21st September 1941

Occupation resister Winifred Green was deported

Many people win medals for bravery during wartime. Sadly, Winifred Green was not one of them, although she probably should have done.

With her children, John and Patricia, evacuated to Glasgow, Winifred took at job at the Royal Hotel in St Peter Port. She had started there just before the occupation and couldn’t have known that doing so would put her directly up against the Germans.

When the first troops landed at Guernsey Airport they were taken to the hotel to meet the Bailiff. Once the occupation began in earnest, they made the hotel their initial base of operations.

Winifred’s retort

One of Winifred’s colleagues was an ardent supporter of Hitler. He would often greet her, or finish a conversation, with Heil Hitler. Not willing to put up with it, Winifred would reply with Heil Churchill – a phrase that later became her nickname.

She might have been able to carry on doing this right through the war if it hadn’t been for an outburst over a rice pudding. When her colleague offered her some, only on the condition that she – Winifred – said Heil Hitler, Winifred told him to stuff it: “To hell with Hitler for a rice pudding”.

German solders arrested her a few days later and tried her for “anti-German information”. She admitted what she’d said and was sentenced, on 13 September 1941, to six months’ custody. She had not been allowed a defence representative at the trial.

After a week or two (accounts vary) in Guernsey prison, she was sent to Granville prison, and then moved to Caen Prison.

Indomitable spirit

Although there are accounts of her finding prison life difficult, incarceration seems not to have dulled Winifred’s spirit. She tore away part of her prison blanket and embroidered it “Heil Churchill; RAF; Caen Prison 1941”. When she was released, she sewed this into the lining of her coat and smuggled it back to Guernsey.

A story in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle of 15 May 1945 claims that the chef who is suspected of reporting her was Swiss. He was apparently later caught stealing by the Germans and sentenced to three and a half years in Mannheim prison.

 

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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