Friday, 7 January 2011

Jersey Under the Swastika - Introduction

By way of a change this year, I will be posting occasional extracts from "Jersey Under the Swastika" by Ralph Mollet, which was published in 1945, partly after the Occupation ended, and constructed from his own diary and official notices.

Mollet had been the private secretary to three successive Bailiffs over a period of twenty years, and it should be noted that this is not just an "objective history" (if such a thing can be said to exist, which I doubt), but a history with a definite purpose - "it may serve to vindicate the Island Officials from much criticism and the repetition of untruths to which they were subjected." Such criticism has largely, but not entirely, vanished from the record, as it consisted, as G.R. Balleine observed, largely of unsubstantiated gossip - "information received on high authority from the cousin of the laundress who takes in the washing of the Bailiff's".

But in 1945, just after the Occupation, feelings on the matter could still be strong, and it is hard to realise quite how much criticism was passed on about the Island authorities. Even in the 1960s, I was told (by word of mouth, as part of the oral culture), that the Bailiff had been alright during the Occupation because of his black market dealings. In fact, no evidence has ever turned up to show this to be remotely true, while there is evidence in plenty of other officials involvement in black market activity. As historian Paul Sanders has noted:

Coutanche, according to his own statements, also never used the black market; another important contrast to
other dignitaries. One of these, a judge known for having condemned many people for black market involvement, was a regular customer of Emma C. who was conducting a brisk under-the-counter trade in supplies smuggled across from France to Jersey, at the photographic depot of her common-law husband Edmund Hassall. (1)

Almost everyone relied on the black market. And 'everyone' included members of the island elites; it was of particular piquancy that members of the Royal Courts were not immune to the allure of the black market. (1)

Coutanche was able to avoid using the "black market" because he had enough resources to use the "barter market", which was described by Denis Vibert in 1941, on his arrival in England

A barter trade has sprung up and there are frequent advertisements in the "Evening Post" offering to exchange items such as a pair of shoes for a pound of sugar. Shops will also display articles to be bartered for which they charge a fee of one shilling [5 pence] (2)

Sanders notes how the "barter market" was seen in much better light than the "black market", because the goods it involved were exchanged without money, and using the black market (but as a consumer, not a trader in black market goods) was a necessity for most islanders; this is also confirmed by John Lewis in his "Doctors Occupation". But after 1945, the use of the black market was seen as a critique of officials.

The 'black market' bears similarities with the discussion of 'collaboration': there is a marked tendency to view the phenomenon in Manichean terms. Some people, such as the Very Reverend Matthew Le Marinel, the Rector of St Helier, made a point of never using the black market. The results were obvious in Le Marinel's considerable weight loss. According to Jerseyman Bob Le Sueur, after some months his dog collar started to hang very loosely around his neck, as he had lost half his body weight. This position was not very realistic, perhaps even foolish. While Le Marinel probably could not afford to by-pass the black market, the Bailiff of Jersey - who later also wrote that he never used the black market - probably had enough pre-war substance to live on during the Occupation and could limit himself to barter transactions which saw no money changing hands.(2)

That a Manichean view is inadequate was already noted by Jersey chronicler Leslie Sinel who saw a need for distinctions between, on the one hand, hoarders with the intent of profiteering and, on the other, what the French aptly described as 'le marché noir familial'.(2)

Now to the extract, in which Ralph Mollet describes the Island and sets some of the background. This was before the post-war Reforms of the States, and the Jurats and Rectors both sat in the States. What is notable is that during the Occupation years, if an electable States position became vacant, it remained so; there were no elections under German rule.


Jersey Under the Swastika by Ralph Mollet

I - INTRODUCTION

FROM the commencement of the Occupation of the Island of Jersey by the German Forces I kept a diary containing information of a purely civil character, and have thought that an account of the Occupation may prove to be of general interest; also, as it consists of a record of what happened, it may serve to vindicate the Island Officials from much criticism and the repetition of untruths to which they were subjected.

Using this diary as a basis, and with the help of newspaper cuttings and public notices, I have written the following account of a period that was most trying and difficult for all. It was only by faith, hope, and patience that the inhabitants survived.

I trust that it will be useful for reference by my fellow countrymen and by others who have interests in the island.

For the enlightenment of those who may not be acquainted with our Island history and institutions, a brief description is here given.

Prior to the year 1066 the Channel Islands formed part of the Duchy of Normandy. On the 14th October of that year, William II, Duke of Normandy, became William I, King of England. Normandy, including the Channel Islands, became linked to the English Crown.

In the year 1204 Normandy was conquered by the French, but the Channel Islands remained faithful to King John.

In 1461, Pierre de Breze, Comte de Maulevrier, Grand Seneschal of Normandy, sent an expedition- to Jersey under Jean de Carbonnel. He succeeded in gaining possession of Mont Orgueil Castle, probably through the collusion of Nanfan, acting under orders from Queen Margaret of Anjou. For the next seven years Jersey was under French rule. Then, in October, 1468, de Carbonnel, after a siege of five months, surrendered the Castle to Sir Richard Harliston, Admiral of the English Fleet. Since that date, until the 1st July, 1940, the Islands remained undisturbed and peaceful under the Crown of England.

