide flags and decorations sprang up. From a balcony overlooking the Royal Square, Bailiff Coutanche gave an impassioned address and proceed with an emotional rendition of the national anthem. Possessions, forbidden under the occupation, miraculously reappeared, adding to the celebrations. Parties continued throughout the rest of the day and long after the King’s speech at 9.00pm, with several bonfire and firework displays taking place.
May 8, 1945: Winston Churchill waves to crowds gathered in Whitehall on VE Day Keystone/Getty Images
At 7.15am on 9 May, on the quarter deck of HMS Bulldog, Second-in-Command for Guernsey General Siegfried Heine signed the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the German Command of the Channel Islands, effecting their capitulation. On completion of this, General Heine was then ordered to “immediately cause all German flags and ensigns now flying in the Channel Islands to be lowered”. At Midday, an overjoyed Bailiff Coutanche accompanied a German delegation led by the island Commander, General Major Rudolf Wulf, aboard HMS Beagle anchored in St. Aubin’s bay, where the separate surrender of Jersey was to take place. Arriving at the same time in St. Helier’s harbour was a small naval inspection party sent to report on the health of the islanders, who were promptly overwhelmed by an enthusiastic crowd delighted at seeing their first liberators landing on Jersey soil. The advanced landing party was dispatched to secure control of St. Helier and signal the liberation. Crowds greeted the liberating forces. Having wrestled their way through the hordes of celebrating locals, Lieutenant-Colonel WPA Robinson and his team eventually arrived at the Pomme d’Or; the pre-selected liberation HQ. On their arrival the swastika flag was ordered down from the hotel balcony and, at 3.40pm the Union Jack was hoisted, officially signalling the end of the occupation. At this the crowd broke into a passionate performance of the national anthem before the streams of cheers erupted. This time, it was the Germans who were ordered to fly the white flag. The task force included many Channel Islanders who were forced to leave in 1940, and one of them, Captain Hugh le Brocq, was given the honour of raising the Union Jack over Fort Regent. As the day of liberation drew on, the celebrations continued and islanders celebrated their freedom to be together.
Widerstandsnest High Tower
Pointe du Hoc
See it before its lost!
The site of the old Girls College is currently being converted to apartments but it has held a big secret since the war. The School was taken over by the German authorities on the 12th of November 1941to house the first Organisation Todt (OT) workers. The Germans named the college “Lager Hindenburg” after Paul von Hindenburg who was a German Field Marshal of the First World War. The OT was a Third Reich civil and military engineering group in Germany notorious for using forced & slave labour. It was named after its founder, Fritz Todt, an engineer and senior Nazi figure. Fritz visited Jersey before his death and heavily influenced the plans of Hitler’s impregnable fortress. The organization was responsible for a huge range of engineering projects both in pre-World War II Germany, in Germany itself and occupied territories from Jersey to the Soviet. It became notorious for using forced labour. Hindenburg held the first OT forced workers to arrive in Jersey. In March 1943, it was converted in to an OT hospital, following an outbreak of typhus among the Russian slave workers. It was closed in October 1943. On the 30th of July 1944, red crosses are painted on to the walls of the College and it is reopened as a German Naval Hospital until Liberation. After Liberation, the hospital was taken over by the Royal Army Medical Corps.
You can see from our photos the red crosses are still visible today, but they are soon to be painted over as part of the new development â€œCollege Gardensâ€?. It is important to note that the red crosses were only painted on the building when the Germans planned to use the building as a hospital. The photo on the right has been provided by Norman Wood and is of graffiti left by the men who painted the crosses. This graffiti was found in the interior of the buildings small dome.
Widerstandsnest Fort Henry
Operation Hardtack 28 Hardtack was the name of a series of Allied Commando raids during the Second World War. The operations were conducted by No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando, No. 12 Commando and the Special Boat Service. They all took place on enemy held territory from the Channel Islands to the northern coast of France. Most of the raids consisted of ten men of various ranks, carried by Motor Gun Boats and dories, except for one operation, which was an airborne landing. The raids were ended by order of Major General Robert Laycock because they caused the enemy to bring reinforcements, which could have been detrimental to the Allies’ Overlord planning. On Christmas Day in 1943 Captain Philip Ayton, Sgt D Roberts, Lt Hulot , Cpl J Hourcourighary, Cpl M Roux & Cpl Allain undertook the only Allied raid on Jersey “Operation Hardtack 28”. The plan was simple, land, gather intelligence and capture and bring home a German soldier for interrogation. Captain Ayton had not been detailed to lead this raid, the officer who had been was married with a family and as Captain Ayton had just returned from leave he volunteered so that the officer detailed could have Christmas with his family.
