By Gilly Carr
Clifford Bond Querée was born on 27 September 1906 in St Helier, Jersey. His name is known to us as one of the Jersey 21 whose name is inscribed on the Lighthouse Memorial in St Helier as one of those who did not return from deportation.
Querée married Marjorie Bertha Gould in 1928, but by the time of the occupation he was a widower and lived with his 11 year old daughter Dorothy. He originally worked as a storeman but at the time he comes to our attention in 1943, he was working as a labourer.
On 23 June 1943, Querée was sentenced by the court of the Field Command 515 to two years’ imprisonment for ‘continual receiving of stolen articles’, an act described later by his brother Reginald as ‘buying German bread that, unknown to him, had been stolen’. He was sentenced with George Fox who, co-incidentally or not, received the same sentence for ‘continual larceny’, perhaps indicating that the two men worked together, although this hypothesis is unproven. Both men were deported on 13 July 1943.
George Fox and Clifford Querée arrived at Fort d’Hautville Prison, Dijon, on 19 July 1943. This was not their first prison; indeed, Querée’s prison register entry indicates that he (and therefore Fox) was first in Saint-Lô Prison. They were possibly processed through Dijon Prison upon entering and leaving Hauteville as well.
On 19 December 1943 Fox and Querée were transferred by the Feldgendarmerie to Saarbrücken Prison. After spending their first Christmas in captivity, on 5 January 1944 the two men were placed on a transport from Saarbrücken with four other Channel Islanders: Walter Lainé, Percy Miller, Frederick Page, and Joseph Tierney. Two days later, on 7 January 1944, they arrived at Frankfurt am Main-Preungesheim Prison.
At Frankfurt, Islanders were able to communicate with each other when taking their daily 15-minute exercise in the prison yard. ‘If we could not slyly whisper a few words to each other, we exchanged V – or thumbs up – signs’, as fellow prisoner and Guernseyman Frank Falla wrote in his newspaper article to the Jersey Evening Post after his repatriation to the UK in July 1945.
Clifford Querée was transferred to Naumburg Prison on 3 July 1944 – his first period of separation in more than a year from George Fox, who had been taken to Naumburg three weeks later on 24 July. On the journey to Naumburg, Frank Falla later wrote that there was a little ‘Channel Islander get-together’, which must have been of great comfort to the men.
Quite how much contact Querée had with other Islanders at Naumburg is unknown, but Frank Falla stated, in a newspaper article of July 1945, that by September 1944 there were a total of 11 Islanders in separated sections of Naumburg prison, and that ‘any contact was extremely hazardous to life and limb.’
Of the 11 Channel Islands prisoners at Naumburg only six survived. As each man died, Falla repeated his request to the prison governor that at least two of them be allowed to attend the funeral of their dead comrades but this was refused. George Fox died on 11 March 1945 at Naumburg Prison and he was buried in the town’s cemetery; he was joined there by Querée two months later, on 1 May 1945. Querée, ten years younger, had survived his friend by a very short period, and quite possibly lost the strength to fight after his friend died.
Querée had actually lived to see his liberation on 13 April, when the Americans arrived at the prison. Frank Falla took them to Querée’s cell where he was ‘obviously equally excited at the sight of the American soldier and his eyes lit up [but] his reactions were much slower than ours, for he was in even worse condition and could barely lift his head from his bed.’ He was taken first to the prison officers’ quarters, and later to hospital, where he was examined by an American doctor, who ‘passed no indiscreet opinion on him except to say that it was a miracle he was still alive. Their reticence was too eloquent for words and within a fortnight, despite a desperate fight, he died after two years’ imprisonment.’ Querée’s cause of death was severe pneumonia and serious anaemia. In a letter written on 13 April 1965, Frank Falla confided to the Foreign Office that Querée’s body ‘lay in the hospital from 1 May to the 11th and he was only buried after I had ‘nagged’ the Germans about not having done this.’ He was eventually taken away by the undertakers on this date.
Soon after the war, and at least by 1949, the bodies of both men were exhumed and reburied in neighbouring graves in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, also known as the Britischer Soldatenfriedhof, in Heerstrasse, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin.
In 1965, Clifford Querée’s brother Reginald applied for compensation for the loss of Clifford, providing a testimony written by Frank Falla. In Reginald’s letter of application, we learn that he took in his niece, Dorothy, after Clifford’s deportation. She subsequently died of tuberculosis. Reginald was successful in claiming compensation for Clifford’s death.
The author is indebted to Michael Viebig of the Gedenkstätte Roter Ochse Halle (Saale) for providing information on Clifford Bond Querée and other Channel Islanders. The author would also like to thank Ina Herge of the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv for giving permission for Clifford Bond Querée’s records from Frankfurt am Main-Preungesheim Prison to be shown here.
Archives départementales de la Côte-d’Or: 1409 W 1-13, Régistre d’écrou Prison d’Hauteville.
Compensation claim for Nazi Persecution, Clifford Bond Querée, The National Archives ref. FO 950/2236.
Clifford Bond Querée, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/4/A9876 and B9876.
Clifford Bond Querée, court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/6/86.
Letter from Frank Falla to the Foreign Office, 13 April 1965, The National Archives ref. FO 950/765.
Records for Clifford Bond Querée, copyright International Tracing Service documents, Wiener Library ref. 33113845, 11555557, 98385837, 11298273/0/1.
Falla, F. 1967. The Silent War. Leslie Frewin.
Falla, F. 1945. ‘Channel Islanders in Nazi Camp’, Jersey Evening Post, 4 July 1945.
Falla, F. 1945. ‘Revelations of Prison Life in Germany’, Guernsey Weekly Press and Advertiser, 11 July 1945.
Sanders, P. 2004. The Ultimate Sacrifice. Jersey: Jersey Heritage.