Under Occupation

     

Pleinmont Tower

This period in the Island's history is well documented at the Guernsey Occupation Museum.

Background

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by Germany in the Second World War.

Although demilitarised by the British government, this was apparently unknown to the German military authorities at the time and Guernsey was bombed with significant loss of life.

The German forces occupied Guernsey on 30th June 1940 and remained the controlling power until liberation on 9th May 1945, the day after VE day. The island was heavily fortified as part of Hitler's "Atlantic Wall".

German military law came into effect immediately, food was rationed, transport restricted, radio receivers banned, and aiding the "enemy" was made a capital offence.

Infringements were punished by local imprisonment for minor offences to deportation, or even execution, for the more serious.

Ada and Walter stayed on the island thoughout the occupation, although many of their relatives were evacuated to the north of England.

Ada's courage and strength of character were called upon again in the early stages of the war.

"Operation Ambassador" in the summer of 1940 was the second British Commando raid of the war and entailed an armed landing on Guernsey. The raid is well documented. It was a complete failure and resulted in Winston Churchill ordering major changes to commando training.

Corporal Dennis Dumper (1st East Surrey Regimental Police), Privates Fred Drain (2nd Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment) and Andy Ross (Black Watch) and Gunner John McGoldrick (Royal Artillery) were unable to be rescued by sea, as they couldn't swim to their boat, and two were hidden and looked after by Ada and Walter before surrendering. The commandos didn't reveal their hiding place and saved Ada and Walter from almost certain execution.

Cpl. Dumper left his gun, cigarette lighter, penknives, compass, crucifix and money with them. These can now be viewed at the Guernsey Occupation Museum. Fred Drain kept in regular touch with Ada and Walter after the war.

The full story can be read in "The War in the Channel Islands Then And Now" by Winston G Ramsey.
Battle of Britain Prints International, London.
ISBN 0 900913 22 3