Site of the landing at Petit Port
The commandos planned to land at Giffard Bay but in the operational plans we found in the archive Giffard was crossed out and changed to Petit Port. This may have been to do with RAF reconnaissance flights spotting a heavy defence above the bay. The German 1943 maps show a resistance nest there named Jasmin. The Naval boat assigned to this mission was code named “Force 113” and the vessel used was a Motor Gun Boat (MGB 329). Leaving Dartmouth, Force 113 moved to a holding position just half of a mile from petit port. Leaving the relative safety of MGB 329 the commandos board and are taken to the shore by a small boat known as a dorey. Communications from this point was to be by torchlight. At 20:45 they land without alerting any of the German forces. The first stop for the commandos was a small stone building, known now as the “Wolfs Lair”, and a corrugated iron shack. Both were empty with no signs of any recent activity. They continued past these buildings until the team reached a wire obstacle about 3 feet high running parallel to the beech for about 200 yards. Here they discovered the first evidence of the German occupation, using their torches they light up a notice facing inland, in red text on white, “ACHTUNG MINEN” and in English below “STOPMINES”. The team proceeded toward the hamlet of Egypt and visited the first house they came to. The windows of this property were broken and there were no signs of recent use. Captain Ayton decided to make a detour avoiding the village and found another notice, which stated in red on white, “MILITARY ZONE - ENTRY TO CIVILIANS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN” both in English and German.
An MGB on Patrol in the Channel
The patrol then moved across country to make a reconnaissance of the observation post (documented on the map as 773819). They moved very quietly, keeping a sharp lookout for wire obstacles or minefields, but did not meet any. The team went right up to the observation post itself and it was well camouflaged. It consisted of a mound with two entrances on the landward side, each with 7 or 8 steps leading down to a steel door. The doors were locked and there was no means of forcing them. On the seaward side, there was what appeared to be a pillbox under the netting with a loophole facing North. They found there was several slit trenches by the observation post which were in poor condition but no active tracks. The Commandos decided to go inland along the road towards two farms hoping to meet a German patrol. As they neared the closest farm (La Geonniere pictured below) it looked occupied and so advanced and knocked loudly on the door. After about 20 minutes a frightened woman opened the window on the first The M5 Army Observation Bunker floor and in English they asked her if she could tell them the whereabouts of some Germans. She said that she could not help and directed them to a farm where she said they might get some information. Following her instructions, the patrol moved towards the farm (773812 on the map Les Champs du Chemin). They knocked loudly at the door and after a few minutes Hedley Le Breton came to open the door, but he was so frightened that he could not speak, the sight of these Commandos with sub machine guns blackened faces was just too much for him. His brother John soon came to the door and he was La Geonniere also very frightened. Captain Ayton and Lt Hulot managed to calm them down and found that they could speak both French and English. The brothers soon relaxed when they were certain this was not a German trap and as they were interviewed they prepared glasses of milk for the Commandos.
