The German military
Escapee Denis Vibert report on early months of the Occupation
The number of troops in the Island has varied from about 1,000 to 15,000, the largest number being there in July 1941. At the time of escape there were approximately 7,000. The morale of the German troops at the time of the occupation was extremely high, and they talked of the war being over in a month or so. Since that time their morale has steadily declined and today is very low. The German soldiers are grousing about being away from home for so long and are apparently becoming war weary. The German officers are very brutal to their men and discipline is very severe.
It appears that the RAF bombing of Germany is having a serious effect on the troops, especially when they hear of death or injury to their relatives. It has been gathered that the new high explosive bomb which we are dropping on Germany is having terrific effect, the concussion actually killing people within a radius of a quarter of a mile. The soldiers do not appear to like the Russian War.
The bombing of Brest, which is more than a hundred miles away, has on many occasions rattled the doors and windows of buildings in Jersey. This gives some indication of the extent of the concussion. The naval bombardment which was carried out on Cherbourg could be seen and heard in Jersey.
The German troops are housed in the hotels and large houses, and are constantly on the move. It would appear that they are brought to Jersey for a partial rest. The Pomme d'Or Hotel has recently been repaired and is now the headquarters of the Naval Command.
The Airport has been used by the Germans as a bomber base. In September 1940 as many as 50 Dornier planes were taking off to carry out daylight raids on England. More recently about a dozen Junkers bombers have been stationed there. The Germans have proceeded with a large scheme of extension, carrying the north-south runway to the valley which lies north of the racecourse. The barracks were blown up in order to complete this work. On the east side of the Airport buildings a farm has been demolished and the runway carried to there. New concrete runways are being made.
The German soldiers are behaving themselves and there is no question, for example, of civilians having to step off the pavements to allow soldiers to pass. There is no molesting of women.