By Gilly Carr
Henri Docithe Jean Le Gastelois was born in the parish of St Martin, Jersey, on 24 February 1918. At the time of the registration of Islanders in January 1941, Le Gastelois was working as a painter and was unmarried.
Le Gastelois comes to our attention because, on 29 July 1941, he was tried by the Court of the Field Command and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for ‘being in possession of arms (blasting materials)’. Notes on his court records state that ‘English police had found blasting materials in this man’s possession; a tin box containing these materials was handed over to this Court. This tin also contained 6 thin damaged bracelets (possibly rolled gold), which have no bearing upon the present case. I therefore forward these bracelets to you for your investigation and disposal.’
We do not know how the local police came to be searching Le Gastelois, or what (if anything) motivated this search or handing over to the German authorities. Fortunately for Le Gastelois, it was early enough in the Occupation for such potentially incriminating materials to lead only to a three month sentence.
We might also note that both his court documents and later prison records record him as being ‘Henry Gastelois’ rather than ‘Henri Le Gastelois’. We might assume that either this was a mistake on the part of the authorities or, perhaps more likely, Henri had partly anglicised his name as a patriotic statement.
On 8 August 1941, Le Gastelois was deported to France. The same day, he arrived at Caen Prison. He was let out on 29 October, precisely three months after his trial, and was free to return to Jersey.
The Frank Falla Archive would like to invite the family of Henri Le Gastelois to get in touch if they have more information about him to share.
Henri Le Gastelois, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. St.H/5/3373, 3374, 3375.
Henri Le Gastelois’ court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/2/22
Henri Le Gastelois’ entry in the Political Prisoner Log Book, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
Henri Le Gastelois’ records at Caen Prison, Calvados Archives ref. 1664 w 34.