Hedley's diary - 6

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Hedley's Liberation Diary

17 - 28 July 1945


Hedley Clement's post-war diary is a work of fiction, based on reports in the pages of the Evening Post in the days, weeks and months following Jersey's liberation from German Occupation on 9 Mary 1945. Researched by Marion Falle and written by Mike Bisson, this diary will gradually build into the most detailed history ever produced of the time. It will chart the island's return to normality after the dark days of occupation

July 1945

Monday 16th

  • We may well still be short of many food items, but our toms are off to the English markets, where they will doubtless be very welcome. Meanwhile, for reasons which are beyond my simple mind, we are getting ours from Guernsey. A consignment of 1,524 12-pound chips (whatever they are) arrived here on Saturday by the ss Hantonia for the local market.
Leighton down the road tells me that it's going to make a world of difference to his family to be able to sell their produce again. It is expected that the first consignments of greenhouse crops will leave within a few days, and from then on there will be a steady flow of Jersey tomatoes reaching the English market. It's all strictly regulated with all exports being made by the Jersey Tomato Export Panel, composed of members of the usual merchant firms which operated back in 1939, and the scheme is sponsored by the States Agricultural Department and the Jersey Farmers Union. The tomatoes will be sold in England through the regional associations which are controlled by the Ministry of Food, and a maximum price will be fixed.
  • Wherever they come from I suspect that tomatoes are too much of a luxury to be on the shopping list of a mother who wrote a letter in the EP last week. The gist of it was that whatever is available on ration, she can't afford to buy the food her children need. 'Is anything being done to help us buy all our rations? Everyone must agree that the children need all the meat, milk, in fact every scrap of nourishing food we can give them after those five lean years, but it is impossible to do so on the present wages', she wrote. 'You praise the women of Jersey in your paper; help them now to feed their children as they should be fed. We used to long for plenty to eat; the food is there now, but where is the money?'
  • The popular Bobby PC Ozard of the Paid Police Force got a longer break than he expected when he went to England on four days leave. That was five years ago. He returned home on Saturday and is now resuming his interrupted duties with the local police. In the interval he served in the Liverpool City Police War Reserve.
  • We went to see Stars of the Army at the parish hall last night, and a grand show it was. Produced by Ted Taylor of the Royal Engineers, he and his cast are to be congratulated on their excellent effort. Over £240 has already been collected for the Red Cross. All artistes taking part are from the Liberation Forces, and their show has already been presented at West’s Cinema and at the parish halls of St Ouen, St Aubin, St John and St Peter. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week the party will be visiting St Clement and on Thursday at St Brelade.
  • Who would have thought that a simple parade of Scouts would generate such excitement? Saturday was certainly a red letter day for the boys when, for the first time in five years, the Boy Scouts Association made a public appearance. For many days they had been busy making arrangements and preparing the Scout Exhibition of Handicraft, which is being held at 2 Vine Street. The climax of all the activities came on Saturday afternoon when the Lieut-Bailiff, Jurat Touzel Bree, President of the States Education Committee, took take the place of the Bailiff, who was out of the Island, and addressed the Scouts and Cubs assembled in the Royal Square. He was welcomed by Colonel William Collas, chairman of the local association, Messrs M Le Voguer and D Labey, Scout Commissioners, and the Rev T Floyd.