Hedley Le Breton
John Le Breton
At the end of the interview the brothers offered to assist the team in finding an enemy patrol. The brothers guideed the team across country to the eastern edge of the Jasmin resistance nest. They were within sight of the barbed wire at 772815 and Captain Ayton and Holt then went on alone and arrived at what was thought to be a minefield. Captain Ayton investigated further and single wire antennae about 10â€™â€™ high sticking out of the ground at intervals of about a yard in staggered rows was found. They tried to wriggle one of the antennae very gently without effect. The team then looked around and saw no sign of a sentry and could not find an entry into the nest. As they only had 45 minutes left to make their way back to the beach, it was decided to return by the way they had come - avoiding the actual path for fear of mines and abandoning the search for a prisoner. At 0445 hours they reached Petit Port but the dorey was not there so the team moved northward along the cliff to look for it, flashing a torch for 15 minutes to attract the attention of the dorey. At about 778820 (on the map) they came to a three-strand cattle fence which extended down the cliff. Captain Ayton crawled under the fence. Suddenly, there was a vivid red flash which lit up the whole area and a loud explosion. Lt Hulot first thought that a German Patrol had found them and proceeded cautiously forward but saw no one and soon realised that Captain Ayton had trodden on a mine. At first the Commandos could not find him and searched the cliff side. Then they heard a faint cry for help and found him lying badly wounded on the cliff side with his foot entangled in some brambles, which probably prevented him from falling down the cliff. The team had no time to examine the minefield as the chances that an enemy patrol would come along to investigate the explosion was very high. One very small fragment from the mine was recovered and brought back. At this point the faint sound of the MGB alerted the team to its position, which was now just 400 yards from the shore. The team started to flash the torch again and the MGB answered the signal sending the dorey back to collect the team. After much difficulty, they managed to get Captain Ayton down the cliff and finally re-embarked in the dorey at about 0520 hours. Although they had waited for the dorey for about half an hour after the explosion, there was no enemy reaction whatever. Captain Ayton died later that day in Devenport England. Despite the tragic loss of Captain Ayton, the operation was a success, they had gathered valuable samples of barbed wire, gathered important intelligence on the strength of the enemy forces and thanks to the brave Le Breton brothers a detailed interview was brought home.
As we were finishing writing up this story we re-
ceived an amazing email from Julian. An extract below. “My interest in Operation Hardtack 28 dates to a year and a half ago, when my Uncle Alan (visiting Canada from Portsmouth) gave me a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife. As the story goes, my dad Bernard, who grew up under German occupation along with his four siblings, found this knife in some bushes off the shore in Trinity while cavorting with some friends when he was 12 years old, in February 1945, a few months prior to liberation. He held onto it for 10 years, never telling his parents. Upon leaving for Canada in 1955 at 22 years old, he presented it to his younger brother Alan to take care of. Alan held onto it for another 60 years and then brought it over to me in late 2015. As this knife, did not go into production until seven months after the occupation of Jersey, the assumption has been made that it could only be there as a remnant of Operation Hardtack. The knife in my possession has been verified as an early model (1941-1942) and my suspicion is that it belonged to Captain Ayton and was lost after his fatal step on the mine.” This indeed appears to be a knife from the raid and potentially could have been dropped by any of the commandos during the rescue of Captain Ayton or even Ayton’s Knife. The pictures of the knife are courtesy of. Julian and we would like to thank him for sharing his family story.
Do you want to learn more? you can join us on an Occupation Heroes Day Tour! Handle the weapons the commandos used, follow the route they took and visit the bunkers they did.
Lest we forget
Captain Philip Ayton
Captain Ayton was born in the Edmonton area in 1921 to Sydney Harry Ayton and Elsie Alice (nee Foster). He had 3 brothers, Sydney, Clive and Peter. He was a Captain (Service No 184637) in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Special Boat Service. Captain Ayton is buried in Dartmouth (Longcross) Cemetery, Devon Sec.G Grave 136
Lieutenant Léopold-Hyacinte Hulot
Léopold Hulot was born in 1923 in Vannes, France. At the age of 18 he decided to leave his profession as a teacher and join the French Free Forces (FFL) in England. It took more than a year to arrive in London with his journey taking him through Spain where he is detained at the Franco-Miranda concentration camp. This is where the Republican prisoners were incarcerated, but also the foreigners who crossed the border. Léopold pretends to be a Canadian, which means that he is deported to Gibraltar, from where he leaves for London. He then joins Number 10 Commando. On D-Day he lands at Sword Beach, after three days of fighting he is evacuated to England for treatment of 7 bullets wounds to his legs. After recovery, he fights in Holland then Germany. After the war, he spent a few months in Germany, while the country was occupied by the Allied forces. He was promoted Knight of the Legion of Honor on August 6, 1946. He joined a unit of the Army and volunteered for the Indo-China War, where he died in action on September 27, 1948, at the age of 25 years. He is buried in the military cemetery of Sainte-Anne-d’Auray. Photos courtesy of Ashton Horner & the Commando Veterans Association.
