Vivid memories of how the Occupation affected Islanders

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From Alan Nicolle.

I WOULD like to follow up Bridget Murphy’s excellent letter of 15 April in response to Paul Gregson’s letter of 6 April. I, too, spent the Occupation in the Island.

I was five years old at the start and well remember the events prior to and following the five long years under Nazi rule.

I recently wrote down my memories and these were published in the St Peter parish magazine. Both Jersey Archive and the Jersey War Tunnels have a copy, should anyone wish to read it.

While it is correct that there was passive resistance, several thousand Islanders were punished and imprisoned for this action, my own father being one of them. Some were sent to concentration camps from which they never returned. However, their efforts were nothing more that an irritant to the occupying forces and in no way weakened them.

After the D-Day landings, supplies to the Island dried up and it was only due to the Red Cross ship ss Vega delivering food parcels in that last year that kept the local population from starvation.

In fact, when the news reached us that the D-Day landings had taken place, a warning was issued to the Islanders by the military that no action by the civilian population would be tolerated under the threat of death. This is well documented.

Even up to the last hours before the liberation of the Island the German High Command were determined to make a fight of it. Fortunately, the more moderate among them persuaded the hawks to back down.

It was later discovered that the occupying forces had food stocks to last them six months, unlike the Islanders, who had nothing.

My mother and I were among the thousands of Islanders who welcomed the liberating forces on 9 May 1945 and remember that we were waiting for the delivery of the Red Cross parcel that day as, we did not have as much as a crumb in the house. My father was helping to transfer a consignment of flour delivered by the Red Cross to a storage facility in Commercial Buildings on that day.

I would also suggest that Mr Gregson reads the book of Occupation memories by Doctor John Lewis, available, I think, at the Maritime Museum.

88 La Ville du Bocage,

St Peter.

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