Prison without Bars: Living in Jersey under the Occupation 1940-45
Frank Keiller was 13 and living in Jersey when the Germans occupied the Channel Islands in 1940. During the ensuing five years he shared the various hardships common to his fellow islanders. Moreover, he and his friends felt a particular sense of frustration at being forced to grow to maturity in what they felt was a ‘prison without bars’.
Such strong feelings led him to various encounters with the enemy – he punched a German soldier in the face when, in 1942 and on Hitler’s orders, ‘English’ residents were deported. After D-Day, he attempted with others to reach the French mainland but failed after their highly unsuitable craft sank beneath them. He was court-martialled twice but on both occasions avoided the death penalty. During his imprisonment he escaped and spent the rest of the Occupation on the run in Jersey.
Frank Keiller recounts not only his own experiences of life in Jersey during those five long years but draws on many others’ records. What emerges is a story of an island people and their attempts to survive a time of their lives marked with fear and oppression.
by Frank Keiller
Seaflower Books c/o The Guernsey Press Shop