Personnel of Department of Labour. Committee:
Deputy E. LE QUESNE (President).
Deputy J. LE MARQUAND.
Deputy P. LE FEUVRE.
HEADS OF DEPARTMENT:
Miss P. LE CAUDEY.
Secretary (Forestry Section):
W. W. RATTENBURY.
Supervisor (Building Contractors’ Section):
H. J. HAMLIN.
R. T. ALBISON
In presenting this Report of the work of the Department during the period from July, 1940, to July, 1945, I wish to place on record the splendid help and assistance I have had at all times from my colleagues, Deputies I. Le Marquand and P. Le Feuvre, as also from the whole of the staff.
Faced with a difficult task, with no previous experience of the particular kind of work they were called upon to undertake, all have worked together as a team, always having in view the welfare of the large number of men and women entrusted to their charge, always endeavouring to make the lot of all working for the Department as acceptable as possible under the extraordinarily difficult conditions with which we were faced.
Apart from the heads of the various Departments and their assistants, we have been helped by several voluntary workers, who have placed their expert knowledge at the disposal of the Department. Amongst these I would particularly mention Mr. Colledge and Mr. Hackett.
Mr. Colledge has rendered, both to the Department and to the Island, services in regard to forestry and particularly re-forestation, which will be more fully appreciated as the years go by, and the trees he has selected and planted attain fruition.
Mr. Hackett, on the other hand, has placed his long experience as an architect and builder at our disposal, and has supervised the repairs and damage done both by the aerial bombardment that took place in 1940, as also by damage done through other causes during the ensuing years.
Mr. Wyatt, who has taken charge of the fuel distribution, is also one who has rendered valuable assistance. This gentleman’s vast experience in transport problems in many parts of the world has also been of great assistance, and in many other ways his advice and help have been much appreciated by the Department.
At the commencement of the Occupation the Department was fortunate in having at its disposal the unique organising ability of Mr. Geo. Le Cocq. His help was invaluable at a difficult time when hundreds of men were seeking employment and little or nothing seemed available. Mr. Le Cocq has had to relinquish his connection with the Department owing to pressure of work at the Social Assurance and Children’s Allowance Office, but he still carries on in connection with our Winter Relief Scheme.
Without the help of all those mentioned specifically and also that of many others who have assisted from time to time, it would have been impossible to carry on as head of this Department. I gladly pay tribute to their work and advice.
Edward Le Quesne,
REPORT ON WORK OF DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR DURING OCCUPATION
JULY, 1940 TO MAY, 1945.
The Unemployed Workforce
The Department of Labour was formed with other Departments in order to meet the emergency arising from the occupation of the Island by the German forces in the month of July, 1940. Faced almost immediately with the task of finding employment for the men and women displaced in the various hotels, private houses, business premises, farms and docks, it had to commence work with no previous experience, no previously envisaged schemes of employment, and no alternative occupations in which to fit those displaced from their normal type of work.
Almost immediately the number seeking work began to swell, until in December, 1940, it reached a total of 2,300 men, and a large and growing number of women. Something had to be provided immediately, and the first scheme developed was one for road widening and road construction in various parishes of the Island.
The road leading around Portelet Bay, the Route de Noirmont, the Route Orange, the Coast Road at Les Platons, and the Road from Fliquet Bay to St. Catherine’s were at once either widened or re-surfaced and a promenade was constructed round the headland dividing La Pulente from Petit Port. A decision was also made to construct pavements on each side of the Five Mile Road, this work alone giving employment to some hundreds of men.
Unfortunately, hardly had the promenade round the headland from La Pulente to Petit Port been completed, when it was taken over by the Occupying Forces, and prohibited to civilians, but the main work remains, and will be an asset for all at the end of hostilities.
Again all the work on the Five Mile Road has been submerged in the construction of Forts and Barracks, again by the Occupying Forces.
A little later a scheme for the construction of a new road bordering the cliffs from Sorel to La Saline in the Parish of St. John was submitted by the Department of Labour to the Superior Council, and eventually received the sanction of that body.
This road, some two and a half miles long, covers a stretch of Island scenery never previously available to the great majority of the Island population, and the beautiful coast scenery should prove an added attraction to visitors to the Island. Many thousands of tons of earth and stone had to be worked and quarried, and this has given employment to a large number of men.
The whole of the land bordering this road on the seaward side has been purchased by the States, and this will be at the disposal of all who wish to avail themselves of this Island beauty spot.
For many years the most beautiful of Jersey’s valleys, known locally as the Waterworks Valley, was practically a cul-de-sac, having no proper outlet at its northern end.
The Department, after investigation, and having come to terms with the proprietors of the land required, decided to construct a road from the Dannemarche Reservoir to the farm known as Hamptonne.
This road now permits traffic through the valley, and will enable tourists and residents to use this secondary road as a direct route to the North of the Island.
Another road construction scheme undertaken by the Department was one joining by a 20-foot road, the main road near Le Vesconte’s Monument at Trinity, to the fine coast road at Les Platons. After completing the widening of the Route Orange, the Department again seeking useful work for the unemployed, decided to widen the road from L’Ancienté around the Corbière, past Petit Port Bay, and then to the old Railway Station at La Moye.
This work again enabled the Department to find work for a large number of men, besides which several contractors have been employed for a considerable time building walls, and retaining banks on the boundaries of properties acquired for this widening.
During the winter of 1940-41, numbers of men were employed cutting gorse and bracken for use as replacement of straw for the bedding of cattle, and another squad of men was employed gathering carraghean moss for use in medicines and ordinary table requisites.
The Summerland Factory
In order to find employment for the large number of women displaced from domestic service from the hotels and business houses, the Department approached the proprietors of the Summerland Factory, Rouge Bouillon, and eventually received their permission to re-open the Factory.
The Department referred this to the Superior Council who appointed a special Committee to control this undertaking, leaving the preparatory work of installing machinery, etc., in the hands of the Department of Labour.
This entailed a considerable amount of work for the Department, in the provision of circular saws, band saws, clogging tools, etc., but eventually everything being ready, the factory was opened, and apart from giving employment to some 300 to 350 women and girls, and some 30 men, it has been the means of supplying the Island with much necessary clothing and footwear, both of which would have otherwise been unobtainable.
Repairing War Damage
Early in July, 1940, the Superior Council decided to entrust the Department with the reconstruction and repairing of the damage done during ‘the aerial bombardment that took place previous to the occupation of the Island.