By Gilly Carr
John Ernest Frederick Woods was born in London and, at the start of the German occupation, was 23 years old, earning his living as a labourer, and living in St Helier in Jersey.
Very little is known about Woods’ experience during the occupation. However, Jersey court records show that on 22 December 1941 he was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment for ‘serious larceny’.
During the occupation, the German forces requisitioned much food from the local population, and many of the Islanders convicted for theft were trying to take the food back again. It is possible that this is what Woods was convicted of stealing.
The political prisoner log book from Jersey prison shows that he was deported on 12 January 1942. He next appears at Caen Prison on 13 January 1942, where he stayed until his transfer to Fort de Villeneuve-St-George Prison on 16 February 1942. In this prison’s ledger we see that his sentence was due to have ended on 29 September 1943. He was, however, transferred to Saint-Denis Internment Camp on 11 May 1943. In the absence of other records, we might assume that he stayed at this location for the rest of the war but this cannot be stated with certainty.
The impetus for this transfer can be found in a document at Jersey Archives dated 9 April 1943, which states that that the Attorney General’s office was informed by the Magistrate of the court of the German Field Command that the sentence passed upon Woods had ‘from 21 April 1943, been postponed until the end of hostilities.’
Jersey occupation registration documents for John Woods, Jersey Archives ref. St_H_8_615, 616 and 617.
Court records relating to John Woods, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/3/4.
Political prisoner log book, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/1.
Val de Marne Archives, Record book of Villeneuve-Saint-George Prison, Registre d’Ecrou ref. 500W 8-9