By Gilly Carr
John Henry Le Maistre was born on 18 March 1915 in the parish of St Helier, Jersey. At the start of the German Occupation he was 25 years old, married, and working as a taxi driver. He lived with his wife, Ellen Le Maistre née Le Monnier, and son, John Peter Le Maistre, who was born in 1938.
Le Maistre comes to our attention because, on 17 December 1942, he was sentenced by the Court of the Field Command 515 to one year’s imprisonment for embezzlement. Because he was tried by the German court, we can assume that this offence was against the occupiers. Although there is no record of his date of deportation in the Political Prisoner register, a note on his Occupation registration card states that he was deported on 22 January 1943.
On 23 January he arrived in Coutances Prison. On 7 May 1943 he was transferred to Fort d’Hautville Prison in Dijon under escort. The records of Fort d’Hautville record his arrival on 8 May 1943 via La Sante Prison in Paris. He stayed at Fort d’Hautville until 4 September 1943, when he was transferred to Dijon Prison by van. However, on 8 September 1943, fellow prisoner Guernseyman Percy Miller wrote a letter to his family stating that ‘you will be hearing from a Mr Le Maistre in Jersey. He is returning home after his sentence.’ Following this, a document at The National Archives shows that he arrived at Saint-Denis Internment Camp on 9 September 1943. His stay, however, was temporary.
On 11 September 1943, the Court of the Field Command 515 declared that Le Maistre’s sentence had been remitted from 4 September 1943, and his return to Jersey ordered. The remission was revocable up to the end of hostilities. A note on Le Maistre’s Occupation registration card states that he arrived back in the Island from France only on 29 December 1943. We have no other source of information to check whether this was correct.
John Le Maistre’s Occupation registration card and form, Jersey Archives refs. D/S/A/4/A7468 and B7468.
John Le Maistre’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/5/3.
John Le Maistre’s records from Countances Prison, Archives de la Manche ref. 2Y3-3.
John Le Maistre’s records from Fort d’Hautville Prison, Dijon, Archives Départementales de la Cote d’Or, Régistre d’écrou ref. 1409 W 1-13.