Jersey Archive Occupation records

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The Occupation of Jersey by German Forces during the Second World War commenced on the 1 July 1940. The Occupation was to last for nearly five years and eventually ended on the 9 May 1945 – Liberation Day.

Access

Each collection held by the Jersey Archive has a unique reference code. These collection references have been included in the following information after the collection title. Should you wish to find out more about a certain collection simply go to one of the open public access catalogues (OPACs) on the Internet at www.jerseyheritagetrust.org. Click on reference and enter the collection reference/item reference.

Records of HM Lieutenant Governor of Jersey, A

The official records of the Lieutenant Governors of Jersey hold relatively few references to the actual Occupation period. Major General J M R Harrison, the Lieutenant Governor at the outbreak of the Second World War, was ordered to demilitarise and leave Jersey in June 1940. The Major General Harrison Collection, L/C/55, contains records relating to the demilitarisation and evacuation of civilians from Jersey in this period. The official records, A/F, mainly relate to Operation Nestegg – the operation to retake the Channel Islands and the aftermath of occupation.

Bailiff’s Chambers Occupation and Liberation files, B/A/W & B/A/L

The Bailiff of Jersey, Sir Alexander Coutanche held a key position within the local government of Jersey during the Occupation. The Bailiff’s files record in detail the administration of the Island during this period and the relationship between the local authorities and the German civil authorities. The Bailiff was the head of the Superior Council, which was established on the 24 June 1940 and acted as a buffer between the occupying army and the civil population. The Superior Council consisted of the Presidents of each of the States of Jersey Departments and the Crown Officers. The collection contains over 2,500 separate items and covers areas such as; imports and exports, licensing, entertainment, deportees, departmental orders and correspondence, requisitioning, the Red Cross, police and prosecutions, rationing and war graves.

Immigration and Nationality – Registration Cards, D/S/A

The entire civil population of Jersey was required to register under the Registration and Identification of Person (Jersey) Order, 1940. The official set contains over 31,000 registration cards. Each registration card contains personal details, such as name, address, date of birth and a photograph. Any children under the age of 14 are recorded on the back of their father’s card. The registration cards have been catalogued and are available through the Jersey Archive database via a name search.

The Law Officers’ Department, D/Z

The Law Officers’ Department files contain a number of records relating to the Occupation of Jersey. These files are included in the main filing sequence D/Z/H5 and relate to a wide variety of subjects, including: Jewish businesses, rationing, German war graves, German orders and minutes of the States of Jersey. This collection also contains a number of files in German that are assumed to have belonged to the Feldcommandant. The files relate to: entertainment, deportations, fuel rationing, Organisation Todt and requisitioning.

Personal collections

The Jersey Archive holds a number of personal collections of documents that relate to the Occupation period. These include many letters and Red Cross messages sent by anxious relatives to people in Jersey. To access these smaller collections simply click on the term Occupation under themes on the OPAC.

L/C/01 Joan Coles collection

Joan Coles was deported to Wurzach internment camp on 18 September 1942. This collection of papers includes her diary detailing everyday life in Wurzach and drawings of the camp.

L/C/14 Brigadier Snow papers

These papers record the detailed plans for the Liberation of the Channel Islands that began as Operation Rankin at the end of 1943 and ended as Operation Nestegg in May 1945. Brigadier Alfred Snow was in charge of the whole of Operation Nestegg and the military Task Force 135. The administrative tasks were undertaken by No 20 Civil Affairs Unit.

L/C/24 Joe Mière collection

Joe Mière has completed a significant amount of research into various aspects of the Occupation of Jersey. This collection includes lists of those who were deported and also original propaganda news sheets printed during the Occupation.

L/C/48 David Maindonald research collection

This collection of research into German fortifications in the Channel Islands includes photographs and text relating to many of the bunkers and fortifications in Jersey.

L/F/51 Liberation album

Album of the liberation made by Major Frank H M Sargent (RAOC) of the 135 Field Ordnance Depot. This album contains a photographic and written account of the Liberation of Jersey and subsequent disposal and destruction of the German ammunition and artillery.

L/D/25 Channel Islands Occupation Society collection

The Channel Islands Occupation Society (Jersey branch) was set up in 1971 with the intention of investigating the period of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands and to maintain and preserve sites of special interest such as the German fortifications in the Island. Subsequently the Society has been placed in charge of the maintenance of a number of bunkers and has undertaken substantial research into the Occupation period in the Channel Islands.

The collection encompasses a wide range of different items including notes on research undertaken by the society into the Occupation, a diverse photographic archive, the recording of a great many speakers talking of many different facets of the Occupation, film recordings concerning the Occupation, maps and plans of the Island and different installations within the Island, a wide range of books on a variety of different subjects dealing with the Occupation and the Second World War, German magazines available to buy in the Channel Islands during the Occupation and a section dealing with the deportation of islanders to Germany and illustrations that were drawn in the internment camps as a consequence.

Items of interest include plans from 1978 for a proposed ‘Bunkerbar’ named Last Chance which would have had a lounge, bar and swimming pool within L’Etacquerel Bunker, a monopoly board owned by an internee, Charles E Daly, and signed by fellow internees and many drawings by various internees, including Harold Sydney Hepburn, depicting life and the surroundings in the various internment camps. This collection is an important addition to the archive records concerning the period of the German Occupation and should be utilised by a keen Occupation historian.

Printed Sources

The Jersey Archive holds a number of books and printed sources concerning the Occupation.

  • Cruickshank, Charles The German Occupation of the Channel Islands, London, 1975
  • Falla, Francis, The Silent War. The Inside Story of the Channel Islands under the Nazi Jackboot, Guernsey, 1994 (reprint)
  • Ginns, Michael, The Organisation Todt and the Fortress Engineers in the Channel Islands, (Channel Islands Occupation Society, Archive Book No 8), Jersey, 1994
  • Harris, Roger E, Islanders Deported Part 1: The Complete History of those British Subjects who were Deported from the Channel Islands during *the German Occupation of 1940-1945 and Imprisoned in Europe, Ilford, 1980
  • King, Peter, The Channel Island War, 1940-1945, London, 1991
  • Sanders, Paul, The Ultimate Sacrifice, Jersey Heritage Trust, 2004
  • Sanders, Paul, The British Channel Islands under the German Occupation, Jersey Heritage Trust, 2005
  • Sinel, Leslie, The German Occupation of Jersey: A Complete Diary ofEvents, June 1940-June 1945, Jersey, 1984 (reprint)
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