By Gilly Carr
George Gallichan was born in the parish of Trinity, Jersey, on 6 January 1910. He was the older brother of Herbert Gallichan. At the time of the registration of islanders in January 1941, Gallichan was married to Agnes Gallichan née Smith, working as a clerk, and living at Langley Stores in the parish of St Saviour. No children are registered as living with the couple.
On 3 June 1942, the Germans ordered the confiscation of all radios in the Channel Islands. This angered very many people. A pamphlet was distributed by Herbert and George Gallichan, calling themselves ‘The British Patriots’, who distributed their Bulletin no. 1 in Jersey on 15 June 1942. This bulletin stated that:
‘Article 53 of the Hague Convention quite definitely does not give the German authorities the right to confiscate cycles, wireless sets or any other form of private property. Since the occupation of the island, we have done all in our power to maintain peaceful relations to the enemy, so much so that the occupying authorities cannot point to one single hostile act of the population towards the forces of occupation. We have, in fact, carried pacification to the point of seriously compromising our hour. It follows therefore that the German authorities have neither legal nor moral rights to confiscate wireless sets, yet this they intend doing. For our part, we refuse to comply with the confiscation order. It is for you to decide in the light of this brief impartial expose, what your own attitude is to be. But whatever your decision, be careful to give the German authorities no cause for offence in your dealings with them; under all circumstances, be coldly polite, be tactful, be discreet, Thus you will give them no justification to take reprisals against you or the remainder of the population.’
On 20 July, the Germans took ten hostages, urging the culprits who had written the leaflets to surrender to the German authorities. Local historian Joe Mière named the hostages as Frank Tregear, Tony Huelin, George Le Cocq, Philip Le Cornu, W.H. Kennett, Harry Ferguson, Advocate Giffard, Doctor Mattas, Colonel Welbourne and Henry Vallois. He stated that two more men were then taken hostage: Connétable Crill and Arthur Verrin and, on 24 June, three further men: George Smith, Frank Smith and Alfred Marrett. He names George Smith as the man who knew that George Gallichan and his brother Herbert were behind the bulletin. He also states that George Smith was let out of prison on 25 June 1942. He hints that it was George Smith who told the Gallichan brothers that ‘if they did not give themselves up then many innocent people would suffer’ and that ‘they must give themselves up to the Germans within 24 hours or he would have to disclose who they were.’ We might observe that the maiden name of George Gallichan’s wife, Agnes, was Smith. Was George Smith her brother and was this how he knew of the bulletin and of the danger that his sister may have been placed in?
Herbert and George Gallichan then came forward. Miere states that a ‘Mr Collins’ and James McDermott were also arrested for distributing the leaflets, but no conviction can be found for either of these men, indicating that they may have been released without charge.
On 7 July 1942, George Gallichan was sentenced by court martial to one year’s imprisonment for ‘distributing leaflets’. As his name does not appear in Jersey’s political prisoner log book, it seems likely that he and Herbert were deported immediately.
The next we hear of Gallichan is Fort d’Hautville Prison in Dijon, where he arrived on 22 July 1942. According to his prison documents, he was given his liberty on 22 March 1943, despite the end of his sentence scheduled as 6 July 1943. An archival record in Jersey dated 5 February 1943 states that Gallichan’s sentence ‘has been deferred as from 10 March 1943’. However, a document in the Paris archives indicates that Gallichan was also in Coutances Prison. Although the document states that this was the case as of 23 January 1943, we know that he was in Dijon at this time. Given the geographical location of Coutances, it therefore seems likely that he was there in the period between his deportation and his arrival in Dijon.
George Gallichan had the good fortune to be sent back to Jersey. His Occupation registration card notes his address, on 5 April 1943, as being ‘Langley Stores, St Saviour’, as it was before he was deported, indicating that he was home by and on that date.
George and Agnes Gallichan were not left unmolested in their homes in Jersey. While the deportation records of February 1943 (which targeted, among other groups, those previously convicted of offences against the Germans) do not list their names – indeed, it seems that George was still in Dijon at that date – they were sent to Compiegne Transit and Internment Camp followed by Biberach Civilian Internment Camp very soon after George’s return, and quite possibly after the departure of other Islanders from Jersey. A copy of the camp register indicates that George was given internee number 14666, and Agnes, no. 14667. Biberach was liberated by the Free French Army on 23 April 1945 – St George’s Day.
George Gallichan returned to Jersey safely after the war and, according to Joe Mière, died in the 1980s.
Biberach Camp Register, Société Jersiaise ref. *OCC 942 BIB.
George Gallichan, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. St.S/5/564, 565, 566.
George Gallichan’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/3/85.
George Gallichan’s records at Fort d’Hauteville Prison, Archives Départementales Côte d’Or, ref. 1409 W.
Text of Bulletin of British Patriots on display at Jersey War Tunnels.
Harris, R. 1979. Islanders Deported. Part I. Channel Islands Specialists Society Publishing: Ilford, Essex.
Mière, J. 2004. Never to be Forgotten, Channel Islands Publishing.
Sanders, P. 2015. ‘Radio Days’, pp. 65-96 in G. Carr, P. Sanders and L. Willmot, Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation 1940-1945. Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.