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Churchill sent MI-19 to find evidence of collaboration
Churchill
MI-19 found few instances of collaboration in the island

A book about the Occupation of Jersey by Nazi Germany claims the secret service tried to find evidence of collaboration after the war.

The author of 'Outpost of Occupation', Barry Turner, said it looks like they wanted to damage Jersey's reputation.

Mr Turner has revealed previously secret documents showing that Churchill was keen to preserve the myth that British people would never surrender.

Outpost of Occupation looks at the MI-19 investigation of Jersey.

WHAT IS MI-19?
Occupation children
MI-19 was the division of British Military Intelligence set up to obtain information from enemy prisoners of war.

It was created in December 1940 and operated an interrogation centre in Kensington Palace Gardens, London.

It shows how MI-19 agents came to the Channel Islands after the Liberation in search of evidence of mass collaboration.

Mr Turner claims Churchill was trying to prove to the world that Britain would not have surrendered to the Germans if it had been invaded in the same way as the Channel Islands.

He said: "When I started the book I had a fairly open mind about the problems of occupation.

"When I finished the book my very firm conclusion is that the people of the Channel Islands dealt with it the best they possibly could and came out of it with all honour.

"That was not the attitude taken in Britain at the end of the war, it interfered with the myth of never surrender.

"There was always a sort of conflict between those people who said 'we'd never surrender to the Germans' and the experience in the Channel Islands that suggested we would have done."

Churchill sent MI-19 agents to Jersey, to try to find evidence of collaboration, to show that the island had surrendered because of failures in every level of society.

Occupation family
MI-19 found very few instances of collaboration during the occupation

"The investigation went far and wide across the island, trying desperately to route out collaborators and of course they found one or two, they found a dozen or more, it was inevitable," said Mr Turner.

But he says the newly released documents prove that they found very little evidence to support that claim. He says they've been kept secret to prevent embarrassment for the government.

Barry Turner said: "It seems to me reading those documents that there was a determination to discover collaboration.

"They were faced with the fact that the islands had been occupied, the conclusion was that the islanders had given in without any sort of struggle, therefore there must be collaborators."

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YOUR COMMENTS

Jersey Lover

Jersey was abandoned by the British when all forces were withdrawn by Churchills orders! How dare they suggest such a thing, it is ridiculous to the extreme. Jersey folk resisted the terrible and cruel occupation with honour and dignity and it is an insult to intelligent thinking people to suggest anything different!

Robert

My Grandfather John Bassett used to tell me stories about the war when he was a teenager and he and his friends used to steal guns of the Germans when they slept by their camp fires, people spoke Jèrriaise (our forgotten language) during the war who did not want the Germans to know what was going on as they could not understand the dilect.

Alan, St Peter

After all these years I consider this to be an appalling revelation. My own father was imprisoned by the German regime just for standing up for himself. We endured great hardship during the five years of occupation and in particular the last year when the Islanders almost starved to death.

The saving factor were the Red Cross parcels. On Liberation Day 9th May 1945 the family did not have as much as a crumb in the house. I was five years old when the Island was occupied and have written my memories of the five long years, a copy can be found at Jersey Archive or a copy can be provided if anyone is interested.




SEE ALSO
Echoes of Jersey's Occupation
12 Oct 09 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Jersey's D-Day that never was
22 Dec 10 |  History
Occupation & Liberation memories
05 May 10 |  History

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