Hedley's Liberation Diary
2 - 14 July 1945
- It's only two months since it was all over but people are getting very impatient for things to start changing. I don't think anyone is that concerned about the possibility of a vinegar ration - there are so many things that we have managed without for so long that we are in no hurry to put them back in our pantries. What everyone wants is to have their loved ones back with them, and they don't seem to be returning in any numbers.
- I'm not thinking of those who chose to evacuate in June 1940. It was their decision to leave the sinking ship, and not everybody agreed with them. Most will come back eventually, I suppose, but they must join the queue behind the servicemen who have been fighting for our freedom and those who were deported against their will in 1942.
- But where are they now? What is wrong? Why have servicemen, ex-prisoners-of-war, internees, evacuees and businessmen such trouble in getting to and from the Channel Islands?
- Many people are asking these questions with growing impatience and indignation. There are hundreds of serving soldiers, sailors and airmen in Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Middle East and elsewhere who have not seen their wives and families for over five years, yet they cannot get priority in regards leave except on compassionate grounds. Even that is being granted in a very niggardly manner. Apparently the fact that a man has not even seen his youngest child and has had little or no communication with his wife and relatives for five years is not sufficient for ‘compassionate leave’.
- It's far worse for them than their English colleagues who trained at home and in most cases were able to obtain leave at reasonable intervals. Moreover when they were abroad they had postal facilities and were able to send letters and parcels home. Channel Islanders did not have these privileges.
- The same thing applies to deportees. Many of them were snatched from their homes at a couple of hours notice in the first stage of forced deportation. They were hurried off to a fate they could not possibly visualise, they spent two and a half years in camps, yet now they cannot get home. When their camps were relieved it is understandable that there was some delay in getting them to England, for the war was still on and transport was not so plentiful. But now the war is over these people have been in England for weeks.
- Businessmen here complain they cannot get away to transact urgent business. One told me only the other day that his business was being ruined because he cannot get away to buy; his wholesalers are ready for him but he wants to see what he is buying. English people stranded here are only getting back in penny numbers.
- ‘Transport is short’, is the cry, yet the Isle of Guernsey, still in her wartime 'uniform', came here only last week with well under 300 passengers in her three trips, much less than her complement for any one trip. A journalist friend told me that if he asks questions he is fobbed off with talk about ‘regulations’, that magic talisman of the official. He gets wound up in a cocoon of red tape and after having been passed from department to department in that good old game of ‘pass the buck’ he arrives back at the starting point.
- What is needed is someone with sufficient gumption to cut through all this forest of red tape which is hedging in the Islands. Does he exist? I wonder. The Right Honourable Herbert du Parcq (or Bert, as he was known at Victoria College) has, by all accounts, been doing a lot for the refugees over the past five years. Can't he help get things moving, or know someone who can?
- But when our folk do get home are they going to have somewhere to live? We have a major housing problem. I've lost count of the number of people I have spoken to who are being given notice to quit their homes. And then they can't find anywhere they can afford. Houses are changing hands at ridiculous prices and the new owners are looking for tenants who, from Hobson’s choice, will be forced to pay high rentals.
- It's time the States took action. Some form of control should be brought in to check the demands of the rapacious landlords. Don't they realise the hardships they are inflicting on their fellow islanders? There is no sign of any department of the States devoting any particular attention to the problem, the solution of which is vitally necessary if our people are to settle down to the task of restoring the Island to its former prosperity. It seems that our government, having functioned for so long as lackeys of the Germans, are unable to change gear and start thinking for themselves and acting in the interests of those who elected them. Roll on the next election and let's get people into the States who can get things moving.
- Meanwhile Mr Remon, the States Special Administrator (posh titles they give themselves) is asking anyone wishing to let rooms, furnished or unfurnished, with or without board, to contact him.
- I was amused and more than a little irritated by a notice placed in the paper last night by the Attorney-General Charles Duret Aubin, the man who does the bidding of his boss, the Bailiff. He's worried about thefts from the vast stocks of ammunition, explosives and other military stores of German origin that are still lying about the Island, and writes: 'In spite of several previous warnings, these stores continue to be stolen to the prejudice of His Majesty'.
- We are told that the stolen items are needed to help his Majesty's forces continue the war in the Far East. What a load of codswollop! What's it got to do with His Majesty? If the forces really want the German left-overs, they would be collecting them and sending them where they are needed, but nothing is happening. We begin to wonder what those troops who were sent to rescue us the day after the war ended in May are still doing here?
