6th April 1970

Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman

Stone de Croze, the so-called “original Guernseyman” first appeared in print on 6 April 1970. Drawn by Alan Guppy – better known simply as Guppy – the comic strip in which he appeared ran weekly in the Guernsey Evening Press and Star.

Stone de Croze

The changing face of Guernsey

The strip had been commissioned the previous month by the paper’s featured editor, Carel Toms. It was only ever supposed to appear on a children’s page. However, as Toms wrote in the introduction to a collection of the strips in book form:

Stone de Croze… slowly but surely matures, especially when it was realised that his weekly following included readers from every strata of society, from eight to eighty.

Although Stone de Croze lived a fairly solitary existence, Guppy introduced other characters over the years. Some of these came from the neighbouring islands of Herm, Sark, Jersey and Alderney – along with the occasional mainlander.

He was even visited by invaders from Germany, in strips that obliquely referred to the occupation. As detailed in Modern Conflict and the Senses, edited by Nicholas J Saunders and Paul Cornish:

In 1980, Guppy published a cartoon showing German soldiers, complete with white beards and stooped by age, coming out of a bunker and waving a white flag. Two local policemen look on, and the caption reads, “Now we know who has been raiding the beach kiosks all these years”.

Likewise, in Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation, 1940 – 45 by Gilly Carr, Paul Sanders and Louise Willmot:

While the depiction of the Stone Age Germans, who spoke in a stereotyped German accent, was not exactly politically correct, they were used as a device to introduce the Occupation to a younger generation.

Spoken like a local

Much of the strips’ dialogue is written in a gently phonetic style, and frequently includes the inflection, “eh?”. Combined, these make Stone de Croze instantly familiar, and root him on the Guernsey.

An immediately recognisable figure, Stone de Croze always dressed in an over-long Guernsey. He carried a stone-headed axe wherever he went.

Alan Guppy, his creator, died in 1980.

 

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Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port 30th