Last year, for the anniversary of their arrest, I wrote a blog about the entire police force of Guernsey being arrested.  Their crime was stealing food from German stores and giving it to civilians. You can read about it here.

Yesterday I became aware of an animated short film that explains what happened in a fairly concise way. The images used are quite clever; as some of them are using well known photographs of people and places as inspiration for the animation. Some of these places wouldn’t have existed at the time of the occupation but would be familiar now.

The film was made six months ago at the time of writing (March 2023) and is an unusual format to tell the story but gets the message across quite well. It even covers the underhand methods that the Germans used to try and get the officers to confess and the suggestion that they might be pardoned after the war by the local authorities.

If you look at it with the benefit of hindsight you might think of it as naive of anyone, be it the local authorities or the policemen themselves, to believe that the Germans would behave in a fair way and not use underhand tactics. However, you have to remember that at this time there was little access to information from the outside world and hadn’t been since June 1940.

Occasionally articles appeared in the British media in the post war years. Eventually they petered out with the odd exception in recent times referenced in my previous blog. Out of the post war articles the one below, from the Sunday Mirror, is probably the most comprehensive.

Sunday Mirror – Sunday 26 November 1950
Image © Reach PLC. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

As you will discover when you watch the short video at the end of this blog there were many implications for those officers after the war. Inspector Schulpher, who had been in charge of the force, was investigated in 1946 and had to fall on his sword and resign shortly after resuming his position.

Daily Herald – Saturday 02 February 1946
Image © Reach PLC. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Moving to the present day another year has passed with the 81st Anniversary earlier this month on 5 March. You may be wondering if there have been any developments in that year. An article in the 30 January 2023 edition of the Guernsey Press indicated that they might, finally, get a pardon this year. I won’t be holding my breath, but if they do get around to it, the families would have closure.

Guernsey Press – 30 January 2023

Thanks to all those that have kept the pressure up to get the pardon. I truly hope it will be granted. Enough of my waffle and time for the short film.

Film from Simple History YouTube Channel

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© Nick Le Huray


Guernsey Policeman with a German Soldier – German propaganda photograph

Today is the 80th anniversary of the day that the German occupying forces arrested all of the Island’s police force. Their crime was stealing food from German stores and giving it to civilians. At this point in the occupation the Germans had plentiful supplies of food but Islanders did not.

The thefts of food were initially started by Constables Kingston Bailey and Frank Tuck. Bailey notes in his memoir that it started to get out of hand and practically the entire police force was involved.

Eventually Bailey and Tuck were apprehended on 3 March 1942 by German soldiers who were laying in wait. Subsequent to this the entire police force was arrested on 5 March 1942.

Accounts indicate that they were tortured and forced to sign confessions or be shot.

In May and June 1942 seventeen police officers were brought to trial. The sentences were severe and they were deported to Prisons and camps in mainland Europe. Many suffered life changing health issues from their time in the camps and sadly one officer Herbert Smith died whilst in detention.

18 May 1942 Guernsey Evening Press

Islanders were of course keen to know what was happening in the trial and were largely reliant on the Guernsey Press and The Star newspapers which was subject to censorship by the Germans. The editor Frank Falla managed to get approximately 1,500 copies of the newspaper printed with an uncensored version before the censor had redacted a large part of the article. Unfortunately for Falla one of the unauthorised copies was purchased by a German who was sitting on the bench for the trial.

Frank Falla – Silent War
Frank Falla – The Silent War
Frank Falla – The Silent War
Frank Falla – The Silent War

The case had further impact on the local community as in late January 1943 former police officers and some of the family members of the imprisoned officers were deported to camps on mainland Europe for “military reasons”.

You can read more about the individual officers at the Frank Falla Archive by following these links to those that I have mentioned by name here Kingston Bailey, Frank Tuck and Herbert Smith. Thanks to Jenna Holloway who also pointed me in the direction of her great grandfather William Quin who was one of the Policeman and Adelaide Laine who lives in the house previously owned by Thomas Gaudion.

Recent attempts to clear the names of those involved have unfortunately been unsuccessful at the time of writing. The campaign to get an apology continues and well known historian Dr Gilly Carr is actively involved in this. You can read about this in a recent BBC article and an article from the Daily Mail.

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