29th December 1976

Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies

Gerald Basil Edwards was born on 8 July 1899 at Sous les Houges, Vale, to Harriet Mauger and Thomas Edwards, a quarry-owner. He moved to Bristol to study English in 1919, and from there went to London to teach literature and drama despite not having graduated.

Before moving to England, he had spent some time teaching on Guernsey, and served in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry from 1917. In that year he had been posted to Portsmouth to work as a gunnery instructor.

Edwards’ mother died when he was 25, when he was already living on the mainland. In his absence, his father sold the family home, which Harriet had bequeathed to Gerald, who had rejected it by tearing up her will. At this point, Edwards vowed never to return and, indeed, he never lived on the island again. Nonetheless, he wrote one of the most lauded books about Guernsey, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, published posthumously in 1981.

A private man

Few records of Edwards’ life exist as Edwards destroyed as much as he could before dying. However, it is known that he lived in Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as the UK, and that during and after the Second World War he took a job with the civil service.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is his only novel-length work known to exist. He died of a heart attack in December 1976 and, following his cremation, his ashes were returned to St Peter Port. He had bequeathed the manuscript of the book to a friend before his death, who submitted it to several publishers over many years before he was successful in finding one who would print and distribute it.

In 2008, a blue plaque was erected on Hawkesbury House, Braye du Valle, reading, “G. B. Edwards, 1899 – 1979, author of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page lived here”.

 

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Other events that occured in December

French fishing boats prepare to invade 1st
Two cargo ships collide on their way to Guernsey 2nd
Guernseyman Herbert Le Patourel wrongly thought killed 3rd
A Guernsey funeral takes place in Cornwall 4th
Guernsey steamship SS Rossgull is wrecked 5th
The Guernsey Tapestry is completed 6th
Air UK Fokker overshoots Guernsey runway 7th
Naftel’s paintings go on display 8th
Guernsey and Jersey newspapers agree to merge 9th
Sark holds its first election 10th
Beau Sejour opens for business 11th
Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon 12th
Explorer Edmund Kennedy is speared to death 13th
Author Mary Ann Shaffer is born
Herm bribery case comes to court 14th
Alderney’s evacuees return to their island 15th
Guillaume de Beauvoir appointed dean of English Church in Geneva 16th
Castle Cornet surrenders to Guernsey 17th
Telex, phones and telegram cables go quiet 18th
Guernsey shipwreck results in starvation 19th
Channel Islands Securities Exchange founded 20th
G-COBO has a bumpy flight 21st
Guernsey struck by an earthquake 22nd
William Hedley Cliff buys Jethou 23rd
Wombles author Liza Beresford dies 24th
Asterix is discovered in St Peter Port harbour 25th
Guille and Alles lease the Assembly Rooms 26th
The Red Cross saves Guernsey from starvation 27th
Operation Hardtack targets the Channel Islands 28th
Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies 29th
Castle Cornet is struck by lightning 30th
Guernsey Police makes the world’s first underwater arrest 31st