- Much of what is going missing is either being taken by stupid children or going into the hands of collectors. I don't suppose that anyone will worry much about the odd German helmet disappearing, but ammunition and explosives? About all I agree with in the AG's notice is that it is the duty of all parents to warn their children of the danger of going anywhere near ammunition dumps, let alone removing things and taking them home, or off to their own hiding places. Is it going to take a youngster being blown up to make others realise the danger they are exposing themselves to? And also to prompt Charlie Aubin to direct his anger at those in charge of the troops, rather than putting silly notices in the paper?
- It's not just ammunition which is a threat to our kids. Yesterday, John Doublard, of Havelock Cottages and Walter Le Mercier of Marett Road, Havre des Pas, obtained some carbide which they placed in a bottle. The budding chemists then added water and then applied a light; the bottle exploded and Le Mercier sustained a wound in the leg, while Doublard was struck on the mouth. A soldier who heard the cries and Mr Connops of St John Ambulance gave assistance and later they were attended by Dr Labesse and taken to hospital, where Doublard was stitched up and allowed to go. Le Mercier was detained for a more detailed examination today.
- A good friend of my late father, Philip Morel Laurens, who I have always called Uncle Philip, is a very talented man. At the age of 75 he has been forced by advanced years and deafness to retire as organist of St Lawrence Parish Church. During 46 years in the post he has missed only 33 Sundays through illness. I wonder if this is a record among local organists. Philip was taken to Australia at the age of two by his father, when his mother died. They returned 15 years later and Philip took over the family bookshop and stationers in Halkett Place.
He led a busy life, because he served in the Militia, and as a Vingtenier, Roads Inspector and Rates Assessor in St Helier, as well as playing the church organ and composing music. An amateur artist, he became an accomplished photographer. In 1911 he left his shop and the parish of St Helier to become a farmer at Leda House. Uncle Philip and Aunty Annie were very keen cyclists in their younger days
- Is there an armed German at large? This is the question which civil and military police are trying to answer, following a sensational incident in Valley des Vaux in the early hours of yesterday morning.
About 2 o’clock, the housekeeper employed my Mr and Mrs Reggie Maugham, of Springbank, Valley des Vaux, awoke to find a man in her room; he had a lighted nightlight with him and, presenting a pistol at her, tied her hands behind her back and demanded food, speaking in broken English. He is described as short, dark, hatless, with his hair parted in the middle, and had the lower part of his face masked by a handkerchief or cloth. While he was trying to persuade the housekeeper to get him food, the light blew out in the draught from the door or window and the housekeeper took a chance, and though her hands were still tied, she ran out of the room and downstairs screaming for help. The Maughams, awakened by the noise, came down just in time to hear two shots fired and immediately telephoned for the police.
- Two police constables and two military police NCOS were quickly on the scene. The housekeeper added that the man ‘smelled like a German’, referring no doubt to the peculiar smell with which many people became so familiar through the Occupation. Mr Maugham had had considerable trouble freeing the woman’s hands, they were tied so tightly.
- A thorough search was made of the house and its surroundings but no trace of the intruder could be found. Another search was made soon after daybreak of the whole vicinity and a large area round about, but up to this morning no sign of the man has been discovered. The police were informed by a girl living in the neighbourhood that she had seen a man answering to the description and whom she believed she recognised as a German NCO, who was formerly quartered at a house in the valley near Springbank, loitering in the valley a day or so previously, but this man has not been found.
- I knew it was going to happen. Six town lads were injured yesterday by an explosion while playing in a disused building. They are Gerald (10) and Kenneth Aubert (11) of 7 Hope Street, Victor Cassin (11) of 22 Providence Street, Raymond Bisson (13), of 94 St Saviour’s Road and Harry and Cyril Lamy of 48 Stopford Road.
- A call was made to the Police Station to send an ambulance to the ammunition dump near Pol Mill. PCs Russell and Quenault were first on the scene and were told by John Beloiel, of Transvaal House, Trinity, that while talking to a friend near his home he saw a flash followed by a cloud of dense smoke. A loud explosion followed a second later. He hurried to the spot and saw the lads running away; they were all suffering from injuries so he took then to a neighbour’s house where they received first aid. Mr Beloiel discovered that the explosion had taken place in a concrete hut, from which smoke was still pouring. The boys were all taken to the hospital where they were attended to by Dr Darling.