Above is a copy of the notes taken by Lt Hoult during the interview of the Le Breton brothers
Using the coordinates docu
umented in the debriefing of the French commandos, we have plotted the rough track the team followed.
A Truly Great Escape Two members of the 6th Armoured Division, Captain Edward Clark Assistant Division Engineer and 1st Lt. George C Haas, an aerial observer with the 231st Armoured Field Artillery Battalion, were both captured in the region of Brittany early August 1944 and taken to St Malo by the Germans. They were brought by boat to Jersey to avoid falling back in to allied hands. Haas, from Mt Kisco, New York, was captured near Dol near Dinan when his Piper L-4 plane piloted by 1st Lt. John Townley, was shot down by 20mm Flak. Townley was hurt so badly by a shell fragment and the crash that he died an hour later in a German ambulance. Haas was hit by flak and in crashing heâ€™s left leg was broken just above the ankle. When German Ground troops came on the scene firing, one round struck Haas just an inch above his first wound, causing another break. FollowPiper L-4 Plane ing treatment on his leg the Lieutenant was taken to a hospital in St Malo, then Still in German hands. Haas and other American prisoners were placed on trucks the next day, enroute to Brest, but when Germans could not reach that point because of advancing American forces, they returned to St Malo. Taken to Jersey on August the 4th 1944 Haas was placed aboard a German minesweeper and taken to Jersey, being placed in the care of the Military Hospital. Clark, whose home was in San Benito Texas, was in the Dinan area on August the 2nd in search of a water point for the division. He and his driver were surrounded by Germans firing small arms and throwing hand grenades forcing them to surrender. Unhurt the two were taken to St Malo and then to Jersey by boat.
John H. Townley source: College of Emporia Alla Rah Yearbook (Emporia, KS) - Class of 1941
George Haas source: National Archives
Ed Clark source: National Archives
RAF Aerial photo of the Allied P.O.W Camp (centre left), April 1945
After George was released from hospital he was moved to the camp and shared a room with Ed. On the 20th of December 5 Germans escaped a US POW camp in Granville, France. The German stole a US LCVP landing craft and made their way first to the Minquiers (a group of rocks southeast of Jersey) and then in to St Helier. Treated like heroes the Germans celebrated the escape and obviously boasted about it to the Allied prisoners whenever possible. George and Ed however took the news as a challenge and thought if Germans can make it to Jersey, they could make it back to France. Plans were made to try and escape by digging a tunnel from the latrine in the Officers’ Quarters that would take them under the fence and to freedom. The plan was put in to action and George began digging. Unfortunately, a guard noticed that Hass had been taking a considerable time when going to the latrine. The guard investigated and the tell-tale marks of tunnelling mud was discovered. George was arrested and tried before a Military Court on a charge of “Attempting to escape and destroying public property”. The next day, The Commandant, announced the sentence was to be 10 days’ solitary confinement in Newgate Prison.
George was moved to Newgate Prison for 10 days’ solitary confinement only to discover he could easily talk to the other inmates. All of whom were locals that had been held for resistance activities. These loyal Jersey residents gave George detailed plans of the island, as well as a list of loyal friends that would help them if they got out. All this was memorised by George. George returned to the Camp with all the information safely stored in his head. He met Colonel Reybold, Allied Camp Commander, to request that he be permitted to escape with another officer. This was agreed and the officer selected was Ed Ed. A simplified plan was put in to place, with Ed suggesting scaling the wall was to have the best chance of success. Lt Blacker, the only survivor of a C47 that was shot down near Bouley Bay three months earlier, suggested they could make a ladder using George’s crutches and a bent iron poker. A list of all the men at the camp was written on toilet paper and Colonel Reybold and Lt Blacker wrote letters to their families for the escapees to pass on. Just before dawn on the 7th of January Ed and George escaped over the wall & baarbwire fence via the improvised ladder. Two dummy body shapes were left in their beds to fool the guards making regular checks. This worked very well and it was not until after 10am the two were reported as missing.
