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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 12:43 UK
Remembering Bailiwick internment during WWII
Guernsey and Sark deportees
Surviving deportees gathered to a special ceremony in July 2010

In 1943 a group of Guernsey and Sark residents were deported from St Peter Port, eventually ending up in the well documented Biberach and Lauffen camps.

However, en route to these internment camps many were forced to spend up to three months at Compiègne in France.

Town dignitaries visited Guernsey in 2010 to meet with deportees.

Deputy mayor of Compiègne Arielle Francois said: "It was very important to know what happened with the people from Guernsey and Sark."

As well meeting deportees from both Guernsey and Sark the dignitaries were presented with a Guernsey flag which will be housed in the town's church and the memorial and archive of the camp that was opened in 2008 will feature information on the Bailiwick's part of the camp's story.

The Bailiff of Guernsey attended the memorial's inauguration in 2008 and at the 2010 ceremony in Guernsey he said: "It builds on a relationship that started a few years ago... there is a special relationship developing [between the town and the islands]."

He did add though that a balance needed to be maintained with the island's representation as they were only a small part of the camp's story which also saw thousands of Jews pass through its gates en route to the Nazi death camps and prisoners of war from the USA and Canada being interned there for much longer periods.

Memories of deportation

Margaret Godfrey was 10 years old when her family were deported from Guernsey in 1943.

She said that they were deported due to her father's involvement in an act of resistance by members of the Guernsey police force: "They opened the food stores and they got caught and deported from the island."

She said that for adults the deportation and time at Compiègne must have been much more traumatic but for her as a youngster she said: "You don't see the dangers and you're not frightened - it's all an experience... we had people to play with and we had food and that's the important things."

Doris Bougourd was 11 when they left Guernsey and had her 12th birthday at Compiègne.

Gerard Le Goff
Gerard Le Goff from the Compiègne museum was presented with a flag

She, like many of the other deportees, remembers the journey from St Peter Port to St Malo as being very rough and uncomfortable as they were transported in the hold of a ship usually used for cargo.

She said that as a youngster "it was a great experience" though for the adults it would have been much worse and a very uncertain time as families were split up and often mothers and children had no idea where the fathers had been taken, though this was often to all male camps in Germany, before most, but not all, were reunited at Biberach or Lauffen.

Camp de Royallieu at Compiègne

Before the war the Camp de Royallieu at Compiègne, just north east of Paris, was a French army barracks, however, as northern France fell to the Third Reich it was taken over by the German forces and converted into a concentration camp.

One hundred and thirty Channel Island residents were taken there in 1943 and spent three months in the camp.

Conditions in the camp were said to be "pretty wretched" although the three month stay of the Channel Islanders is thought to have been a longer stay than most as PoWs or Jewish prisoners were soon passed on to other camps in Germany and further east.




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