Doris and I happened to be in town for a spot of shopping and stopped to listen to the proceedings. After welcoming the boys Jurat Bree expressed his pleasure at seeing so many present, especially as it was only ten weeks since the Nazi flag ceased flying over the Island. He reminded the Scouts that one day they would be taking the place of their elders and that now was the time to prepare for the job. They could do this by being faithful to their motto ‘Be prepared’. The future of the Island and the British Empire depended on the youth and it was up to them to do their best to become good citizens. He then thanked the Scoutmasters for the good work which they had done, often under great difficulties, and were still doing, and wished the Boy Scout Movement good luck. He then proceeded to the Scout Exhibition, which he declared open by cutting a tape stretched across the doorway. He expressed himself very pleased with what he saw and, after signing the visitors’ book, he left for the saluting base on the Esplanade, where he took the salute at the grand march past of the 500 Scouts and Cubs.
  • The man who kept the island's postal service running over the past five years has been appointed Head Postmaster. It is only right that my good friend Oscar Mourant has been given this recognition of the manner in which he carried out his duties, often of a very difficult nature, by the confirmation of his temporary appointment. I rang to congratulate him and he told me that Harold Chapell, who he introduced me to at a family gathering some years ago, has had his appointment made permanent in the sister isle, so that both Jersey and Guernsey now have a native occupying the highest position in the Post Offices of their respective Islands. Oscar and Harold are brothers-in-law, Oscar having married Harold’s sister. Harold served for some time with the Jersey Post Office and played football for the YMCA first eleven.
  • It may be some time before all the evacuees who left our shores in 1940 are able to return, but they have not forgotten their island. The Channel Island societies formed to provide a point of contact for the evacuee families are doing sterling work to help the island recover from what happened in their absence. The Sheffield society have sent seven hundredweight of clothing to Jersey and Guernsey in recent weeks and we hear from Doris' cousin Dorothy Soudain, who is secretary of the committee, that they have been very grateful to receive several letters of appreciation. They are about to send £100 to each Island to help those who cannot afford to buy their allocation of food.
Evidently the society and the evacuees it represents have received a warm welcome in Sheffield. Dorothy told Doris that shortly after it was founded the Sheffield fruit and potato merchants sent a cheque for £150 for society funds and Margaret Fairweather, a Guernsey lady resident in Sheffield, raised £110 on their behalf. Stan Cox, a former dance band leader at the Aberfeldy Hotel, organised two dances, raising well over £100. It's good to know that so many Sheffielders, who regularly spent their summer holidays in Jersey, are anxiously waiting to start their visits again, and how very much they love and admire the little Island so far away from their great industrial city.
  • Bad news continues to reach us of the fates of islanders sent to German prison camps. I was very sad to hear that my friend Emile Paisnel has died in one of the camps. Emile, had been a grower at Boulivot de Bas, Grouville, since 1929, was sentenced last year by the Germans for a coal and petrol offence and was taken from the Island in April. He first went to a camp at Frankfurt-on-Main and later was transferred to Naumberg Prison, where, after suffering terrible hardships, he died in September last. He was in his 61st year. The family in Jersey first heard of Emile’s death when The Evening Post published the report of the experiences of Frank Falla, of Guernsey, who was also in Naumberg Prison. In his story, however, Mr Falla gave the name as ‘Joe’ Paignel, but this week he has sent a letter to Emile's daughter-in-law Emily, of Causie Lane, saying that the Paignel he mentioned was her father-in-law, Mr Emile John Paisnel. I'm so sorry for Emile's wife Ada and the boys Emile and George, who had feared the worst having heard nothing of him since the Liberation.

