By Gilly Carr
Henry or ‘Harry’ Featherstone was born in Hambrook, a village in Gloucestershire, in England, on 12 August 1887. We do not know much about his early life but his grand-daughter believes that he was a corporal in the First World War. At the time that he comes to our attention, he was married to Annie Featherstone née Baker, and living at 4 Meadow View, Sandybrook, in the Parish of St Peter in Jersey with his son, Jack (born 14 October 1923). He had two other children, Annie (born 1913) and Harry (born 1915), but they were not living with their parents. Harry Featherstone worked as a gardener in Jersey. We do not know when or why he came to the island.
On 14 May 1942, he was sentenced by the court of Feldkommandantur to one year and six months’ imprisonment for ‘larceny and insults to the German forces’. On 1 June 1942 he was deported, along with fellow Channel Islanders Sidney Ashcroft and Philip Ozard.
In order to find out what happened next to Featherstone, we must turn to the French prison records. These show that he was sent first to Caen Prison. On 16 July 1942 he was moved to Troyes Hauts-Clos Prison, where he stayed until 8 August 1942. On this date he moved to Clairvaux Prison, which he left on 31 August 1943. His next destination was Châlons-sur-Marne Prison.
We do not know how long Featherstone was in Châlons sur Marne Prison, but his sentence was due to expire on 13 November 1943. This probably marked the date of his next move. However, in a decree dated 26 June 1943, as from 13 August 1943 Featherstone’s sentence was deferred until the end of hostilities. Whether this decree was obeyed, we do not know.
Thanks to the Biberach Civilian Internment Camp register, we can see that Harry Featherstone arrived in Biberach from St Denis Internment Camp on 17 March 1944. The transfer was no doubt made possible because Annie and Jack Featherstone were deported to Biberach on 29 September 1942. No doubt Harry was able to correspond with his family so that they knew where he was and were able to pull the necessary strings to get him transferred to be with them in Germany.
While at first glance it is very unusual to see the families of convicted offenders being deported in September 1942 rather than February 1943, we might note that the criteria for men over 16 being deported with their dependents in September 1942 was for being born outside the Channel Islands. Jack Featherstone was born in North Wales and was 18 at the time of his deportation. As he was working as a labourer and living with his mother, whose occupation was listed as a housewife, she would have been financially dependent on the money he could bring in. Even had Harry Featherstone stayed in Jersey, he would also have been deported with his family. Either way, he was not destined to spend the war unmolested in Jersey.
Harry died on 27 March 1958 in Winchester, aged 71, and is buried in the Magdalen Hill Cemetery in that city, indicating that his family did not stay in Jersey.
Harry Featherstone, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. St/P/2/577-9.
Harry Featherstone’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/3/68.
Harry Featherstone’s entry in the logbook for Jersey Political Prisoners, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
Harry Feathertone’s records, Archives Départementales de l’Aube, Troyes, France, ref. 1039W-14, 1039W-15, 1360W-332.