5th March 1942

Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested

Guernsey is probably the only state in the world that can claim its entire police force was arrested in one day.

It happened half way through the occupation when, on 5 March 1942, two officers were caught stealing from German stores. They were taken to the German Police Headquarters for questioning. Soon after, all of their colleagues – without exception – were rounded up and put under arrest.

Most were released later the same day, but not necessarily because they had nothing to hide. The Germans continued their investigations and several faced trial. Some were even tried twice: once for stealing from German supplies, and then a second time for stealing civilian stocks.

Several were convicted of one or both crimes and imprisoned in either France of Germany.

Contemporary account

Albert Lamy, who was Chief Officer of Guernsey Police from 1942 until 1965, later wrote about the problems this caused (link is a PDF).

You can well imagine how we, who had to make the enquiry into this matter, felt. On the one hand the whole Force had been badly let down, but on the other hand we had all been pals for so long, and this did not make a distasteful task any easier. However they were sentenced to terms of imprisonment to run concurrently with their German sentences, and the majority of them served these sentences either in France or Germany. One member was so badly knocked about in Germany that he died from his injuries. We were then left with a very depleted Force. The whole of the civilian population had little room for us, and we then had to pick up from scratch.

Four months later, the issue arose again. The new Chief of Police was arrested for handling some of the stolen goods. At that point, Lamy himself was appointed to the role that he would retain for the next 23 years. He died in 1975.

 

FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.

 

Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st