- The two Aubert boys were detained for treatment, suffering from burns on the leg, Young Cassin, who also received slight injuries, was allowed to return home, as were the other three who escaped with nothing more serious than singed hair and eyebrows; they were all, however, suffering from shock.
- The military authorities are said to be investigating. Their time would be better spent hurrying up with the discovery and removal of these ammunition dumps. Major Anderson and Captain Hawkins of the Royal Engineers visited Victoria College today and addressed the whole school on the extreme danger of touching or playing with explosives and ammunition, and will go on to make the same presentation at other schools. All very laudable, but I wonder if they are bothering to ask the boys where there are piles of dangerous weaponry. They will certainly know, and then Major Anderson might try to get a few more qualified soldiers over here to get rid of these dangerous legacies of the war.
- Philip Blampied, Second Officer of the Fire Brigade, has been left a legacy of £200 from a millionaire he rescued in London 30 years ago. Before the Occupation, Mr Blampied was for many years a member of the London Fire Brigade. The money has been left him by Sir David Harris, the South African diamond millionaire whom Mr Blampied helped to rescue from a fire at the Carlton Hotel in 1911.
- Doris has had a letter from her aunt in Guildford, who among other things said that she was at the station when a contingent of Russian soldiers arrived from Southampton, having left Jersey last month. She spoke to a couple of them who were able to speak English, and they were full of praise for the way they had been treated by the islanders or, as they put it, the English. Both had been here for over two years.
- There is a lot of confusion over who will be entitled to vote in the forthcoming elections. Doris and I will certainly be voting but others seem uncertain about their rights. A notice has now been published indicating that anyone who is a British subject of 21 years of age or over and who pays parish rates or income tax, or is a member of the militia or an honorary parish official, or is the husband or the wife of such a person, are qualified to have their name entered in the electoral list. But why should people who don't pay rates and are too old or too ill to pay income tax be prevented from voting? Those on poor relief are specifically ruled out.
- A graphic example of the problem of travelling back and forth to the mainland, which I wrote about a couple of days ago, has been given in the EP by the publication of a letter a Jerseyman stranded in Southampton wrote to the Southern Daily Echo:
- "Sir, I have tried to restrain myself from encroaching on your valuable space, but I find myself unable to do so any longer in view of the way we Channel islanders are being interrogated before being allowed to return home now that the European war has ended. Passports to the Channel Islands should now be unnecessary for British subjects. We have naturally the greatest admiration for this country, and owe thanks to the Southampton people for the understanding they have shown us all. I quite understand that there has to be priority, but surely one’s identity card and one’s conduct in this country should suffice without having to answer 21 irritating questions with all the usual reminder of the consequences of telling untruths? All we ask is freedom to travel home – the same way as we can travel in England, without the aid of passports. I have word that my father is going ‘downhill’. He is over 80. I would like to see him before it is too late, but ‘red tape’ will stop me. Putting these restrictions on Channel Island travel is one thing, but removing them is another. What is going to happen to the Island visitors on whom the islands have depended a great extent for their livelihood? I appeal to all Channel Islanders to lodge their protest in the right quarter and try to get these irksome controls removed at the earliest possible moment. This is not asking too much in view of our loyalty". - Bewildered Jerseyman.
- We fear the worst for our friend Louisa Gould, the girl Le Druillenec. It was shocking to hear that she was sent to the notorious Ravensbruck Camp after being shopped by some bastard for giving shelter to an escaped Russian. Excuse my French but I get so annoyed to think that anybody could inform on a neighbour in this way. Official news of her sister's fate is still awaited by Ivy Forster, of 7 Trinity Road, who was tried along with Louisa but somehow avoided being sent to France. The last semi-official news was very discouraging and Ivy told Doris yesterday that there is little hope that Louisa has survived. Her only remaining son, Flight-Lt Ralph Gould, is due to arrive in the Island tomorrow on compassionate leave.
- We joined a large crowd on the pier last night to bid farewell to about 100 naval ratings when they left for Plymouth via Guernsey on an infantry landing craft. The weather was perfect, the sea was calm with just a little breeze blowing and there was every indication that they would have a splendid trip across. They left behind many new friends and not a few sweethearts, I suspect. We were among the lucky ones who had a grandstand view of the proceedings from the upper promenade.