The laws and institutions, by which the Channel Islands are governed, being derived from Normandy, are different from those of England. The area of Jersey is about forty-five square miles, and the average population about 50,000. The Island is divided into twelve parishes and each parish has its own municipal or parochial government.

The STATES, or Legislative Assembly, is the local parliament, and has power to make, amend, and repeal laws. All permanent legislation must, however, be approved by His Majesty in Council. The Assembly consists of the Bailiff, the twelve Rectors, the twelve Jurats, the twelve Connétables, and seventeen Deputies, representing the various parishes.

THE ROYAL COURT consists of the Bailiff as President and of the twelve Jurats. There are also the Attorney-General, the Vicomte or Sheriff, the Solicitor-General (these three appointed by the Crown), the Greffier or Clerk of the Court, and the Advocates.

THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR is the representative of the King, and is Military Commander-in-Chief of all the forces in the Island, and of the Island Militia. He is appointed by the Crown.

THE BAILIFF is the Chief Justice of the Island. He is President of the States and of the Royal Court. He is appointed by the Crown. The office is important and of very ancient Norman institution.

THE RECTORS, twelve in number (one for each ancient parish) are appointed by the Crown.

THE JURATS are twelve in number, and are elected by the people. They are called " jures justiciers " or sworn justiciars, and the office is for life. Besides his judicial duties a Jurat is by virtue of his office a member of the States. He receives no salary, the honour and dignity being a sufficient inducement and reward. Beyond the fact that he must be a Jerseyman by birth, there are no special qualifications required for the post.

THE CONNÉTABLES are twelve in number (one for each parish). The Connétable, constable, or mayor is elected by his parishioners, and is the head of the parish in all matters. By virtue of his office he is also a member of the States. He is a person of considerable importance and influence in his parish. The position is purely honorary.

THE DEPUTIES are representatives elected by each parish as members of the States. The work is entirely honorary.

STATES OF JERSEY
List of Members during the Occupation.

PRESIDENT:
ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF COUTANCHE, Bailiff of Jersey.

JURATS:
PHILIP DE CARTERET LE CORNU, O.B.E. (died 23rd January, 1944), Lieutenant-Bailiff
PHILIP ERNEST BREE, Lieutenant-Bailiff
PHILIP MELMOTH BAUDAINS
FRANCIS VIBERT LE FEUVRE
JAMES MESSERVY NORMAN
EDWIN PHILIP LE MASURIER, M.B.E.
ARTHUR LUXON
EDGAR ALECK DOREY
STANLEY HOCQUARD
ERNEST GEORGE LABEY
PHILIP NICOLLE GALLICHAN
TOUZEL JOHN BREE

RECTORS
St Helier - Rev. M. LE MARINEL, M.A., Dean
St. Brelade - Rev. J. A. BALLEINE (died 15th February, 1942).
St Clement -Rev. T. H. LABEY
Grouville -Rev. J. H. VALPY, M.A.
St John - Rev. R. S. HORNBY
St Lawrence - Rev. C. P. DU HEAUME
St. Martin - Rev. R. LE SUEUR, M.A.(died 26th January, 1941).
St. Mary - Rev. C. C. OULESS, M.A.
St. Ouen - Rev J.S. NORMAN
St. Peter - VACANT
St. Saviour - VACANT
Trinity - Rev W.G. TABB

CONNÉTABLES:
St. Brelade - WALTER BENEST
St. Clement - SYDNEY GEORGE CRILL
Grouville - P.W.C. BRIARD
St. John - JOHN LE MASURIER
St. Lawrence - JOHN W BAUDAINS
St Martin - CHAS. P. BILLOT
St. Mary - FRS. J. PERREE
St. Ouen - FRS. LE BOUTILLIER
St. Peter - JOHN DU VAL
St. Saviour - L. T. ANTHOINE
Trinity - SNOWDON BENEST (died 10 October, 1944)
St Helier - CHARLES JAMES CUMING

DEPUTIES
St Brelade - RALPH E.B. VOISIN
St Clement - THOMAS R. BLAMPIED
Grouville - W. J. BERTRAM
St John - J. GARTRELL (died 2nd February, 1945).
St Lawrence - T. A. PALLOT
St Martin - Ph. AHIER
St Mary - Ph. LE FEUVRE
St Ouen - F. LE FEUVRE
St Peter- W. SIMON
St Saviour -THOMAS P. MOURANT
Trinity - EDWIN D. GIBAUT
St.Helier P. N. RICHARDSON, Ph LE QUESNE, Ed. LE QUESNE, JOHN H AMY, W. S. LE MASURIER, JOHN LE MARQUAND

H.M.'s ATTORNEY-GENERAL:
CHARLES WALTER DURET AUBIN

H. M.'s VISCOUNT
CHARLES SYDNEY LE GROS

H.M.'s SOLICITOR-GENERAL
CECIL STANLEY HARRISON

Links:
(1) http://www.jerseyheritage.org/templates/jerseyheritage/occupation_memorial/historybook/occupationhistorychapter1.pdf
(2) http://www.jeron.je/thatwasjersey/occcond08.html

2 comments:

st-ouennais said...

What no deputy for St Ouen?

TonyTheProf said...

When transcribing this, I made a classic copyist error known to text criticism (in written ancient manuscripts) - St Mary and St Ouen both have Le Feuvres as Deputies!