Sir Peter Leslie Crill KBE (1 February 1925 – 3 October 2005) was Bailiff of Jersey between 1986 and 1995.
As a young man Peter Leslie Crill was one of the few people who successfully escaped from Jersey during the German Occupation. With two friends he retrieved the family’s dinghy from store, hiding it while it was made seaworthy. They set out at 8.15 pm at the end of the first week in November 1944, choosing a place where they knew the nearest German guard was at least 100 metres away. The danger was that if they failed to get far enough out to sea, they would simply be carried round the island by the tide and spotted at daylight.
Rowing out through a heavy swell until they could safely start the engine, they soon had to stop, to go to the aid of a second boat behind them. When the engine would not restart, they put up a small sail, but lost the compass in a squall an hour later. With the sea too rough to sail, they allowed the boat to drift, feeling thoroughly seasick after years ashore. Soon after dawn the tide began to carry them away from land. Finally they restarted the motor and landed safely at Agon-Coutainville near Coutances.
Two first-person accounts of the escape
He later followed a legal career, being called to the Jersey Bar in 1949. He then entered politics, first being elected to the States of Jersey as a Deputy for Saint Clement in 1951, and then being elected as a Senator in 1960.
He gave up politics in 1962 to become Solicitor-General, rising to become Deputy Bailiff in 1974 and then succeeding Sir Frank Ereaut as Bailiff in 1986. As Bailiff he was involved in the controversial sacking of the Deputy Bailiff Vernon Tomes.
Following his retirement in 1995 he was active in organizations promoting the culture of Jersey, including the Société Jersiaise and the Jersey Arts Centre. His activities in latter years were curtailed by the onset of motor neurone disease.
An autobiography was published posthumously, entitled "A Little Brief Authority".