By Gilly Carr
Gordon Montague Green was born in St Helier and lived at 5 Cliff Cottages on Westmount Road in St Helier. We know only a little about his life before the Occupation, namely, that he served for 19 months in the Royal Jersey Militia in 1930-31.
At the start of the Occupation he was unmarried and worked as a labourer. He comes to our attention because, on 20 May 1942, he was taken to Jersey prison. On 28 May 1942, he was sentenced by court martial to one year and ten months’ imprisonment with hard labour for ‘serious larceny’. He was convicted at the same time as Paul Gourdan and Patrick Quinn. The three men, and Richard Riches (also convicted on 28 May 1942), were all deported on 14 June 1942. It seems very likely that their first destination was Caen Prison.
Gordon Green next appears (like Paul Gourdan and Patrick Quinn) in the records of Fort de Villeneuve-Saint-Georges Prison, on the outskirts of Paris, on 16 July 1942. His prison number was 3227. His prison record shows that he was transferred to the hospital at Fresnes Prison on 30 April 1943, but we do not know how long he was kept there.
Green was due to be kept at Villeneuve until 1 April 1944, which is when his sentence was due to expire. His prison notes for Villeneuve show that, instead, on 28 April 1944, he was handed over to the secret police.
To discover what happened to him next, we must turn to the testimony inside his compensation claim for Nazi persecution. Although his handwriting is difficult to read, he says the following:
‘I was sent to prison in May 21, 1942 for robbery from the Germans in Jersey for 22 months prison. I was taken to France to serve my time in Prison Fresnes Paris and Saint Denis Camp where I was only given to eat for breakfast 20g bread cup coffee.
Midday crumbs to last the day.
I went myself from 10 stone to 7 stone also had a very big operation in Prison Fresnes on my left foot through damage caused by the Germans while in Prison.
I have been under doctors in Jersey ever since and return[ed] to Jersey in 1945. I am not fit to do hard work owing to my health.
I married and when I cannot work at times I only get £5 weekly to keep my family.
Any report to you wood [sic] like to have you may get from Prison Fresnes Paris, France, also from the Royal Court, St Helier, Jersey.’
Green was lucky; the secret police took him to Saint-Denis Internment Camp, which was a great deal more comfortable than any prison.
Gordon Green was turned down for compensation; indeed, all but one Islander imprisoned only in France was similarly rejected. Green wrote to the Foreign Office to complain, having read in the newspaper that Paul Gourdan got compensation. He wrote that he was proud for what he had done against the Germans. It made no difference to the result.
Gordon Green, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. St.H/5/4789, 4790, 4791.
Gordon Green’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/3/71.
Gordon Green’s entry in the logbook for Jersey Political Prisoners, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
Record of Gordon Green, Fort de Villeneuve Saint Georges Prison, Archives Val de Marne, ref. 500W 3, 500W 8, 2742W 102.