- The great and the good were on the quayside. Bailiff Coutanche and his missus were followed by Charles Duret Aubin, Captain S Freemantle, RN, Commander T Le B Pirouet and Mrs Pirouet, Lieut Le Cocq, Capt Hargreaves, the Rev T N Floyd and a number of Army officers. The Bailiff reminded everyone that it was just eight weeks and one day since the happy moment when he went out from the Harbour, accompanied by a number of Germans, to HMS Beagle, to witness the surrender of the Island. Soon after islanders had the pleasure of welcoming the Liberation Forces, among whom were the men of the Royal Navy whom he had the privilege of addressing that evening. The Jersey people had been delighted to welcome them and he hoped they had had a good time while in the island. They had a job to do and they had done it, and now the time had come for them to leave our shores. The Jersey people were grateful to them and would never forget them.
- Fifteen hundred Channel Islanders assembled in Central Hall, Westminster, on Saturday last to take part in what was the final rally of the many CI societies scattered all over Britain. By all accounts it was a happy and enthusiastic meeting, held, for once, in peaceful circumstances, without the fear of sudden death lurking around the corner from flying bombs or rockets. The great majority of those present hoped that they would soon be returning home to their beloved islands. The Rt Hon Herbert du Parcq, PC, chairman of the Channel Islands Refugees Committee (I mentioned him a few days ago) presided, and was supported by his vice-chairman Charles le Quesne KC; honorary director Guernseyman Martin Wetherall; and the Rev George Whitley.
- Former organist at the Forum, Edward O’Henry entertained the large assembly with appropriate organ selections concluding with those gems ‘Beautiful Jersey and ‘Sarnia Cherie’. Mr Whitley spoke of the happier conditions under which they were assembled compared to those of 1940. Their dear islands had been liberated without bloodshed, and postal facilities had been restored. How different to those days when they were, in the words of the Prime Minister, ‘almost overwhelmed by the forces of evil’. He urged members to go back with the intention of making, or helping to make, a better world.
- I hear that there were the makings of a very pretty little ‘free to all’ at St Clement’s Parish Hall on Thursday evening. The occasion was the distribution of Red Cross clothing to women of the parish, and apparently some of those who arrived after the queue had formed objected to the presence at its head of those whom they described as ‘Jerrybags’. There were words, and then some of the later comers climbed over the railings with the intention of forcibly removing those to whom they objected. Blows, hair-pulling and face-scratching succeeded the wordy warfare which had been waged up to then, and when the Constable arrived to open the hall he was faced with what amounted to almost a riot. With considerable difficulty the irate ladies were mollified but it was not very pleasant while it lasted.
- The vexed question about what to do in general terms with those known to have collaborated with the Germans shows no sign of going away. Should there be a blacklist of some sort? I have some sympathy with the letter written by Dorey Harrison published in yesterday's paper calling for one. He wrote:'It has been most grievous to learn that there should have been, if only a small minority, any Jerseymen or women who could sink so low as to consort with the enemy. The most active measures should be taken, and in this respect it is heartening to learn that the Jersey Loyalists have presented a petition to the States, although it would appear that it will only be possible to take disciplinary action against certain sections of these individuals. Would it not be possible to institute some form of blacklist, similar to that exhibited in certain licenced premises in St Helier some years ago? This list could cover all persons who were known to have fraternised with the Germans, but against whom it has not been possible to take criminal proceedings. The list could be exhibited in the Royal Square and remain a permanent record. I have in mind the fact that when it again becomes possible to open the Island to visitors there should be some official record available in order that strangers should not quite unwittingly find themselves consorting with persons who should be ostracised for all time.'
- I say that I have some sympathy with Dorey's sentiments, but it occurs to me that the idea is totally impracticable. Who is going to decide whose names go on this blacklist? Many people have scores to settle after the Occupation years, but this is not an appropriate way of going about it. There is much which went on during those years that honest folk are far from happy with, but proving it is another matter altogether. By all means ostracise somebody if you personally have reason to believe that their conduct was improper, but putting their names on a list in the Royal Square to prevent holidaymakers talking to them is patently ludicrous.