Tuesday 17th

  • I've heard that arrangements are being made for a local concert party to visit Alderney on Sunday 29 July with George Brasford in charge, for the purpose of entertaining the troops there. Included in the party will be Marjorie Kasnel, May Windsor, Joyce Rattenbury, Barbara Berry, Joan Picot, Joan Norris, Pamela Beer, Paul Newington, Syd Dupre, Arthur Guiton, Alf de Gruchy and Sonny Godbolt. The party will return from Alderney the following day
Our HMS in a safer harbour in 1939
  • Many of us have been wondering what happened to 'our' warship, HMS Jersey, during the war and now it has been revealed that the Island’s adopted warship was unfortunately lost in May 1941. Much worse is the revelation that the ship was not lost in a glorious sea battle but was sunk by an undiscovered mine at the entrance to Malta's harbour only four days after arriving there The cruiser HMS Gloucester which our boat was accompanying at the time, got off lightly, with only minor damage
  • Many young men, like our Helier, who were pleased to survive the Occupation, are nevertheless disappointed that they missed out on the opportunity to fight for their country. Helier's still a bit uncertain about his future plans, but could he end up behind some of his pals who he tells us will be first in the queue when a recruiting office opens soon? For some time there has been uncertainty as to whether the National Service Act will be put into effect in the Channel Islands, leading to conscription, but with between 800 and 1,000 young men having already volunteered for service and just waiting for further instructions, it seems unlikely that anyone will be forced to join up. In any case, the 1940 National Service Act, which was brought in too late to have any real effect here, because the first conscripts were still undergoing medical examinations when the huns arrived and put a stop to all that, is now seen to need modification to have any peacetime purpose.
  • Doris and I were walking along the Promende at West Park the other day when we narrowly avoided being run down by a motor cycle. The Promenade is for walkers. Bike riders and cyclists should get back where they belong – on the roads. There's plenty of room for them with so little four-wheeled vehicles around. They must be stopped from doing what they are doing. They constitute a real danger and are a constant source of annoyance, particularly at West Park.
  • It's not all that long since I was complaining about letters published in the paper over pseudonyms, and I'm not the only one who finds this annoying, and unnecessary. A John Bell gets his EP sent to London and he has written to the editor complaining about this antiquated practice, which had all but died out in pre-war years and is not seen in the national press. 'I recall that during one of the many conversations it was my pleasure and privilege to have with Arthur Harrison, a shrewd and practical exponent of newspaper management, he told me that letters to the editor signed with the names of the writers have more value than those signed with pseudonyms. Drawing from my own lengthy experience of newspapers I agreed with him then, as I now concur with Madame Riley, of Rosel Manor, that anonymous letters are ‘a form of hitting below the belt’, he writes. 'Correspondents who sign their letters with their names and add their address give evidence of their good faith and their belief in the truthfulness of the views they express. How has this predilection for the pseudonym been brought about? Having been absent from the Island for five years, I am quite unable to account for this change of spirit. I can only surmise that in not a few cases it is due to the five years of Nazi domination and to the fear inspired by the methods of the Gestapo.'
'Wherever the German has set his polluted foot, defilement and desecration have been the sure result. One of his main preoccupations has been to encourage one section of the population to spy upon the other, with deplorable consequences, judging from the letters you publish from time to time.
Parcels brought by the Vega have still not been distributed to their rightful owners
'Now that the nightmare of German domination and abomination is over, it seems to me that our obvious duty should be, not to ignore the past, but to look hopefully to the future and to co-operate loyally in removing the vestiges of the Nazi Occupation and restoring the amenities and prosperity of our Island, at the same time meting out punishment for the wrong-doing which justice demands. But if this is to be done, there must be a banishment of fear, suspicion and secrecy. Let us dissipate the dark clouds of despair, which appear to have produced an embittered outlook in some Islanders, and bask in the sunlight of freedom.'
  • Whatever Mr Harrison told Mr Bell about his own views, he does not seem inclined to change the paper's policy, because published alongside Mr Bell's letter is one from a correspondent calling himself (or herself) 'Enquirer', and asking what can be done about the price of fish. 'Now that there is some available the price is exorbitant. I have paid 1s 6d for a small mackerel, skate is 2s 4d per lb, conger 1s 6d, and dog fish is 1s 4d. Surely something could be done about this' wrote the anonymous correspondent.
  • Doris' friend Constance Mahy had the courage to sign her letter 'C E Mahy', when writing to complain about people leaving the island not being issued with the Red Cross parcels which she says are rightfully theirs, and would have been in their hands long ago were it not for the unnecessary delay in distribution. 'One can understand why Red Cross parcels are "confined entirely to people resident in the Island at the time of issue". They were intended for that group of people. But they were not intended to be kept in storage until large numbers of that group had been replaced by large numbers of another group', she wrote. 'Unless our authorities very speedily distribute the parcels they have on hand, they will be guilty of doing just that which the laws preventing the private import and export of food are designed to prevent, ie giving unfair advantage to people coming into the island – an advantage they neither desire or expect – and creating a very unfair disadvantage for people soon leaving the Island. The ‘time of issue’ is the crucial point in this matter and the time is long since past when the parcels should have been distributed. They can be given only once. Why wait any longer and cause so much dissatisfaction?'
  • Golf has never appealed to me – it spoils a good walk - but there are many who will be delighted that competitions, which have been in abeyance since the Liberation, are to be held again by St Clement’s Golf Club, and on Sunday next the Monthly Cup will be played for. I have little doubt that enthusiasts for the game among members of HM Forces in the Island will be keen to borrow a set of clubs and take part in a medal competition to be played on Sunday 29 July. Entries will be accepted on the course and are limited to club members and HM Forces.

