By Gilly Carr
George John Frederick Morcel was born in St Helier, Jersey, on 21 March 1907. At the time that he comes to our attention, he was married to Gladys Morcel née Le Moine; they lived in Union Street, St Helier, with their daughter Barbara (born in 1927). Morcel was working as a fireman (and later as a stoker) and Gladys was a housewife.
On 30 September 1943 Morcel was sentenced by the Court of Feldkommandantur 515 to ten months’ imprisonment for ‘failing to surrender a wireless receiving set and for prohibited reception of wireless programmes in company with others.’ He was deported to France on 23 October 1943.
Our knowledge of what happened to him next can be pieced together from French prison records. He was sent first to Saint-Lô Prison for a week. On 1 November 1943 he arrived at Troyes Hauts-Clos Prison. He stayed there until 15 March 1944, whereupon he was transferred to Fort de Villeneuve-Saint-Georges Prison. We know from others in this prison at this time that he would have been involved in forced labour, specifically, digging up unexploded bombs.
Although Morcel’s sentence was due to end on 9 July 1944, his Villenueve records state that he was transferred to the infamous Fresnes Prison on 12 July 1944. Within a month, however, Morcel could breathe a sigh of relief: he was transferred, along with another Channel Islander, William Windebank, to Saint-Denis Internment Camp. To what did he owe this merciful action? His prison records state that he had a deformed ankle; this would have meant that he was perhaps not useful as a forced labourer within Germany. At any rate, he and Windebank arrived at Saint-Denis on 11 August 1944. Within a fortnight, the Americans arrived in Paris. Morcel would have been liberated soon after and repatriated to England.
George Morcel, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/6/59888-91.
George Morcel’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/6/152.
George Morcel’s entry in the logbook for Jersey Political Prisoners, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
George Morcel’s prison records at Fort de Villeneuve Saint-Georges Prison, Val de Marne Archives, ref. 500W/3 and 500W/9.
George Morcel’s prison records at Troyes Prison, Archives Départementales de l’Aube, Troyes, ref. 1039W-16
George Morcel’s St Denis arrival note, French National Archives ref. /F/7/15150.