By Gilly Carr
John de Carteret Pinwell (or Pinwill, as his surname is spelled in some records) was born in St Helier on 6 February 1926. We know little about his early life; only that, at the time of registration of Islanders in January 1941 he was 15, still at school, and living at Jersey Home for Boys. In April 1942, now 16, he moved to 2 Clifton Place in St Helier. He had left school and got a job as a gardener.
Pinwell comes to our attention because, on 16 April 1944, he was sentenced by the court of Feldkommandantur 515 to 10 months’ imprisonment for larceny. As he was sentenced by the Germans, we must assume that he was accused of stealing from them.
Then, on 13 June 1944, he was further sentenced to 3 months imprisonment for ‘breaking in and theft’. Presumably he was at home and waiting for space to become available in prison at the time that he was arrested for this offence. A remark on the court charge sheet of this second conviction states ‘three weeks of sentence executed. Remission of remainder of sentence granted on 13.6.44 as a test of good conduct.’ It is not entirely clear why the second sentence was shortened given that Pinwell had a longer conviction waiting to be served. Pinwell’s name is not listed in the political prisoner log book; we must question to what extent the authorities knew of his deportation.
A note on Pinwell’s Occupation registration card states that he was reported, on 15 May 1944, to have left the Island. This date does not reflect exactly when he was deported, because a prison record from Fort d’Hauteville Prison in Dijon indicates that Pinwell arrived there on 2 May 1944, and that he had come via Saint-Lô Prison. The last we hear of Pinwell in the official archives is that, on 24 August 1944, he was transferred to Germany. A note in an archive at The National Archives states that he was sent to Marlag und Milad Nord Westertimke Internment Camp in September 1944.
According to former political prisoner Joe Miere, Pinwell survived the war. Records indicate that he passed away in Wrekin, Shropshire, in 1992.
The family of John Pinwell are invited to get in touch with the Frank Falla Archive if they wish to share any further information about his story.
John Pinwell, Occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/7/9914.
John Pinwell, Occupation registration form, Jersey Archives ref. St/H/7/9915.
John Pinwell court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/7/129.
Information about John Pinwell at Jersey War Tunnels café.
John Pinwell’s prison records from Fort d’Hauteville, Dijon, Archives Départementales de la Côte-d’Or, ref. 1409 w 1-13.