Wednesday 18th

Edward Ross
  • Following the sad announcement of the death in a German prison camp of Emile Paisnel, comes the much better news that Edward Ross, our dentist, whose surgery is in David Place, and his wife Annie, have arrived back in the island nearly a year after being freed by General Clark's forces from an internment camp in the Vosges. And they have brought with them their young child who was born in the camp. They were charged back in 1942 with political activities against the Germans. Actually both Mr and Mrs Ross were alleged to have attempted to contact and help the Polish and Russian prisoners in the Island and also to have been in possession of a wireless set and to have communicated with the BBC news. After a stay in the local prison they were each condemned to six months imprisonment and sent away to France to serve their sentences in separate French jails.
Edward served nine months and Annie 12 months before they were released and brought together in the internment camp. It was 12 months or so later that their baby was born. After the sweep through France came their happy day, when they were freed in September last year, and later taken back to Britain. The three of them arrived home yesterday, delighted to meet their many friends and resume their former pleasant mode of life. They are very grateful for the many kindnesses shown them during the early days of their arrest, and for the manner in when their home and belongings have been looked after by friends, who proved themselves true friends indeed. I wish them a speedy and complete recovery after the many privations they have experienced, and hopefully Edward will be taking appointments soon, because one of my upper molars has been giving me gyp for months.
  • Not everyone who left the island before or during the Occupation has been as fortunate as the Ross family to be reunited with their furniture and effects. A reward is being offered by Captain Robert Richardson, who has returned with his wife Ada and young daughter Sally, to find everything missing from their home at Le Hurel, Longfield Avenue, St Brelade. He has offered a reward through his lawyer, Advocate Valpy, for any information which can help get their possessions back. Captain Richardson was already in his late 30s when he left before the Occupation to join up and has served with honour in the RASC. Scant reward for one of our brave servicemen to be treated in this way.
And the Richardsons are not alone. Many of the returning evacuees are spending a great deal of time tracing their furniture and effects, which have disappeared from their houses during the five years. In several cases people have found some of their goods in other people’s houses and find that these things had been purchased during the Occupation from shops or sale rooms. It would be interesting to know how these effects reached these places in the first instance. The police of most of the Island’s parishes have these cases in hand, but it is an almost impossible task to trace the various journeys of a particular piece of furniture from its original home. Much of it was stolen soon after the evacuation in 1940, but a great deal taken from the former German-occupied houses since the liberation, and the tracing of it is giving many people headaches.
  • I suppose we're still all a bit paranoid about things which go bang in the night, and there was much speculation about what was behind the shots and flares heard and seen in the vicinity of Green Island after midnight on Monday. The shots were heard and the flares seen by several people. One of them, Mabel Robinson of Green Island Stores, told an Evening Post reporter that she had not long gone to bed when she heard something like a rifle shot. The time was about midnight, as near as she can judge, and she got up and looked out of the window. ‘My window faces Green Island,’ she said, ‘and I saw flares, one which lit up my room. They were apparently out at sea and then there were more shots; the four were at intervals of three or four minutes and sounded like rifle shots fired fairly close to us. I have no idea what it was all about and my husband did not hear the first shot at all.’
The Police and Harbour Office did not seem particularly interested and perhaps Mrs Robinson was a tad embarrassed when it was revealed yesterday that there was a very innocent explanation. Roger de Faye of 10 Southlands, Green Road, celebrated his 21st birthday with a dance at the Stadium. After the dance, some of the party, having some fireworks, went out to Green Island where they held an impromptu ‘Brocks benefit’, hence the ‘shots’ and ‘flares’ and the ‘mysterious’ car seen and heard by Mrs Robinson and her neighbours.
It's all very well selling coffee substitute which tastes like real coffee. Can anybody remember what real coffee tasted like?

