26th October 1944

GUNS founder Charles Machon died

The founders of GUNS, the Guernsey Underground News Sheet, paid a high price for their bravery. Informed upon, tried and sentenced, they were sent to prison in mainland Europe, and not all of them made it back to Guernsey alive.

One of those who paid with his life was Charles Machon, who died on 26 October 1944.

Until 2016, nobody knew for sure where his remains had been interred. However, in December it was confirmed that he had been buried in Am Wehl cemetery in the German town of Hamelin.

Machon and GUNS

Machon was a linotype operator at The Guernsey Star and Gazette when he came up with the idea of GUNS. The widely circulated publication was filled with BBC news stories that the team behind it had copied down the previous night and that morning while listening to a banned radio.

Around 300 copies of each edition were produced daily and widely circulated from hand to hand. The stories also spread by word of mouth.

Machon confessed his involvement when the German authorities threatened to arrest his mother. He was sentenced on 24 April 1944 to two years and a month of hard labour and sent, initially, to Rheinbach prison. The charges of which he was convicted were making and spreading leaflets, spreading seditious information and listening to prohibited broadcasts.

This punishment could have been enough to have killed even a strong man. However, Machon faced a more serious problem: he had a stomach ulcer. This required him to eat a special diet that simply wasn’t available in either Reinbach or Hamelin, the prison to which he was later transferred.

He died in Hamelin prison hospital, officially as a result of the ulcer. He was 51 years old.


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Other events that occured in October

Guernsey Post Office was established 1st
Guernsey switched to Reichsmarks 2nd
Sark was the target of Operation Basalt 3rd
Sark voted for democracy 4th
Guernsey lifeboat saved a Swedish schooner 5th
Jeeves actor died in Guernsey 6th
Sarnia Theatre celebrated its most successful year 7th
The Story of Adele H opened in cinemas 8th
Howards’ Way came to Guernsey 9th
Guernsey Ladies’ College opened 10th
A Trislander ate itself between Jersey and Guernsey 11th
The Channel Islands’ king set sail for England 12th
Major General Sir Isaac Brock died 13th
Footballer Matt Le Tissier was born 14th
Island FM brings commercial radio to Guernsey 15th
Channel Television saw off a rival broadcaster 16th
The first mines were dug on Sark 17th
Sark’s Stocks Hotel was damaged by fire 18th
Elizabeth College’s foundation stone was laid 19th
Hitler ordered the Channel Islands’ fortification 20th
Guernsey’s stone crackers demanded a pay rise 21st
The desalination plant opened 22nd
Sir Charles Hayward buys Jethou for £91,000 23rd
Guernsey Monopoly board game went on sale 24th
Dame Sibyl Hathaway chose her Desert Island Discs 25th
GUNS founder Charles Machon died 26th
Bailiff Sir Peter de Havilland was born 27th
A man “disappeared” from a Guernsey ferry 28th
Express & Star bought Guernsey Press 29th
The first lighthouses were built on the Casquets 30th
States of Guernsey voted to lower the voting age 31st