- A young lad was swept off a raft and brought ashore unconscious when he and several friends were playing between La Mare and Green Island late yesterday afternoon. A large wave caused Wilfred Nicolle Gallichan, of Anivle, Maupertuis Lane, to be swept off after the raft started to become waterlogged. Most of the children got off but 15-year-old Gallichan, who is small for his age, was about to follow suit when a large wave capsized the float and overwhelmed him. He was being carried out by the backwash when George Clarke of Simon Close noticed his plight and went in after him. Mr Clarke got the boy ashore but the lad was unconscious and artificial respiration was immediately applied by Mr Burt, a member of the St John Ambulance, and Mrs Le Lievre. An ambulance was quickly on the spot and young Gallichan, who by this time had revived, was taken to Hospital, where it was found that he was sufficiently recovered to be taken home.
- St Mary and St Peter's Church was filled yesterday when the Bishop of Portsmouth administered the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation immediately after 11 o’clock Mass. The Mass was celebrated by the Rev Father R T Arscott, parish priest, who was assisted by the Bishop, Fr Lion the Bishop’s Chaplain and Father Dwyer, Curate of St Mary and St Peter. Confirmation was administered to 254 candidates, 112 males and 142 females. Bishop King, in his address spoke of the way in which other Catholics in that part of the diocese on the mainland had prayed for their brethren in the Channel Islands during the five long years of Occupation. And when he came to Jersey he found that over here they had been thinking more of the troubles of the people in Britain and not of themselves.
- A fine new ballroom, a rival for the Plaza, is to open with a grand dance on Wednesday next evening next. Doris and I might be persuaded to get out our dancing shoes for the first time in many years. It is the former skating rink at the Jersey Sports Stadium, where a good deal of reconstruction work has been in progress during the last few weeks, with the result that an area of over 500 square feet of dancing space and ample accommodation for sitting out is now available. In first-class condition is the floor of Canadian rock maple. For their opening night the management has arranged a very attractive programme. Two dance bands will play non-stop – the Stadium dance orchestra, led by Eric Harrison, and the Khaki Swingsters, the dance band of the Royal Artillery, appearing by permission of Lt-Col W P A Robinson, Island Commandant. Sgt ‘Tiny’ Harcombe, leading comedian from the ‘Stars of the Army’ will appear in a cabaret interlude with Valerie Guy and Betty Le Huray.
- It seems that nothing, even enemy occupation, can prevent enthusiastic stamp collectors from pursuing their hobby. I am amazed at the number of letters which were posted over the past five years for no other reason than to bear the treasured mark 'First Day Cover'. Now the well-known Guernsey dealer Ernest Baker has published a new edition of his collectors' handbook, giving the most comprehensive details of all the Channel Island stamps issued or in circulation during the Occupation.
- It hasn't taken the inhabitants of far-off Zanzibar long to learn about what went on here during the Occupation, but why would they be sending money here? I had to look it up in the atlas, but apparently it's a couple of big islands and lots of small ones off the coast of Africa, about 40 times the size of Jersey in total. The CI War Relief Association has just received a gift of £132 1s 6d from contributors in Zanzibar, raised through the efforts of Superintendent D S Le Poidevin, of the Zanzibar Police. The name explains it.
- Where are all the eggs? We know that the Germans commandeered most of them while they were here, and the remainder never escaped the farming mafia, except on the black market. But they don't seem to have made a reapparance. Farmers will tell you that the hens are not laying but as I walk down country lanes I frequently hear the unmistakeable cackling which usually denotes that a fowl has done her duty. But there are still no eggs for the ordinary citizen. I wonder what the cry is now? Are the fowls still ‘resting’ or do the eggs all go on the farmer’s table since Jerry doesn’t live here anymore?
- Did anyone order a tractor? A consignment of six agricultural tractors, together with a number of tractor tyres, has arrived in the Island, carriage paid and addressed to La Motte Garages. They have apparently been forwarded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, but although very welcome, no one knows why they have arrived. La Motte Garages have not ordered them and inquiries which they have made at the Agricultural Department, the Department of Transport and at the Bailiff’s Chambers have produced a negative result.
