On this day in 1968…
Occupation president Ambrose Sherwill dies

Ambrose Sherwill was Bailiff of Guernsey between 1946 and 1960. He was also the first president of the island’s Controlling Committee during the Occupation.

Sherwill was born on Guernsey on 12 February 1890 and educated at Elizabeth College in St Peter Port. During the First World War he served with the Royal Naval Air Service and was wounded in action three times. His most notable action was at the Battle of Messines in Flanders, Belgium. This was an offensive that forced the Germans to dedicate resources to the area around Flanders. In doing so, the Germans would have fewer resources with which to defend Ypres, giving the Allies a better chance of mounting a campaign from there to capture the land as far as the Belgian coast. His services won him the Military Cross.

Inter-war years

He passed his exams for the English Bar after the end of the war, and was admitted to the Guernsey Royal Court as an Advocate in the early 1920s. All the while, he remained active in the Royal Guernsey Militia until 1928.

He was elected a Deputy to the States of Guernsey for five years from 1921. In 1935 he was appointed His Majesty’s Attorney General.

Controlling Committee presidency

Sherwill was the short-lived first president of the Controlling Committee. This was the group of islanders who were charged with running Guernsey and liaising with the German forces during the occupation. However, he was dismissed when the authorities discovered that he had been aware of the presence of Hubert Nicolle on the island, who was gathering information in advance of the Allies’ Operation Ambassador.

He was imprisoned on the European mainland for the assistance he’d given to Nicolle and Symes when they became stranded on Guernsey during a second raid. When he returned, he did so as a regular citizen, no longer a member of the Controlling Committee.

As he no longer had any political role on the island, he couldn’t avoid being sent to an internment camp in Germany in February 1943 along with other former forces members and islanders born outside of the Channel Islands.

Post-war life

Following the Second World War, he was awarded an OBE in 1945, and knighted four years later. He served as Bailiff between 1946 and 1959 and, the following year, retired to Alderney.

He died of heart failure aged 78.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged , , ,

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