Remains of Lt Blacker’s C47. Copyright www.suedalyproductions.com
They made their way through Harve des Pas and followed the 60cm gauge railway only changing the route slightly to avoid gun positions. The first property George and Ed visited was ‘Saltaugh Samarès’, this was about a few miles east of the camp. The house belonged to the Laurens family and the Americans arrived there at 8am. The family provided George and Ed with tea and scones. Both noticed that their presence was causing some alarm and decided to shelter in the rough. They dug a slit trench about half a mile from the house and camouflaged it with brambles and leafs. They lived in the trench for a few days during which the weather turned to rain, sleet then snow. Relief was provided by the Laurens who left warm food and clothes at a prearranged point close to their house.
With the success of the first memorised address the escapees pushed on and continued east. The pair used the inner roads to get to the area known as Fauvic. The next stop for them was to be at a property called “East Lynne” owned by Deputy Wilfred (Bill) Bertram. Bill, who served in the First World war as a Corporal in the 24th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, welcomed the two Americans in to his home as old friends. They were introduced to two elderly female relatives, his brother Charley and John Bertram, a nephew from Canada who had become trapped on Jersey at the Start of the Occupation. Ed and George were given warm milk, fried ggs and potatoes and offered beds. The Americans declined the offer as they had been alerted to the fact that the Germans had threatened death to any islanders that assisted them. Bill gave the two blankets and took them to a large hay stack close to his property. The early before sunrise the next morning Bill took them to a property known as “Mon Repos” which he had been given the key to from Alexander Woodrow. Alexander, who was not born in Jersey and had been a Captain in the British Army, was deported to Germany in 1942 and had left a key with the Bertram family prior to being deported. After discussion, it was agreed to force a window at Mon Repos to make sure if they got discovered nothing would lead back to Bill and his Family. George and Ed over the next few days would sleep during the day and in the evenings, visited Bill they all listened to nightly BBC news broadcasts and he offered them more warm food and drinks. Bill and his friends desperately looked for a small boat to get the Americans back to France. Bill and his family had already assisted with multiple escapes from the Island but on this occasion the Germans had been searching and checking that all small boats where secure for fear the Americans would try to leave the island.
Deputy Wilfred (Bill) Bertram
Ed and George decided they had imposed enough on the Bertrams and feared Bill would get caught hunting for a boat. They discussed surrender but instead decided to try their luck at Gorey Harbour which was very close to their location. In the dark of night, the American officers followed the costal path to Gorey, they encountered a large bungalow blocking the walk and slip down from the seawall to the beach. They then waded to a rowboat. When they ascertained the weather was too rough, they found a beached German trawler and sheltered in its wheel house until conditions improved. At the break of dawn, they started observing the harbour, they soon realised the bungalow was a well camouflaged bunker! and the harbour was a busy strongpoint of German activity. They kept their heads down and watched the patterns of the patrols and German activity.
On the 19th of January 1945, they took the rowing boat, and floated out the harbour dodging the ever-present German combat patrols. When they reached the channel, however, the wind climbed to an estimated 60 miles an hour, and waves mounted 30 to 40 feet. This was in some way helpful as all the German Naval craft were kept inshore. The oars for the 12-foot boat didn’t do a great deal of good in that type of sea, but with Ed’s skilful navigating and George’s energetic bailing with a pump, they kept afloat. Snowfall cut visibility to zero for many hours of the row. Sighting land at daybreak, they paddled for three more hours until they came ashore near Coutance. Just before striking land they were fired on by a cavalry patrol, causing them some uncertainty as to what coast they were landing on. When they saw that it was Americans, they were greatly relieved to be safely back on their own lines again after 14 hours afloat.
Above the rough Route the George and Ed Followed.
Above is an extract of the US Armys War Diary on the 20th of January 1945
3,7 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 36 At Strongpoint Rozel Strongpoint Rozel was made up of two areas of defence, Rozel Fort and Rozel Harbour. Both were known Widerstandsnest (WN) which translates to Resistance Nest. In late 1943 the 3,7 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 36 (Pak 36) position was reinforced with a circular roofed bunker. The Pak position belonged to WN Rozel Fort and the troops assigned to defend this area were Russian formed from Ostbataillion 643 (East Battalion 632) of the Russian Liberation Army. From the German Records, we translated the Forts orders or mission: Combat Mission: The W.N. Rozelfort is commissioned to defend the Rozel and Sauchet Bay from the prepared landings from prepared positions against any enemy attack by sea, land or air. In the eventuality of air-landed opponents it is to fight in immediate counter-attack Combat: For landings in Rozel bay work with cooperation with W.N. Rozel Harbour and the Batterie Haesler. Attacks against the Bouley Bay are repulsed in cooperation with Strongpoint Bouley.