- It was not only Russians who were forced to work here during the Occupation. A number of French, Belgian and Dutch citizens were brought here after the Germans invaded their countries. Yesterday they started the journey home in three barges. There were 108 French and Belgians and 44 Dutch from Jersey. There was one sick case from Jersey and she was accompanied on the trip across by a St John Ambulance nurse. Orderly military officers also accompanied the party; travelling in a naval launch with them were Frank Tregear and John Louis Jouault. There was a fairly large crowd, including my brother Jack and Vera, to witness the departure, most of them friends of the Continentals who had helped them in various ways during their enforced stay here, and cheers were raised as the barges, Saigon, Pondichery and Touraine, pulled from the quayside and passed through the pierheads. All were doubtless glad to be going home, but many perhaps wished that they could have stayed here as they have formed many friendships in the island. Perhaps some may return when things settle down again.
- We called to see our friends Philip Pope and his wife, of Bentcliffe, St Aubin, who are among the few evacuees who have so far been able to secure passage home. They said that the efficiency of their disembarkation was a refreshing contrast to the 'red tape' preceding their departure. 'We were issued with food cards without having to state our name, age, place of birth etc, and then, the voluntary car service we experienced and the real kindness of those who had stayed throughout the occupation,' they told us. 'Our driver not only overloaded his car with heavy luggage but cheerfully helped to carry it into the house through a jungle of buddleia and ramblers. But then their problems started. They found very little furniture in their house and all the essential services had been disconnected. But, within six hours the water was back on, followed by gas and electricity by midday the next working day. In the first few days they found some of their furniture and have had it brought home. 'Kindness was heaped on kindness. Good friends appeared from all quarters. Some fed us, some brought us beds. Others produced valuables which they had somehow spirited away from under the noses of the Hun and have safeguarded at great risk to themselves. Our administrator gave us hours of his valuable time and introduced us to the Essential Commodities office where we met, and are still meeting with every consideration and assistance in tracking down our scattered furniture. All this after the agonising time which those who remained here have been through, is truly amazing. It is impossible to give adequate thanks to our good friends, but we should like to record our very great admiration of the spirit of Jersey, and to say how much we appreciated all that has been, and is being, done in helping us to restart our home'.
- Another much needed cargo service between the islands and the mainland has started. The motorship Alouette berthed in St Helier Harbour this morning from Liverpool on what is to be a regular weekly service. The boat is commanded by Capt J F Casey, and he and his ship weare making their first trip to the islands. They brought 137 tons of general cargo and will go on to Guernsey to discharge the remainder.
- It takes an Englishman to state publicly what many of us are thinking. In a letter in the paper the correspondent, who says that he has lived and worked with Jersey people for the past 15 years (how did he escape deportation, I wonder) suggests that the structure of the States needs renovating and rejuvenating, adding that many of its members have been in office too long, and their places should be taken by 'younger men with vision, energy and determination to improve the prospects of business, other than that of the indispensable farmer'. He suggests that all Members of the States should be elected every five years or so by popular vote, as is done on the mainland.
- I would not disagree with that, but writing under the pseudonym 'Labour' - when will the 'EP' stop this ridiculous practice and insist on its correspondents using their real names? - he reveals his political leanings by calling for the parish system to be abolished and for the Rectors to be kicked out of the States, saying that they were 'no doubt needed hundreds of years ago when the average person was illiterate, but today these men are redundant'. He calls for the nationalisation of the water, gas and electricity companies, and a Rent Restriction Act to give protection for tenants and a fair return for landlords. I'm not sure that the farming community would like his other suggestion that the sale of poultry, eggs and pork should be controlled, but if it enabled us ordinary people to get their hands on such produce, it might have widespread support.
- It wouldn't surprise me that as things settle down, there will be much general support for a 'new broom' approach, rather than a return to the 1930s. I can't see the Rectors keeping their political roles for much longer.
- The days of double summer time are over. This introduction by the jerries was about as popular as most of their other rule changes. The clocks will go back an hour at one o'clock tomorrow morning.
- We went into town today hoping to find new trousers for Helier and me, and dresses for Doris and Lizzie. It was almost like a pre-war Saturday. Everyone seemed to be there, buying rations, getting new books, and while Doris was greeting friends she has not seen for five years, Helier and I escaped to Le Poidevin's to find those much-needed trousers. There were many about who had only arrived on the morning mailboat. They must have thought that nothing had changed since they left
- There were plenty of French about. They are making it back from the Continent, where many families have experienced much greater deprivation than we have. The tales of life in Normandy between June 1944 and this May are just unbelievable. But members of the French colony were in good humour and pleased to be celebrating their national day for the first time since 1939. Their representatives met Henri Duval, Acting Consul de France at his office at the Pomme d’Or Hotel.
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