From D Judge.
I WOULD like to confirm the complete truth and facts contained in L Vautier’s letter (JEP, 2 February). I was 16 the day before the first Germans landed at the Airport on 1 July 1940, and the whole five years that followed are vivid in my memory.
I also watched from the road below South Hill the deportees being taken on to the two coastal ferry boats used by the naval authority to transport them to France, friends of mine among them; rumours were around that they were on their way to some form of concentration camp, and we wondered if we would ever see them again. Feelings in our crowd were running high, and I remember we shouted insults at German soldiers who were on top of South Hill.
I lived at that time near the beach in St Brelade’s Bay, and, being fascinated by shipping all my life, with a good pair of binoculars I sketched the boats of more than 100 convoys consisting of coasters, tugs, barges and escort vessels coming up from St Malo by the western passage to St Helier harbour. At this time the bunkers and seawalls were being built, and tens of thousands of tons of cement and steel rods were required.
On 5 October 1942 I sketched the two ferry boats, escorted by two heavily armed ‘flak ships’, coming in to pick up the deportees. At this time convoys were being run in daylight, owing to increasing Allied air attacks, and by 1944 they had changed to night-time. Thus it was quite possible that the convoy with the deportees’ boats could have been attacked by Allied aircraft or roving torpedo boats.
My family was on the list of deportees, but my mother cut her leg badly. A German army doctor visited us and we were given a month’s delay, by which time the deportations had been stopped, and we were still here on Liberation Day. Like Mr Vautier, I was in the Royal Square on 8 May, and it was fantastic. By August I was in the RAF and off the Rock at long last!
20 Richelieu Park,