Courtesy of CIOS (Jersey)
Courtesy of CIOS (Jersey)
Saving Russian Bill Feodor Buryi was born in 1919 to a Smolensk family that moved toTomsk in Siberia when he was a child. After the Germans started their invasion of the Soviet Union, Feodor was called up to serve, aged 21. He was placed in the air force but in October 1941 his plane was shot down by the Germans. Feodor was the only survivor of the 3-person crew. Landing behind enemy lines he went underground remaining undetected until the spring offensive. The Germans decided to roundup all the soldiers caught behind their lines and put them in to P.O.W. camps. In June 1942 Feodor was transported, with hundreds other captured men, across Europe, arriving in St Malo where he was sent on to Jersey.
Soviet POWs transported in an open wagon train (Wikimedia Commons).
Once in Jersey, Feodor was processed by the Organisation Todt (OT) and moved to camp Immelmann. Immelmann was found at the bottom of Jubilee Hill in St Peter. It was a notorious camp known for its harsh treatment of workers. Feodor decided this was not going to be his life and decided he would escape the OT camp. After being caught twice trying to escape he received punishments ranging from humiliation to beatings, all of which drained his strength. Camp Immelman, RAF Photo (Crown copyright)
On the 23rd of September 1942, with the help of the other inmates, Feodor’s third attempt was successful. Out on a work assignment the others distracted the guards and Feodor escaped. On the run through the rural parish of St Ouen, Feodor arrived at the Farm house of René Le Mottée.
Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
“I knew at once that he was an escaped Russian prisoner from one of the camps. I took him into the kitchen and gave him some milk. He gulped down a glassful and then fainted. I knew that, whatever the consequences, for I had four young children, I had to help this Russian ally. We installed him in a hay-loft, where he lived for three months. The children looked upon him as their own brother and called him Bill. He told us about the terrible plight of the prisoners in the camps, so we used to go as far as the quarries and leave food for the prisoners to find. But there were informers among the local population. Someone gave Bill away to the Germans. One day I saw some of the Gestapo making their way toward the house. Literally at the last moment, Bill managed to get away.” René Le Mottée. ‘Bill’ then approached Louisa Gould, whom he knew already and told her that he had nowhere to go. Louisa Gould ran a village shop at Millais in the parish of St Ouen. She was a widow with two sons Edward & Ralph. Edward, who was an anti-aircraft control officer aboard HMS Bonaventur, was killed in action when his ship was torpedoed off Alexandria in March 1941. Ralph had continued his studies in Exeter and remained in England during the Occupation, joining the RAF. Louisa said yes to Bill as she wanted to prevent another mother losing her son.
Bill soon became a member of the family and Louisa, her brother Harold, her sister Ivy and friends all helped to teach Bill English. Bill was taught to use a French accent, so that the Germans would not believe he was Russian. However, it was very
The site of Louisa Goulds home and shop
clear to the locals that Bill was in fact Russian. Louisa had taken out an insurance policy with the General Accident Life Corporation and needed to make a claim due to a burn on one of her rugs from a coal ember. Bob Le Sueur, who single-handedly ran the Jersey branch of the General Accident Life Corporation during the Occupation, visited Louisa to complete the paperwork. Bob met Bill and immediately knew he was not a French man. Due to Bob’s work, he could visit many people and properties without drawing suspicion from the German Authorities. Bill soon received a forged ID Card, a local gentleman, Oscar Le Breuilly, had “lost’’ his and it was soon modified for Bill to use.
Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Silvertide was the HQ of the GFP in Jersey
On the 13 June 1942, the Germans ordered that all wireless sets belonging to the civil population of the Channel Islands were to be surrendered. Louisa had not paid any attention to this order and kept her wireless radio set in her bedroom. Each night at 10pm (Jersey was moved to European time) she, Bill and any guests would listen to the BBC 9pm news broadcast. She was known to pass on any news to her shoppers. Louisa Gould was an incredible person, brave, strong and sometimes stubborn. From our research and interviews with people who knew her, it was clear that she was too trusting of others and did not believe the German soldiers would do anything. It was, of course, not the soldiers that would do something but the German Secret Field Police (Geheime Feldpolizei or GFP, for short). It is believed that neighbours of Louisa wrote a damming letter to the German Administration, but incorrectly addressed it to ‘Victoria College’ instead of ‘College House’ where the administration was based. Vice principal of the College Pat Tatam steamed the letter open, read the content and then re-adThis was the German administration building where the trial took place dressed it, thereby creating a 24-hour delay. Pat arranged for a messenger to be despatched to warn Louisa about the impending raid.
Louisa, with the help of her friend Alice, immediately removed all traces that Bill had been in her house and hid the wireless radio. At 6:00 am the next morning Bill left for the home of Ivy Forster. That day, 25th of May 1944, the Germans raided Louisa’s house, arresting her and Alice. In the rush to hide all the traces of Bill, the pair had missed a Russian to English Dictionary, Gift labels to Bill and from Louisa and Ivy as well as a camera given to Bill. Bill soon arrived at Ivy Fosters home. Ivy had also been harbouring a Russian slave, George Koslov, an officer who had also escaped camp Immelmann. George was a restless man and did not enjoy being cooped up. He used to walk around the town and even went to the theatre with the Fosters, where he sat alongside German officers. Bob Le Sueur soon arrived at the house and a discussion was started on what to do next. Bob recommended that the two Russians leave with him and he would find them hiding places. Bill and Ivy believed the Germans would not come looking. Arthur, Ivy’s husband, soon returned from work to find Bill and agreed with Bob that they needed to be moved urgently. Bob moved both Bill and George that evening. He would not tell the Fosters where they were going to go in fear of German interrogation. On the 1st of June, one week after Louisa’s arrest, the Fosters home was raided and Ivy arrested.
On the 8th of June, two days after D-Day, the Germans arrest to of Louisa’s closest friends. Berthe Pitolet, a French housekeeper who had lived in Jersey for 25 years and worked in town, and Dora Hacquoil, a schoolteacher. Pitolet was a regular visitor at Louisa’s house and would spend three or four weeks at a time with her. Hacquoil joined Louisa and Bill in the daily ten o’clock BBC radio broadcast in Louisa’s bedroom. The last to be arrested was Harold Le Druillenec, Louisa’s brother, it is believed the informants had advised the Germans about the people visiting Louisa for her BBC broadcasts. As Harold’s wife Phyllis and Ivy’s husband Arthur rarely visited Louisa they were not interviewed or investigated by the GFP. The Trail was set for the 22nd of June.
This was the Allied situation in France on the day of the trial
On the 22nd of June 1944, all were found guilty and sentences passed. People in attendance at the court martial recall hearing explosions from the battle raging in Normandy.
A list of the sentences sent by the AG. Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Ivy Forster was sentenced to a total of five months and fifteen days for prohibited reception of a wireless transmission and abetting breach of the working peace and unauthorised removal. Ivy survived after escaping deportation because a doctor at the Jersey General Hospital forged papers saying she was not well enough to leave the Island.
Berthe Pitolet was sentenced to a total of four months and fifteen days for prohibited reception of a wireless transmission and abetting breach of the working peace and unauthorised removal. On the journey to the German camps Berthe was with Louisa at Renne prison when it was hit by an allied bomb. Berthe escaped and being French quickly blended in to the city population with the assistance of locals. One week later the city was liberated by American troops and Berthe was free. Alice Gavey was sentenced to a total of three months for abetting.
Dora Hacquoil was sentenced to a total of two months for abetting breach of the working peace and unauthorised removal. Dora also stated later that she owed her relatively lenient sentence to Louisa Gouldâ€™s intervention. "I was charged with listening in, but Lou vowed and declared that I always arrived too late. They accepted her word, a week later she, Harold and Berthe were transported to the Continent. But for her statement I should have suffered the same fate." Dora Hacquoil Black and White Photos Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Harold le Druillenec was sentenced to a total of five months for prohibited reception of a wireless transmissions in company of other persons. Harold was sent to various camps with his last at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Harold was believed to have been the only British survivor.
