Sixty nine years ago today, on the 16th September 1942, many Jersey residents were evacuated and transferred to Germany. Last year I discovered that one of my relations was ‘Transported to Germany on 16. 9.42’. (source: Identity card). Violet May Davey was an older sister to my great grandfather George Davey. She was 49 years old when she was transported with her son and husband.
At first I was a bit confused as to why she was transported there. I still don’t have the exact answer, but one theory is that she went because her husband Wilroy Joseph Bryant was English, and not Jersey. This made quite a difference during the 2nd World War. Wilroy’s and Violet’s oldest son went with them, he was 20 years old. There is a photo of him standing in a group of men in the prisoner-of-war camp ‘Laufen’ (the photo is in the Jersey archives). There was a younger son who would have been 10 years old at the time, but I don’t know if he went with them as well. As you will see in the notice below, only men of the age 16 to 70 had to go. Maybe he was left behind with other family members. Below is an extract from the evening post on the 16th September 1942:
Laufen was a castle in Germany that was initially used as a prisoner-of-war camp during the war. Then in 1942 it was reused as an internment for hundreds of men deported from Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands, as well as some American civilians. It was an incredibly brave decision to go, although there really wasn’t much choice in the matter. Her husband and son had to leave. They were going into the unknown and leaving family and friends behind and noone knew for how long for.
What happened to Violet and her family after the war? At Christmas I went home to Jersey to visit family and do some more research on my family tree. On a visit to the archives there was a display of children’s family trees for a project at one of the islands secondary schools. I recognised one of the names on the tree. I had taught this young lady when she was 5 years old and to my amazement Violet Davey was on her tree! Violet was her great, great grandmother, who had survived the war.
Note: The Evening Post was founded in 1890. Now known as the Jersey Evening Post or J.E.P.
“From 1940 to 1945, the Channel Islands were occupied by the German armed forces, and although publication of the paper continued, it was produced under the supervision and strict censorship of the occupying forces”
This is quite an evocative post for me. My father and his family were virtually all evacuated from Jersey in June 1940. Most went to Rochdale in Lancashire, my father and his family stayed in Weymouth where there was already more family and a few went to Southampton/Portsmouth area. I have published his memories on Jerripedia here… http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/David_William_Pavey
My grandmothers family were a different matter however. Her Uncle Claude Reginald Cornick, (b Jersey 1890) his wife Gladys (nee Frigot) and their 3 children Alec Joyce and Gladys all stayed in Jersey. Their house was on Stopford Road was commandeeered and they were moved to Wellington Park. At that point I have lost all mention of them. There are anecdotal family stories of some relatives being deported and never heard from again. Claude was a former member of the Jersey Royal Militia and also served in the labour corps during WW1 (he couldn’t serve in the army as he had lost 3 fingers in the Militia). I have copies of their ID cards from 1941, but I have found no mention of any of them after that date…. I wonder what happened to them?
This is a fascinating story and I hope you have success in finding out more about your ancestors lives. Maybe someone reading this post will recognise some names. There were Cornicks that lived at Le Squez when I was a kid, my younger brother was a friend of one of their sons. It is all so worth remembering and recording for future generations, and whether family were deported or stayed in the island, the stories are still precious and sometimes hard for those of us who have never lived through a war to comprehend.
Thanks for sharing your story,