Friday 20th

  • Following my note earlier this month about the mailboats arriving far from full, while people on the mainland struggle to get back home, we're now told that the boats are fully booked for several weeks. All available accommodation on the steamer from Southampton to the Channel Islands is fully booked up for several weeks ahead due to the ever-increasing flow of evacuees. Unfortunate for those without bookings, but at least there is now a steady flow of people back to the island. And those with a passage booked will doubtless be pleased to hear that, contrary to rumour, there are no restrictions on cats and dogs
  • In the early days of the steamer service between Jersey and Southampton there was some doubt about whether cats and dogs could be carried. These doubts have now been finally set at rest. We are told that no restrictions whatever exist, and cats and dogs, accompanied or unaccompanied, may be sent to and from the Island and the mainland just as they were before the war. From this end the only condition is that the form which had to be filled in by the owner and signed by the Constable of the Parish of residence and a Jurat of the Royal Court, must still be completed and handed to the ticket collector at the gangway; the animal must then travel to its destination without any quarantine period. I am forced to ask, if there are no restrictions, what is the point of the Constable and a Jurat putting their moniker on a piece of paper?
  • Order is rising out of chaos in the Channel Islands. I'm sure that we are all delighted to read this good news in yesterday's Daily Herald. This, they told their readers, was contained in an official announcement in London. They added that it will bring cheer to the thousands of evacuees and refugees from the Channel Islands still in Britain. I'm sure it will give cheer to all of us, too.
Or will it? I'm not entirely sure that islanders will be that delighted to hear that a Civil Affairs unit, which received a year’s special training before it landed with the Liberation forces, is 'guiding the Channel Islands into the 1945 way of life of the United Kingdom', to quote the wording in the Herald.
And the Civil Affairs Unit – sounds like a translation of one of Von Schmettow's mob to me – then picked up on the issue of collaboration. ‘There has been a certain amount of criticism of so-called collaboration with the enemy from time to time,’ said the statement. ‘But during the five years of occupation such as these people have undergone, when there was always one German for every three islanders, and sometimes many more, it is impossible to avoid some degree of apparent collaboration.’ Civil Affairs, it added, is concerned only with those against whom it is possible that a charge of treason or treachery could lie. Public safety officers of the Civil Affairs Unit are in close association with the local police sorting out the facts from gossip.
German marks, the normal currency during the Occupation had been replaced by sterling, the newspaper's readers are told. Food, on a scale about 25 per cent higher than the UK, is now on sale on a ration plan in all food shops.
Not a word of sympathy. Not a word about what we have all suffered for the past five years. Just the announcement that the Civil Affairs Unit are sorting out our chaos, returning us the UK way of life and tracking down the collaborators. Why don't they mind their own business and let us run our own affairs? Or is this a prelude to an attempt to impose much stronger rule from Westminster on these islands, which Churchill did not think were worth protecting from the Germans?
  • Those who have lost furniture 'looted or destroyed by the enemy' (presumably 'enemy' includes light-fingered neighbours) are among those who can now get a permit to buy 'utility furniture', whatever that is. Others eligible for a permit include those setting up home because a child is expected; those married since 1 September 1939, who are setting up home for the first time; couples who are about to marry and set up home; and those who have to provide a bed for a growing child. Hurrah for the last one: Helier's feet long since grew over the end of his bunk.
Dockets giving priority in supplies of utility mattresses, blankets, sheets, curtains and floor coverings are also available. Now for the bureaucratic bit: Any person falling within these classes may apply to the Textile Committee, 3 Halkett Place, for a furniture permit and priority dockets for the other goods. As supplies are limited, applications can only be entertained from persons falling within these categories and provision can only be made for their actual necessities. Permits are not required for utility cots, high chairs and playpens, which may be purchased without permits as soon as supplies reach the Island.
  • The Vega last arrived on 10 June. It's only taken six weeks for the Department of Transport and Communications, in agreement with the Red Cross Distribution Delegation, to get round to issuing the paraffin it brought with it. All housholders who have neither gas nor electric lighting – and there are apparently a lot of them – will be allowed to get three-quarters of a gallon (that won't last long) from recognised paraffin dealers from next Monday. The retail price remains unchanged at 6d per pint or 4s per gallon. So says B Clift, the Petrol Controller (I'll bet Bertie loves that title).

