Guernsey – a WW2 Press Diary

img_2725Found – a small  44-page wire-stitched newsprint pamphlet (no date or printer specified) entitled “PRESS” DIARY of Island Life during the German Occupation 1940-1945. Probably printed in Guernsey in late 1945. It records life under German occupation  in Guernsey through short news items. It is much concerned with the many changing rules and proclamations by the Germans regarding cars, tobacco, potatoes, curfews,  penalties for plunder of unoccupied premises (death) also it  records local crime, entertainment and privations. Cigarette rations were down to 20 cigarettes a week and 2 oz of tobacco. Many notices are brief – ‘’Rat Destruction committee advertise for dogs and ferrets.’  ‘Owners of private cars ordered to report.’ ‘Potato Board report that shortage of potatoes is due to hoarding.’ ‘First case against cyclists for riding abreast. Fined 2/6 each.’ ‘Germans order collections of old bicycle tyres, and tubes, rags, old paper, feathers, rubber, bones, leather and unbroken glass bottles’ ‘Appeal for old felt hats for making into slippers.’

Ships arriving with supplies are noted including  the one ton of delicacies- milk, chocolate, cheese and sweets donated to the island’s children by the Swiss International Red Cross in April 1941. The  Guille-Allès Library of Guernsey allowed residents 2 books at a time (raised from one.) There were many burglaries and break-ins reported and several profiteers and black marketers arrested and fined. One man arrested for breaking into a house and stealing and assaulting a woman received 12 strokes of the whip and 5 years in prison, a few were summarily shot.

in January 1942 German orders stated that any person keeping pigeons is liable to the death penalty and on that day there was also an appeal for empty Benedictine bottles. Selling goods received in gift parcels for high mark-ups was fined.  In auctions some ordinary goods made fantastic prices – in 1944  a shilling bottle of sauce made £5.10 shillings, nutmegs 12 shillings each,a packet of matches 33 shillings, a small tin of Brasso 13/6, a tin of Vim 14 shillings and a jar of Vaseline  20 shillings, prices 30 to 100 times higher than peacetime. The most astounding result was £7  7 shillings and sixpence for half a pound of tea that would have sold 5 years before for one shilling and sixpence….

2 thoughts on “Guernsey – a WW2 Press Diary

  1. Roger

    The people “summarily shot” were probably forced labourers – mainly Soviet PoWs – on starvation rations. Islanders who tried to help them were deported to internment camps.

  2. Jot 101 Post author

    Thanks Roger. Oddly the forced labourers are not mentioned. At one point it notes 3 foreign workers were arrested for a break-in, their fate unclear…Sabotage was also punishable by death.


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