An unrecognisable version


From Robin Hacquoil.

LIKE B Amy (JEP, 18 March) I too was in Jersey throughout the war and the Occupation. Unfortunately, I do not recognise Mr Amy’s version of events as being remotely representative of the facts.

On what is he basing himself for the claims that the local establishment was more frightened of the working classes than of Hitler? (that surely has to be a joke) or that the Island authorities persuaded the British government to pull out the few troops that were here (the British government did not need any persuading: after Dunkirk it was blindingly obvious).

However, I do agree with Mr Amy that the Jersey Communist Party under the leadership of Norman Le Brocq did some sterling work in passive resistance and in helping Russian prisoners. But to suggest that the efforts of the Jersey Communists and Norman Le Brocq helped finish the Occupation is going much too far. It was the severely deteriorating morale of the German Army of Occupation and Allied determination which ensured the surrender without fighting.

Norman Le Brocq, regardless of his politics, was a sincere man but he had to fight many, many election campaigns before he was finally elected as a Deputy to the States, and that despite the major revamping of the States Chamber in 1948 which involved the removal of the Jurats and the Rectors. The Home Secretary’s proposals for democratic change, adopted courageously by the States, were far more rigorous than those adopted from Clothier’s proposals many years later.

Norman Le Brocq, campaigning literally on his soapbox at West Park, had to suffer being pelted with over-ripe tomatoes in summer by those who did not appreciate his message, but he persevered and succeeded in the end. Jersey in the late 40s and early 50s was not ready to embrace Communism or the Jersey Democratic Party of the time, and after 60 years it still is not ready.

I certainly agree with Mr Amy on one thing: most of us were starving in the winter of 1944–45 and there would be fewer of us around were it not for the Red Cross parcels which we received.

John Boothman, luckily for him, was not around at that time but I find his version of history, contained in his letter of 11 March, to be essentially correct.


La Neuve Route,

St Peter.


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