I had to return home to the new school and the war began September 3, 1939. I remember being in the dining room as the 11 a.m. announcement came on the wireless. My parents told us that this was very serious. They remembered WW1. That war did not come to Jersey, but my father served, as did others. Channel Islanders volunteered; they were not enlisted. The UK is responsible for our protection and our men volunteer to "do their bit," incredible as that may seem today.
We were extremely patriotic and that stood us in good stead during the ordeal that was to follow. The time went by, everyone was confident that the Maginot Line would hold. The battleship Graf Spee was sunk off the coast of South America. We were not surprised; we expected victory. Spring arrived and the news on the wireless was not as expected. No one could have imagined what was to follow. Jersey did not seem to
be threatened and life went on happily as ever. The wily Fuhrer had other plans for us. The Channel Islands were British territory and he could hardly wait to claim us. My parents said that if the Germans came it would only be an "old officer" who would be stationed at Government House. This is the residence of the King or Queen's representative in the Island. These officials are usually retired officers from the armed services and have no judicial power over
Island laws or government. That supposition was wrong and more than wrong. The Home Office in London, which was responsible for the Islands, saw no need to provide protection and was deaf to requests for guidance from the Islands. By June 1940, the Islanders began to experience the horrors before them: evacuation, air raids and bombs. The Islanders were bracing themselves for enemy Occupation. Such are the fortunes of war. Our lives were to change forever.

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Copyright: Sheila LeSueur 2000