25th February 1943
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne
Marie Ozanne was born on Guernsey in 1906 and trained for the Salvation Army in London in 1923. She served in France and Belgium immediately before the start of the Second World War, and returned to Guernsey in 1940. Just a few months later, the German army invaded.
Marie didn’t evacuate, despite the fact that Germany had banned the Salvation Army. She stayed on the island and preached in St Peter Port, as she believed was her calling, and spoke out against the way the Germans treated both locals and the shipped-in labourers.
She did all this while leading meetings and looking after two children, teaching music and learning German.
The occupying force confiscated her uniform, but this wasn’t enough to stop her. Ozanne redoubled her efforts, writing to the authorities to protest their behaviour. Her first letter argued against the closing down of the Salvation Army Halls, while later ones protested the German treatment of Jews.
In her diaries of 1942 and 1943, which the Island Archives acquired in 2017, she asked “Guernsey is beautiful [so] why do much war, darkness and hatred?”
Eventually, the Occupying powers had had enough. On 5 September 1942, they arrested her in the hope of shutting her up.
They were only half successful. Although imprisoned in a Guernsey policeman’s house, she kept up her campaign, despite falling ill.
Illness and death
This illness was perhaps more serious that anyone realised. Marie Ozanne died of peritonitis, an inflammation of the intestine’s fibrous membrane on 25 February 1943. She had died at home, aged 37.
Guernsey Bailiff Richard Collas unveiled a blue plaque in her honour at her former home in the Vale, close to St Sampson, on 23 February 2013. She was the first woman and first non-artist awarded a plaque on Guernsey.
She had already been posthumously awarded the Order of the Founder, the Salvation Army’s highest honour, in 1947.
What else happened in Guernsey in February?
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