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Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

27th January marked Holocaust Remembrance day this year and featured Society lifetime members Bob Le Sueur MBE, and Michael Ginns MBE, on a new panel of the Occupation Tapestry unveiled this month. Mr. Le Sueur was the first speaker at the ceremony and he spoke eloquently about his wartime experiences. He also delivered a warning to younger generations about various evils which exist today and reminded them to speak up when ever they saw injustice.

The memorial also featured readings of poetry and literature by members of the Jersey Arts Centre youtheatre, and a final address by the Dean of Jersey, The Very Reverend Bob Key.

Following the ceremony in the Tapestry Gallery, Social Secretary Noel Le Fondré laid a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial outside on behalf of the Society.

The BBC "V" Sign Campaign

To mark the 76th anniversary of the BBC's "V for Victory" campaign, Society Archivist Colin Isherwood has provided the following report, which we hope you will enjoy:

On January 14th, 1941, Victor de Laveleye, the former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-speaking broadcasts for the BBC (1940–1944), suggested in a broadcast that Belgians, French and Dutch use a V for victoire as a rallying emblem.

Within weeks after Laveleye’s broadcast, ‘V’ signs began appearing on walls throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern France.

Buoyed by this success, the BBC set out a plan, the "V for Victory" campaign, for which they put in charge the assistant news editor Douglas Ritchie posing as “Colonel Britton”.

Ritchie suggested an audible V using its Morse code rhythm (three dots and a dash). Having the same rhythm, as the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. This was then used as the call-sign by the BBC in its foreign language programmes to occupied Europe for the rest of the war. The irony is that it was composed by a German!

The BBC thus encouraged the use of the V gesture introduced by de Laveleye.

By July 1941, the use of the letter V had spread through occupied Europe, and on 19 July, Winston Churchill put the British Government’s stamp of approval on the ‘V’ for Victory campaign in a speech, from which point he started using the V hand sign.

Other allied leaders used the sign as well; since 1942, Charles de Gaulle used the V sign in every speech until 1969.

Channel Islanders took part in the V sign campaign, as part of the resistance movement that had taken place across Europe.

“V” signs were painted over German signs and on walls: The symbol was incorporated into art and everyday objects as well. It was engraved in cups, stitched on to clothes and embroidery, and hidden in paintings.

In 1941, Edmund Blampied designed banknotes issued by the States of Jersey. When folded in a specific way, revealed a V symbol. He also created a series of postage stamps which hid a ‘V’ sign and the initials “GR” symbolizing loyalty to Britain and King George VI.

The campaign in Jersey although did no harm to the Germans, did infuriate the Occupying Forces immensely and rewards of £25 were offered for any information leading to the arrest of the culprits.

On 1st July 1941 (after exactly one year of Occupation) ‘V’ signs were painted in and around the Rouge Bouillon area, including the German road sign at the bottom of Queens road, which bore the slogan ‘Victory is British’

The Germans were furious and immediately issued three ultimatums if the perpetrators did not hand themselves in:

  1. All radio sets held by persons in the Rouge Bouillon are will be confiscated
  2. A fine imposed on the inhabitants in the area
  3. A civilian guard will be required nightly to prevent a recurrence.

On 10th July 1941 persons living in the Rouge Bouillon area did indeed have their wireless sets confiscated as form of punishment and guards were place at the bottom of Queens road.

However, on 28th July 1941 the confiscated radios were returned, the reason for this being two women, (sisters) Kathleen le Norman and Lillian Kinnaird were arrested and subsequently sentenced to nine months imprisonment which was served in Caen. This despite Lillian having a young baby. Both women were under 20 years of age.

Around this time, it is alleged Guernsey Jurat John Leale said to the German authorities: "If you don’t like people putting up ‘V’ signs, why not put some up yourself?"

The Germans indeed put up their own ‘V’ signs: Their ‘V’ being for Viktoria, mounted with oak leaves.

The soldiers of Frederick the Great shouted ‘Victory’ after they had won the Battle. Proud of the victories gained by their comrades on the Western Front, the German soldiers had now begun to display the ‘V’ sign.

Whether Leale actually helped with this German ‘V’ campaign is unclear, but from 21st July 1941 the Germans began their own ‘V’ campaign in earnest – Leslie Sinel noted "The Germans have put up ‘V’ signs on the dwellings and their cars!"

The German campaign was successful not just in Jersey and the Channel Islands, but also across France and Europe, and gradually the British ‘V’ sign campaign died away.

2017 Local History Fayre

Jersey Library are hosting the island’s second Local History Fayre on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th January from 10.00am-4.00pm. We are pleased to announce that two of our members are giving presentations this year, the details of which are below.

Friday 27th January 11:30am

The Channel Islands Occupation Society

Press Officer & Tour Guide Tony Pike will give a presentation on the history and function of the CIOS (Jersey) and the fortifications which are in the care of the Society. Tony is the Team Leader of Batterie Moltke , Guardian of the Kriegsmarine MP3 Tower at Les Landes, and is currently restoring a recently excavated Fl 242 Flak bunker. Questions are invited from the public on any aspect of the Occupation.

Saturday 28th January 12:30pm

The German Defences of Ouaisné and St Brelade's Bay

CIOS Guide Alex Fearn will review the German infantry defence positions and bunkers which lined the bay and will cover the strongpoint, resistance nests and minefields which formed part of the defensive network, using period photographs and reports. The geology, flora and fauna will be explained together with the other landmarks being La Cotte, the Conway towers, St Brelade's Church together with the German soldier rest houses, German graveyard and a WWII plane crash site.

2017 Events Calendar

Film: "Hitler's Island Madness"
Wednesday 11th
8.00pm, Société Jersiaise Members’ Room
Local History Fayre
Saturday 28th
12:30pm, Jersey Library
Hohlgangsanlagen Tour
Saturday 4th
10:00am, Ho4 Grands Vaux
Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 8th
8.00pm, Société Jersiaise Members’ Room

Join The CIOS

Please download a membership application and return it to the address provided. Members joining after 1st November automatically qualify for the next year.

Membership Application

Trespass Warning

A word of warning to those who may wish to visit the Channel Islands’ Occupation sites. Most of the bunkers, gun pits and defences are on private property, and if you want to have a look, first obtain permission from the owner. Do not enter without a strong torch or lamp. There are different designs of defences that, from the outside look the same, but once inside, passages may descend without warning. Also wellington boots may be needed as over fifty years of dirt and dust will have blocked up the drains. We would warn you that bunkers on the coast will have been used as unofficial toilets - so beware! Young persons should not enter without an adult, as many bunkers have awkward steps and hidden ducts that can trip the unwary. Bunkers and tunnels that are sealed have been blocked up for this reason and for no other - those of you who hope to find an “Aladdin’s Cave” of war relics are too late, having been beaten to it by the scrap metal drive of the early 1950s.

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