Escape from Jersey 27th August 1940
André Courval, Henri Letourneur and Clément Milet were three Free France fighters, all from Carteret. They listened to the June 18 appeal launched by General de Gaulle and decided to go to England to enlist in London with the Free French Forces there.
They contacted a local French fisherman, Emile Valmy, who agreed to take them to Jersey on the night of 25th June.
On the 26th of June, the three men were met by Advocate Phillip Richardson (below), who advised no more boats were leaving for England, and he offered refuge at La Ferme, St. Martin.
On the 1st of July 1940 the German invasion of Jersey started. The three men hid on the farm, then later moved to the farm of Mr Doublard (below), who also assisted their escape and arranged for the loan of cycles from a friend.
By August, they found a 5m motorboat in the Harbour of Rozel, which was very close to the farm they were sheltering in. The boat had issues and required repair and parts. Mr Richardson and Mr Doublards, at great risk, arranged for the parts to be smuggled up to the farm.
Exactly two months after their escape from France, on the night of 26th August, the three quietly took all their kit and equipment to the boat. They managed to get it started, but German searchlight positions at Rozel Fort started to sweep the sea, looking for the noise. Thankfully an RAF raid caused them to divert their attention from the sea.
36 hours after their departure from Jersey, they reached Dartmouth harbour, which they entered having previously decorated their mast with the Union Jack and the French flag.
All three men joined the Free French Forces; Clemont and Andre became flight mechanics in two Free French Bomber Squadrons and saw considerable action both overseas and in the UK. Henri joined the Navy and took part in numerous Atlantic and Russian convoy patrols. All three men survived the war
André Courval, Henri Letourneur and Clément Milet
All three were interviewed by British intelligence in August 1940 and below is from that report:
1 There are about 1,000 German troops in Jersey
2 Parachute troops, recognisable by their badges, are very prominent
3 Morale of German soldiers not very high. They are unenthusiastic and listless
4 The day following the aerial battles in which 140 German planes were destroyed, six German pilot officers committed suicide rather than take the air
5 Civilians as a whole well treated by the Germans, who are trying hard to make friends with them – with little success
6 Two-thirds of all foodstuffs requisitioned and sent to France
7 Aerodrome of St Pierre extensively used by German bombers, fighters and troop carriers. The planes are parked in wheat fields surrounding the aerodrome and the wheat is used for camouflaging them. Planes to and from France never rise more than about 100ft above the water.
8 Very few restrictions on activities of civilians; they may listen to the BBC news in English or French. There is a curfew at 2300 hrs
9 A group of ex-servicemen on the island is planning to blow up the aerodrome
10 The golf course at Grouville Bay is being used as a landing ground for fighter craft
Sources of Information
Jersey Heritage click the link above and subscribe as a member!
German Documents are housed at The National Archived in Washington or Archive in Kew UK.
T-311 Roll 27 B-833, 319th Infantry Division (1941-45)
T-77 Roll 1428 Operations Reports 1942-1945
T-78 Roll 317
T-78 Roll 318
T-311 Roll 16
T-312 R-504 AOK 15
T-312 R-1547 AOK 7
T-312 R-1548 AOK 7
T-312 R-1549 AOK 7
T-312 R-1553 AOK 7
T-312 R-1558 AOK 7
T-312 R-1559 AOK 7
T-312 R-1563 AOK 7
T-312 R-1564 AOK 7
T-312 R-1565 AOK 7
T-312 R-1566 AOK 7
T-312 R-1569 AOK 7
T-312 R-1570 AOK 7
T-312 R-1571 AOK 7
T-312 Roll 1558
T-312 Roll 1559
T-315 Roll 1639
T-315 Roll 1643
T-1022 Roll 2423
T-311 R-25 HG D
T-311 Roll 27
Operation Green Arrow - Occupation of the Channel Islands MOD 584
Allied Technical Intelligence Reports 1944-45
German Preparations for Invasion of the United Kingdom 1941-42
B-833, 319th Infantry Division (1941-45)
German Seacoast Defenses, European Theatre - prepared by the Seacoast Artillery Evaluation Board
Jersey Occupied by Michael Ginns - ISBN 978-1-905095-29-2
Operation Nestegg Plans
Operation Hardtack Plans
Operation Basalt Plans
RAF Photos care of The National Collection of Aerial Photography
Bundesarchiv - Multiple Photos - and Files
A Map of slave labour camps. Kindly Provided by Emilio Pérez
Photo's and information provided by members
Onsite visits & internet research
After the Battle Multiple Magazines
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