Saturday 21st

  • It's happened, just as I warned, sadly in Guernsey, not here yet. Four boys playing in an ammunition dump in St Martin’s were involved in a shocking accident last evening resulting in the death of David Gallienne, aged 8. David’s two brothers, Alan (9) and Christopher (6½), are now in the emergency hospital, reportedly seriously injured. It is thought the boys played with a live shell. David, who was killed outright, had both legs shattered and multiple injuries on his arms and body. The others were injured by flying shrapnel, mostly on the legs, arms and body.
  • The question of the rehabilitation of returning deportees is one which is very much to the fore at this time, when many of these people are returning to find that their homes have been broken up in their absence, so what are the States doing to help? Forming a committee, that's what. To be fair, some action has already been taken and Jurat Dorey, interviewed by the EP, announced that 1,000 beds and a quantity of other furniture, of the type used in England for the rehabilitation of people bombed out of their homes, should be arriving in days. 'But this is in great demand in England and is very difficult to obtain at present', Jurat Dorey said. 'We are also having several houses in Pier Road put in order and have taken steps to obtain a list of other houses available in which we can put people who arrive here homeless, for one reason or another.
I must say that I agree with Jurat Dorey that deportees should have first claim on any assistance available. They, after all, were sent away by the Germans, with no choice in the matter, and should get every assistance it is possible to give them. In the case of evacuees, the Germans claimed that they had abandoned their homes of their own free will, and the houses and furniture left behind were the property of the occupying forces. Jurat Dorey said that the German forces agreed to leave the furniture of deportees alone, and kept to their word. Locals were not in on the deal and 'unfortunately, in many cases these houses were looted by civilians and it is the owners of such property who are hard hit'.
A three-man civil service committee, consisting of Mr Hambly of the States Labour Department, Mr Remon, the Public Administrator, and Mr Binnington, who was with the Transport Department, has been set up and they are dealing with cases which are brought to their notice, providing, as far as possible, work, furniture and accommodation; but people must help themselves at the same time. The question of financial support, said Jurat Dorey, has been taken up with the UK Government. 'At the moment my lips are sealed and I can say nothing; one thing is clear, the States have no money. The position will probably become clearer after the result of the elections in England are known, but at present nothing can be done. Any little help which we can give these people at present will be given, and I advise anyone in need of held or advice to apply to the committee I have named.’
  • A teenage boy is to be given 12 strokes of the birch for breaking and entering and theft. Ronald Channing (19) of St Helier, was charged with illegal entry to the Demi des Pas Hotel, Samares, at the beginning of the month and with stealing 38 glasses, valued at about £3. He pleaded guilty and the Attorney-General said this was a case of petty larceny, the motive of which was obscure. On 8 June, accused was arrested for being found on enclosed premises but, as it was a first offence, he was fined £1. The Attorney General felt that probation was ruled out, and he did not think it was advisable to send him to prison. He therefore moved for 16 strokes of the birch. The Court ordered 12 strokes of the birch, the Lieut-Bailiff expressing the hope that the accused would try to turn over a new leaf and become a decent citizen.

Monday 23rd

  • The Germans laid mines all over the island, as we have been discovering when trying to find new routes for our daily walk with the dog. We are told that most of them – some 50,000 – have now been disposed of, but the minefields have to be ‘proved’ before being declared safe. An officer of the Liberation Forces, who have been responsible for mine clearance, has said that the Germans had far more munitions than they could ever have fired, and an enormous amount of mortar bombs which have to be disposed of. He said that despite his men's best efforts, there are still cases of children playing with dangerous objects. 'I myself saw a small child playing with a phosphorus bomb the other day and took it away. The child thought it was an electric light bulb and was going to throw it against a wall to hear the bang,’ he said. Not everything can safely be moved and in the past few days, explosions have been heard as German weopanry has been safely destroyed in St Ouen's Bay.
  • In pre-war days St James’ Church was recognised as the garrison church, and it was good to watch the stalwarts of the liberating army, in battledress and looking very fit, swing along from various directions to take up the places which had been allotted to them prior to entering the church yesterday for a military church parade. The announcement that such a parade was going to take place brought a large number of intending worshippers, but they were disappointed because all the available seats had been reserved for the military. The various units took up positions in St James Street, Le Breton Lane and the lower end of St Saviour’s Road, and from there marched off in single file to the places reserved for them in the church.
  • Mavis Willis the daughter of our friends at St Brelade, was only three when she lost both legs below the knees in an accident on the railway line near her home. Now she is 16 and running around on the latest model of artificial limbs. The story of what happened in between made headline news in yesterday's Sunday Express. After her accident, Mavis was sent to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. After six months at the hospital she was sent back to Jersey with artificial limbs. As she grew older there were further amputations and fitting for new limbs to match her growing body. But she did not complain. Then the war came and the Hospital understandably saw no more of Mavis. But they did not forget her. By 1942 they knew that the limbs last supplied would be useless. The Red Cross were asked to investigate. They found Mavis, still cheerful, still patient, and walking on her knees. It took 18 months for the Orthopaedic Hospital to get new limbs to the Island, but eventually they reached Mavis via Norway, Berlin, France, Geneva and Lisbon. After the Liberation, the hospital arranged for Mavis to travel to London to be fitted for a pair of the latest-type limbs. Mavis, who is staying at Stepney, London, told a Sunday Express reporter: ‘I was lucky. I could not get about like other people, so I didn’t get so hungry.’

