By Gilly Carr
Josette Janine Falle née Rouard was born in Paris on 18 April 1919. She worked as an interpreter and was married. In the early days of the Occupation, she lived in a house named Purley, in Gorey Village, Grouville, with her husband, Arthur Falle, his two brothers, Lewis and Eric, and her mother and father-in-law, Gertrude and Lewis Falle. Josette and Arthur had married on 5 September 1942 at St Helier Parish church.
At the time that she comes to our attention, in January 1943, Josette had moved to 8 Royal Crescent, Don Road, in St Helier. This may have been a temporary address, indicating that she was staying with a friend while attending court. On 8 January 1943, she was tried by court martial and sentenced to four months imprisonment for the offence of ‘insulting the German forces’. She entered Jersey jail on 22 January 1943 and was deported on 4 February 1943.
Our sole indications of what happened to her are an undated archival document which states that she was moved from Coutances Prison to Lisieux Prison and was due for release on 22 May 1943, and her Coutances prison records. These prison records indicate that she arrived on 5 February and was transferred to Lisieux on 4 May 1943.
As this was a relatively short sentence, and had it been earlier in the war, we might have hoped that she would have returned to Jersey, especially as her skills as an interpreter might be needed. However, by mid-1943, such a return was by no means guaranteed – although was possible. She may, instead, have found herself moved to a civilian internment camp. This was not necessarily Wurzach, the main civilian internment camp where families from Jersey were deported en masse in September 1942, but might have included Compiègne Transit and Internment Camp followed by Vittel internment camp. This trajectory follows that taken by Annie Ross and Edward Ross, said to have been deported from Jersey to Coutances Prison (although no archival evidence has been found to support this) in late 1942.
Whatever happened to Josette, we might observe that her husband, Arthur, was deported on 13 February 1943, most probably because of Josette’s deportation. He was sent to Laufen internment camp for men, followed by Ilag XVIII Spittal / Drau on 20 February 1945. On 8 or 9 June 1945, he was repatriated to the UK.
Arthur and Josette Falle may have been reunited in the UK, if they managed to locate each other through the help of Arthur’s family. If not, they would have had to wait until the late summer of 1945 to be reunited back in Jersey. In any case, their marriage did not survive and they divorced once it became legal in Jersey, in 1949. Arthur Falle went on to marry Ethel Hurrell in 1950, and Josette married Franciszek Wejman in 1952. Both remarried in the UK, indicating that they perhaps met their marriage partners either during their imprisonment or after their return to the UK.
Perhaps a member of Josette’s second husband’s family will one day let the Frank Falla Archive team know what happened to her.
The Frank Falla Archive would like to thank Arthur Falle’s grandson, Malcolm, for providing some additional information on his grandfather.
Josette Janine Falle’s occupation registration form and card, Jersey Archives Archives refs. G/2/551, G/2/552 and G/2/553.
Josette Janine Falle’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/5/20.
Josette Janine Falle’s entry, Jersey’s political prisoner log book, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG/B7/7.
Josette Falle’s records at Caen Service Historique de la Defence (SHD) ref. 27P4.
Josette Falle’s records from Coutances Prison, Archives departementales de la Manche, ref 2 Y 3/3.