25th February 1943

Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne

Marie Ozanne was born on Guernsey in 1906 and trained for the Salvation Army in London in 1923. She served in France and Belgium immediately before the start of the Second World War, and returned to Guernsey in 1940. Just a few months later, the German army invaded.

Marie didn’t evacuate, despite the fact that Germany had banned the Salvation Army. She stayed on the island and preached in St Peter Port, as she believed was her calling, and spoke out against the way the Germans treated both locals and the shipped-in labourers.

She did all this while leading meetings and looking after two children, teaching music and learning German.

Brave protests

The occupying force confiscated her uniform, but this wasn’t enough to stop her. Ozanne redoubled her efforts, writing to the authorities to protest their behaviour. Her first letter argued against the closing down of the Salvation Army Halls, while later ones protested the German treatment of Jews.

In her diaries of 1942 and 1943, which the Island Archives acquired in 2017, she asked “Guernsey is beautiful [so] why do much war, darkness and hatred?”

Eventually, the Occupying powers had had enough. On 5 September 1942, they arrested her in the hope of shutting her up.

They were only half successful. Although imprisoned in a Guernsey policeman’s house, she kept up her campaign, despite falling ill.

Illness and death

This illness was perhaps more serious that anyone realised. Marie Ozanne died of peritonitis, an inflammation of the intestine’s fibrous membrane on 25 February 1943. She had died at home, aged 37.

Guernsey Bailiff Richard Collas unveiled a blue plaque in her honour at her former home in the Vale, close to St Sampson, on 23 February 2013. She was the first woman and first non-artist awarded a plaque on Guernsey.

She had already been posthumously awarded the Order of the Founder, the Salvation Army’s highest honour, in 1947.


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Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th