Tuesday 24th

  • The Playhouse, in New Street, recently reopened and devoted to its proper purpose after the years of German Occupation, has been temporarily taken over by the military as an entertainment centre for the garrison, and this week the Green Room Club is staging there one of their Occupation successes at the invitation of the military. The play chosen is Bats in the Belfry, the very light comedy by Diana Morgan and Robin Macdermott, which the club successfully staged at the Opera House in December last year, and which went a long way towards making many people forget their troubles for a while. The cast in this new production is substantially the same as in the original, the leading parts being played very well indeed by Graeme Bentlif, Dorothy Le Seelleur and Marjorie Baker, who are ably supported by Bert le Sueur, Yvette Gruchy, Rodney Andrews, Bert Hibbs, Arthur Carter, Leslie Sinel and Bunny Beard. Of these, only Yvette Gruchy, Arthur Carter and Bunny Beard were not in the original production. Miss Gruchy was at the time spending an enforced ‘holiday’ in Gloucester Street thanks to the ‘Jerries’. There is no need to go into details, as most people know the play, but it is safe to say that this production is in every way equal to the 1944 version, and perhaps a little better – at any rate all present last night enjoyed it.
  • One of the most popular young Roman Catholic priests stationed in Jersey for some time, the Rev Father Gerald Dwyer, left the Island this afternoon for his home in Eire, where he will take a well-earned holiday before proceeding to another appointment in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Her takes with him the good wishes of the parishioners among whom he las harboured so successfully. Father Dwyer has been in Jersey for nearly eight years, serving throughout that time as curate at St Mary and St Peter’s Chiurch, Vauxhall Street. His first official service in the Island was at a solemn Requiem Mass for the late Father R V O’Regan.
  • An unpleasant surprise awaited Charles Blackburn, manager of Ronez Quarries, when he visited the quarry shortly after his return to the Island from a German internment camp recently. He went there to prepare an inventory of the gear etc, but he found to his dismay that there was nothing workable left. The wharf was damaged, cranes rendered useless, engines were destroyed, rails had been removed, belting had gone and there was nothing but devastation on all sides. To add to the trouble, a structure which had been put up by the Germans, which might have proved of considerable use to the company, and would have certainly helped to compensate them for some of the other losses, was blown up a few days before his arrival. The full extent of the damage is not yet known, but Mr Blackburn considers that the whole of the company plant will have to be renewed. This will run into many thousands of pounds.
  • The chairman of Barclays Bank, Mr Edwin Fisher, arrived by air this afternoon to meet the staff of the branch here, and proceeds to Guernsey today. I am told that Mr Fisher is the first bank chairman to visit Jersey since the Occupation and probably in an official capacity for many years. The special occasion was marked by exceptional weather, and it is to be hoped Mr Fisher returned to Lombard Street with pleasant memories of his only too short stay in our liberated Island.

Wednesday 25th

  • We learn that our electricity will cost considerably less from September quarter readings of our meter. That is the good news conveyed to consumers by a big advertisement of the Jersey Electricity Company. From 10½ d per unit, lighting comes down to 7d; for heating, cooking and other power purposes, from 7½ d to 4d. There is also a big cut in the two-part tariffs, the running charge being reduced from 6½d per unit to 3d. In addition to this the company announces that no charge will be made for meter rents, except in cases where special meters are installed for the sole convenience of consumers. All this makes pleasant reading. The electricity company is setting an example which I hope to see others follow wherever a reduction in charges is possible.
  • Hundreds of women, among them Doris' cousin Elsie, queued from an early hour this morning outside Briggs in King Street, where, for the first time for years, large quantities of modern shoes were on sale. The first in the queue was in her place shortly after midnight and the crowd increased until, at 4 o’clock, many residents in the neighbourhood found sleep almost impossible. The weather was perfect for the shoppers, who remained in excellent humour throughout their long wait. When the doors opened at 10 o’clock the management wisely decided to allow only a few people in at a time, and after being served, they left by the side door. This afternoon there was still a queue outside the shop, many having been there since this morning. Many young women of 20 to 21, who waited, found it hard to believe there was ever before such a variety of designs.

Friday 27th

  • I liked this personal ad in tonight's paper: 'Would the Tommy in The Forum last evening. July 26th, (2nd house) who gave the lady on the stairway a light for her cigarette with a lighter, please call at 50 Bath Street between the hours of 2 and 4.30, or write M541, Evening Post.
Hedley's diary
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