This is a photo of Harold being liberated from Belsen
Louisa Gould was sentenced to a total of 2 yearsâ€™ imprisonment for failing to surrender a wireless radio, prohibited reception of a wireless transmission and abetting breach of the working peace and unauthorised removal. She was taken to RavensbrĂźck concentration camp where initially she gave English lessons to her companions, before falling ill and eventually being taken to the gas chamber. She was murdered on the 13th of February 1945.
Mike Frowd Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
René Franoux Courtesy of Jersey Heritage
Feodor Polycarpovitch Burriy (Bill) Bob Le Sueur had moved both Feodor and George into his office before the raid at the Fosters. He moved Feodor to temporary accommodation over the next few weeks then moved him to the flat of two conscientious objectors, Mike Frowd and René Franoux. They had arrived in Jersey in 1940 and occupied a flat at 7 Grosvenor Terrace. Feodor had an amazing talent for reproducing photos in ink or pencil. He was soon able to start a small operation for selling his work, with Bob’s assistance; a popular work of his was a drawing of Jesus. Bob would tell potential buyers that the artist “Oscar” was very ill and confined to bed, there he would draw these works of art. Bob opened a bank account for Feodor and kept his profit safe. Feodor would often go cycling with Bob and as Liberation was on the horizon the two of them and friends greeted the incoming British boats from Victoria Pier. After the war Feodor first worked for the Russian Military as a translator, before returning to the Soviet Union. He was approached by British Intelligence who asked him to consider being a spy. Feodor said no and returned home. As with all repatriated Soviet citizens, he was greeted with suspicion and remained under surveillance by the KGB for the next twenty years. In 1992 Bob was delighted to visit Feodor and his second wife in Tomsk. The pair met once more, when Feodor returned to Jersey in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the liberation. Feodor died three years later aged 80. 7 Grosvenor Terrace
Above, Kimberley with one of Billâ€™s drawings of Bob, given to him for his Birthday in 1944. Below, On the back it is signed by Mike Frowd, RenĂŠ Franoux and Bill. After the war Bill signs it again in Russian.
With kind permission from Bob, we would like to share this Photo of Bob, Nadia (Feodor wife) and Feodor taken in Tomsk 1992.
Above Bob speaks to us about the how he and Feodor get to Victoria Pier on Liberation day.
WWII Gun Grave Yard
Evening Tours - Day Tours - Walking Tours
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Join Jersey War Tours researchers Phil & Kimberley on a evening tour of WWII bunkers & their own research sites, all of which are not usually open to the public. They will show you how Jersey was made into an impregnable fortress & help you appreciate what the Third Reich was able to create with slave labour. The tour is also a perfect compliment to understanding the history of the D-Day invasion, which took place less than 30 miles away. Tours need to be pre-booked & early booking recommended
Gain fascinating and often poignant insight into the dramatic occupation of Jersey on a private tour. Accompanied by expert WWII guides we will visit sites and talk you through some of the lesser known stories from heroes of the Occupation. Or you can pick the Bunker Hunters tour where we take you to explore some of the major fortifications. We will visit and explore Artillery Batteries, Flak Batteries, Tunnel complexes and all kind of personnel bunkers. Most are not usually open to the public.
Join us on an evening or day photography tour. We can teach you how to take amazing day time, night-time, sunset or moonlit photos. Or perhaps just be your guides, taking you to some outstanding locations for photography. We also have plenty of spare kit for travellers who have packed light. This tour is run all year and is available on request. Online booking is essential. Just email us if you have any questions at all.
In the next edition: Ho19 War Tunnel Granville Raid PT509 & Squadron 34 D-Day on the Channel Islands Normandy at night An introduction to our armoury Your photos & much more If you would like to submit a story or are interesting in advertising, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first edition of our new magazine. We aim to share photos, stories and video of the WWII occupied regions of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Ald...
Published on Mar 30, 2017
Our first edition of our new magazine. We aim to share photos, stories and video of the WWII occupied regions of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Ald...