Whilst I was in Sark recently my old school friend, Simon Elmont, asked me if I wanted to see the cottage where the Germans had formally surrendered to British forces on 10th May 1945. You can read about the surrender on the other Islands here.
We were walking from the Operation Basalt 80th Anniversary lunch at Stocks Hotel to the Bel Air for a quick drink, before I had to catch the boat back to Guernsey.
A very short diversion later we were outside Rose Cottage which sits on the Rosebud Tenement. It turns out that the house is pretty much as it was at the time of the surrender. Albeit the house is looking a little dilapidated having been empty for some time.
Now you might be wondering why the this didn’t happen at La Seigneurie the home of Sybil Hathaway, Dame of Sark. The reason was that the German Kommandantur was not based there but at the cottage above. In the below extract from her book “Dame of Sark, an autobiography” explains what happened.
The British force had not landed on Guernsey till 9 May and the Occupation troops on Sark had refused to answer telephone calls from Guernsey. This ostrich-like behaviour gave rise to a rumour that there must be ‘trouble in Sark’. So at about five o’clock in the evening on 10 May a tug came over with only three officers and twenty men, and I went to the harbour to meet our ‘Liberation Force’. Not a German was to be seen anywhere.Dame of Sark, an autobiography
Colonel Allen, the English officer in charge of the party, asked where they were and added that he would need an interpreter. I informed him that I would act as interpreter and led him to the house that the Germans used as their Kommandantur. But no Germans were about and it was only after one of our soldiers hammered loudly on the door that they appeared and the German major who was in charge was summoned to answer Colonel Allen’s questions.
When he had done so satisfactorily Colonel Allen turned to me. ‘I can’t leave any troops here because so far only a token force has been landed in Guernsey.’ He hesitated a moment and then asked, ‘Would you mind being left for a few days, or would you prefer to return to Guernsey with me?’ There was a glint in his eyes when I said tartly, ‘As I have been left for nearly five years I can stand a few more days.” ‘That’s fine. Now will you tell the German Commandant that he is to carry out whatever orders you give until our troops come over?’
Having translated this command, I promptly gave my first order to the German major: ‘You will see to it that the telephone is laid on at once to my house and kept open day and night so that I can contact Guernsey.’ Our Liberation Force boarded the tug and I was left in command of 275 German troops!
The cottage is for sale along with the other two on the site as part of the Rosebud Tenement.
Hopefully it will be purchased by someone that will be able to preserve the house and its history.
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© Nick Le Huray