By Gilly Carr
Arthur James Laffoley was born in the parish of St Martin, Jersey, on 6 April 1897. At the time of the registration of Islanders in January 1941, Laffoley was working as a gardener and was married to Lizzie Laffoley née Wood. The couple had nine children (Margaret, Roger, Hector, Ruth, Beatrice, Eileen, Esther and Edward, and another older child who was unnamed).
Although we don’t know much about his pre-war life, his Occupation registration form tells us that he was in the army during the First World War and was demobilised in March 1919.
Laffoley comes to our attention because, on 22 May 1942, he was tried by the Court of the Field Command and sentenced to ‘3000 RM or 300 days’ imprisonment for drawing and issuing foodstuffs without ration cards, coupons or permits’. With so many mouths to feed, it is unsurprising that the Laffoley family was short of food. Laffoley explained to the court that he was not in a position to either pay the fine or be imprisoned for that length of time.
After being contacted by the German court, the Attorney General, Duret Aubin, contacted the Constable of St Brelade, W. Benest, to find out more about Laffoley’s domestic and financial arrangements. Benest wrote back to say that Laffoley was correct and that he and his wife were supporting nine children, but that ‘the family is not of particularly good repute but has never given trouble to the police’. This assessment of Laffoley’s character was unnecessary, and the Attorney General did not pass it on to the Germans.
None the less, on 14 Jun 1942 Laffoley (along with Gordon Green, Paul Gourdan and Patrick Quinn) was deported from Jersey to France. On 15 June he arrived in Caen Prison. On 15 July 1942 he was transferred to Fort d’Hautville Prison in Dijon, where he arrived the following day. On 18 December 1942, according to the prison records, he was given his liberty.
Laffoley returned to Jersey. We know this because, on 30 August 1943, by now working as a harbour worker and living at Winton Villas, 5 Gloucester Street, Laffoley was given a three month sentence for larceny. This sentence was to be served from 10 September to 9 December 1943 in Jersey Prison. This was carried out although he was given a week’s leave at some point and eventually let out on 16 December 1943.
We can only imagine the financial hardship suffered by the Laffoley family as a result of Arthur’s attempts to find a way to feed them all, and his absence from the family home while he served his prison sentence.
The Frank Falla Archive would like to invite the family of Arthur Laffoley to get in touch if they have more information about him to share.
Arthur Laffoley’s occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/6/1395.
Arthur Laffoley’s registration form, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/6/1397.
Arthur Laffoley’s court charge sheets, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/3/60.
Arthur Laffoley’s court charge sheets, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/6/132.
Arthur Laffoley’s entry in Jersey’s political prisoner log book. Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
Arthur Laffoley’s Caen Prison records, copyright Calvados Archives ref. 1664 w 34.
Arthur Laffoley’s Fort d’Hautville Prison records, Archives Departementales de Côte d’Or, ref. 1409W.