This week marked 80 years since Frenchman François Marie Scornet was executed by a German firing squad at St Ouen’s Manor. He is believed to be the only civilian to have been executed on British soil during WW2. To mark the anniversary, CIOS Social Secretary Noel Le Fondré left a floral tribute at the Scornet memorial stone on the grounds of St Ouen’s Manor.
A larger memorial ceremony is held each year on 18th June which is the date General Charles De Gaulle called on the Free French to join him.
Scornet led a group of fifteen other members of France Libre, a movement of French army cadets dedicated to escaping France during the war, in an attempt to flee Occupied Brittany and sail to freedom in the United Kingdom. Most had not even told their families and sadly the attempt ended in disaster.
The cadets experienced bad weather which destroyed some of their navigational equipment. After several hours in the treacherous waters surrounding the Channel Islands, and with limited sailing experience, they mistakenly beached their craft in Vazon Bay, Guernsey, believing they had reached the Isle of Wight.
They were immediately met by German soldiers and imprisoned. After questioning they were sent to Jersey for trial. Scornet was judged to be the ringleader of the group and was sentenced to death. The others were given long sentences and sent to prison in Caen, and then on to camps in Germany.
For more information on François Scornet please see this page on the Island Wiki or this archived snapshot of the (now defunct) francoisscornet.com website
Archive and poster images courtesy of Damien Horn / Channel Islands Military Museum collection, memorial site with flowers by CIOS Social Secretary Noel Le Fondré