GUERNSEY HISTORY 

15th November 1983
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died

John le Mesurier found fame as Sergeant Wilson in the long-running BBC comedy series, Dad’s Army.

Although he wasn’t born on Guernsey, he had links to the island – and a Guernsey surname, even though it wasn’t the name he was born to.

John Elton Le Mesurier Halliley was born in Bedford in 1912 to Amy Michelle Halliley. Amy had been born on Guernsey and was the descendant of the last hereditary governor of Alderney. Her maiden name had been Le Mesurier and her marriage might have spelled the end of the name in that particular branch of the family were it not for her husband’s apparent dislike of the acting profession.

A change of name

After leaving school and some time spent working in his father’s office, John le Mesurier enrolled in an acting school. He quickly found success under the name John Halliley, but in September 1937, after several seasons in the theatre, he adopted his mother’s maiden name, le Mesurier.

His biographer wrote that he hadn’t explained why he had done this, but The Rough Index to the Le Mesurier/Le Messurier Family by the Guernsey Society (PDF) states that his father “would not countenance a mere actor bearing his name. As a result John had to use Le Mesurier as a stage name.”

Thus, the le Mesurier name reappeared.

In a wonderfully self-deprecating interview given to Channel Television in 1978, he talked about his Alderney connections but explained that he had never lived in Guernsey, despite claims having been written to the contrary in the years since.

He died on 15 November 1983 of cirrhosis of the liver. He had been known to be a heavy drinker through much of his life.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged ,

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

What else happened in Guernsey in November?

Guernsey history newsletter

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

* indicates required

The Sarnian

The Sarnian Book 1: Dead in the Water

A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!

Check out the first book in The Sarnian series, set on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

Click here to get your copy today…

December in Guernsey through the years…

Guernsey's comms links are severed

18th December 1979

Castle Cornet surrenders in Civil War

17th December 1651

Alderney's evacuees return after occupation

15th December 1945

Herm bribery case came to court

14th December 1918

Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon

12th December 1851

Sarnian secrets

Sign up to The Sarnian's occasional newsletter for updates on your favourite characters and locations, to go behind the scenes on the writing process, and for early-bird discounts on every new book. We promise not to share your details with anyone else, and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you choose.
* indicates required

Search the archiveWarning