5th June 1939
First arrests were made at Guernsey Airport
Guernsey Airport had been open for just a month when police made two arrests on the site.
On 5 June 1939, Ronald Jack Nyburg and Philip Maynard appeared in court after being apprehended trying to board the 11am plane to Heston. Heston Aerodrome was then the main London airport, not far from where Heathrow now sits. It was from there that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had flown to Germany the year before for talks with Hitler. It was also there that he’d held up his fateful piece of paper guaranteeing “peace for our time”.
A list of stolen objects
Nyburg, a 20-year-old barman, and Maynard, a writer, were charged with theft and, according to the Bristol Evening Post, of “being found on enclosed premises at the Hotel Houmet du Nord, Guernsey on June 4 with an illegal object”. It wasn’t made clear what the illegal object was.
However, the paper did list what they were supposed to have stolen, which included “a steel cabinet, cards, cash books, cheques, two cash boxes, and £45 2s 9d”. The total haul was worth £53, which today would equate to around £3360.
Nyburg pleaded guilty to stealing three bottles of wine worth £1 (£63 today). Both men were remanded in custody.
Another Ronald Nyburg?
It’s possible that the 20-year-old Ronald Jack Nyburg who was arrested at Guernsey in 1939 could be the same person as 19-year-old Ronald John Nyburg who had been arrested the previous year in Hendon? Hendon is 12 miles from Heston, the London airport to which Nyburg and Maynard were trying to fly.
He had pleaded guilty to breaking into a house in Finchley, where he had stolen a suitcase. He also admitted breaking into a second property in Golders Green and stealing money and an electric razor. This Nyburg, like the one arrested in Guernsey, pleaded guilty.
The matter was reported in the Hendon and Finchley Times:
The Deputy Chairman… said he hoped Nyburg realised that what he had done was very wrong. Nyburg replied that he did, and promised to go straight in the future. The Deputy Chairman then bound him over but warned him that if he failed to keep his promise to go straight he would be severely punished.