GUERNSEY HISTORY 

18th November 1940
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios

When the war started to turn against Germany, the decision was made – in 1942 – to confiscate all of the private radios on Guernsey. However, this wasn’t the first time that the wireless sets had been taken. Two years earlier, in November 1940, they had been taken for the first time after Hubert Nicolle had become stranded on the island gathering information.

The significance of confiscating the radios apparently wasn’t lost on those whose sets were taken away. Ruth Ozanne kept comprehensive diaries throughout the occupation. In Life in Occupied Guernsey, edited by William Parker, she writes,

Alas! My wireless was taken away this morning leaving a horrible blank. Anyhow we know how well the Greeks are doing and how they are threatening Coritza. We have also heard of the great British victory by the navy Air Arm over the Italian fleet at Taranto. So we feel very cheerful. Sir Philip Joubert, too, was most heartening in his last talk. We think it is a healthy sign that we are not allowed our wireless as the Germans cannot afford to let their men hear the truth as so many of them have been listening to the British news.

By the 21st she was “missing our wireless horribly”. On the 23rd, “all sorts of rumours are about now that we have no wireless”. The most serious of these, perhaps, was the one that England itself was saying that victory was “uncertain”.

The truth will out

If the Germans wanted to control the flow of information through the confiscation, it certainly looked like they’d succeeded – at least in the early days.

However, the problem for the German authorities wasn’t so much the locals listening to the news, but their own men. Ozanne noted that the troops were dissatisfied by what they were hearing, which she looked upon as some form of recompense for the loss of the radios.

The problem, of course, was that without hearing the stories from a reliable authority like the BBC, there was no way of knowing whether the tidbits that were passed around from person to person were true.

Of course, this was rectified later in the occupation with the establishment of GUNS, the Guernsey Underground News Sheet, which contained summaries of the BBC news that had been gathered via an illicit radio. Unfortunately, the team behind the news-sheet was betrayed, arrested and deported to prisons in mainland Europe.

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