A Brief Summary Of August 1940

By the beginning of August 1940, the islands had settled down to life under German Occupation. Many shops which had closed were re-opened by their owners or friends of those who had evacuated.

Representatives from the Islands travelled under escort to France to buy food and essential supplies. Jean Jouault from Jersey and Raymond Falla from Guernsey established a suitable base to which to operate in Granville. Unfortunately, the German authorities refused the Bailiff permission to open bank accounts in France, so money; Reichsmarks, had to be shipped to Granville, quite often in large tea chests!

German troops in the island were now totalling around a thousand; these included some Air Force personnel, but most were army troops from the 216 Infantry Division, many of whom were guarding Jersey’s Round and Martello towers which had been turned into rudimentary defence positions.

A group of unarmed Germans surprise a family photo!

The first military Island Commander was Captain Gussek. He was no stranger to Jersey having been held during WWI as a Prisoner of War at Les Blanches Banques, St Ouen. Gussek regarded his command as temporary, he felt Germany would soon invade and occupy England and so would be required elsewhere.

Captain Gussek informed the Bailiff that the Feld Kommand or Field Command 515 would soon be arriving in Jersey to take control of all German matters. Gussek having allegedly said; “and now the paper war begins!”

The Field Command was established at Victoria College House and was in effect, a German Civil Affairs unit with specialists in a number of commodities.

On Friday 9th August, the Germans organised a ‘Victory Day’ Parade through St Helier.

Captain Gussek takes the salute at the ‘Victory Day’ Parade, as the Luftwaffe (Air Force) band passes by.

The salute was taken by Captain Gussek in the Parade and was led by a German Air Force band. As well as the many soldiers who came to watch and listen, lots of islanders also turned out to see and hear the band.

Interestingly, the German soldiers who came to watch were not carrying any firearms! Many later remarking how safe they felt in the island.

An island census was taken and published on 10th August 1940. The population at this time was recorded as 41,101.

CIOS Archives, text by Colin Isherwood