19th September 1998

Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died

Guernseyman Hubert Nicolle undertook a daring raid at the very start of the Occupation. The British government sent him to Guernsey to ascertain two things: how many Germans had landed and how the island had been reinforced.

What he learned was crucial to its planning for Operation Ambassador, a raid that the forces were planning to mount the following week. His superiors at the Admiralty, who had assigned him the mission, had been honest about the risks he was running. If you’re caught, they warned him, “we don’t want to know you; you are out on your own.”

Britain’s first commando

He landed by kayak at Le Jaonnet Bay on 8 July 1940, but even that hadn’t been without its complications. The kayak had been constructed inside submarine H43, which had brought him across from the mainland. Only when they’d finished did the crew discover it was too large to fit through the hatch. It had to be dismantled and rebuilt on the surface of the water.

Nicolle remained undetected for three days, eventually being picked up again on 10 July and returning to the mainland with valuable and highly accurate information.

His endeavour earned him the title of Britain’s first commando.

Hubert Nicolle memorial at Icart Point

He undertook another information-gathering mission on 3 September 1940. He was dropped at Petit Port by speedboat, which failed to return for him as agreed. On 21 October, he was forced to surrender to the occupying forces, who sentenced him to death. They sent him to a prisoner of war camp to wait for his execution. He escaped from the camp by tunnelling out, only to be recaptured. He was eventually freed by American forces and made it back to Britain before the end of the war.

Hubert Nicolle died on Guernsey on 19 September 1998.


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Other events that occured in September

Channel Television took to the air 1st
A Guernseyman cycled to Herm 2nd
Brecqhou was put up for sale 3rd
Renoir arrived on Guernsey to paint 4th
Ship sinks in St Sampson harbour 5th
The melon king died… long live the melon king 6th
Coronavirus returns to Guernsey 7th
HD Ferries makes its last crossing
6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment fought at the Somme 8th
Guernsey number plate sold for £240,000 9th
Guernsey hosted the second Island Games 10th
Major Guernsey employer Tektronix went public 11th
Guernsey was struck by a hurricane 12th
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark 13th
Guernsey holidaymakers head home itching 14th
The title Baron de Saumarez was created 15th
Missing girl, Jetta, was found on Guernsey 16th
Archaeologists found a porpoise grave 17th
An Islander aircraft crashed in Guernsey 18th
Guernsey commando Hubert Nicolle died 19th
Guernsey and Jersey considered merging 20th
Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported 21st
The Devil’s Rock had its opening night 22nd
The Duke of Connaught visited Guernsey 23rd
Former bailiff Daniel de Lisle Brock died 24th
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill died 25th
Trudy, Guernsey’s biggest ever import, was installed 26th
“Let em starve,” said Churchill 27th
A Guernsey planning dispute headed to Europe 28th
Herm tenant Major Peter Wood died 29th
Spotlight was broadcast for the first time 30th