Victor Coysh

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Victor Coysh (1906-1994) was born in Hauteville to Florence, wife of Frederick William Coysh, on April 24th 1906. Victor was educated at Kingsley House Kindergarten, whence he went to the States Intermediate School (1915-1920) and then to Elizabeth College (1920-1923).

A decline of family fortunes led to his parents leaving Guernsey for Bournemouth where Victor followed in 1926. His love for his native isle led him to publish, at his own expense, Unknown Guernsey. He paid many visits to the island on one of which (in 1930) he joined La Société Guernsiaise.

At the outbreak of the war Victor married Miss Leila Carey but the newly-weds plans to settle in the island were thwarted by the German Occupation. After the Liberation, however, he managed to obtain a transfer from the Bournemouth Gas Co. (his employer) to the Guernsey Gas Light Co. and so he at last returned to his birthplace where, in 1947, he found his true metier when, after writing the Press Guide to Guernsey he was offered employment as a reporter on the Guernsey Evening Press. His new employer had learned about him through his articles both in La Société's Transactions and in the Review of the Guernsey Society, which he joined early on.

Among his many assignments he covered the Queen's visit in 1957. He became Chief Reporter in 1958 and covered the visit of Princess Alexandra (to whom he was presented) in 1968. In 1970 he was appointed to membership of the States Historical Committee set up by Dr. Charles Cruickshank in preparation of the official history of the German Occupation (OUP, 1975). In 1971, on the eve of his retirement he was invited to attend the Court of Chief Pleas, where the Bailiff summoned him to the Bar to thank him for his journalistic services over many years.

During those years he had written Swastika over Guernsey and the Official Guide to Sark. He was co-sponsor of the Saumarez Park Guernsey Kitchen and was elected to the Council of the Guernsey Society in 1954. He helped to create the National Trust of Guernsey in 1960 and served on its Council. His illustrated book Guernsey appeared in 1960 and he was elected President of La Société Guernsiaise in 1966. A devotee of Alderney, he was granted honorary life membership of the Alderney Society in 1967 and published the book Afoot in Alderney. A further book Alderney appeared in 1974 and Royal Guernsey in 1977, the latter being a history of the Militia, in which he served in his youth, playing the clarinet in its band.

A series of five pictorial historical books appeared in conjunction with Carel Toms covering the period 1978 to 1989. Sark, the last stronghold of Feudalism was published in 1982, the year in which he was made a life member of La Société Serquiaise. His Visitor's Guide to Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, came off the press in 1983, Channel Islets in 1985, Call of the Island in 1986 and Maritime Alderney in 1991.

A devout practising Anglican, Victor Coysh was just three weeks short or his 88th birthday when he died on 1st April 1994.

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