By Gilly Carr
Brian Edmund Le Boutillier was born in the parish of St Martin, Jersey, on 11 December 1925. At the time of the registration of Islanders in 1940, Le Boutillier was still at school.
Le Boutillier comes to our attention because, on 14 February 1944 (by which time he was 18 years old and working as an agricultural worker), he was sentenced by the court of the Feldkommandantur to three months’ imprisonment and a fine of 250 RM, in default of payment to 25 days’ imprisonment, for ‘unauthorised occupation of military premises, manufacture and distribution of anti-German leaflets’. We have an additional clue as to the details of this offence: Le Boutillier’s sentence was recorded at the same time as that of Gerald Bird, who was given 6 months for ‘failing to surrender an anti-German leaflet’. Gerald Bird had received this leaflet from Evelina Garland in Guernsey. This leaflet was, in fact, an amusing set of alternative lyrics to the 1940 George Formby song ‘Bless ‘em all’, about how Islanders wished they could kick the Organisation Todt out of the Islands. Further details about this case can be read in Garland’s entry.
Given that Garland received a five year sentence, and Bird ended up in Buchenwald Concentration Camp, if Le Boutillier was involved in this case, he was fortunate to escape with a three month sentence.
Both Le Boutillier and Bird arrived at Lisieux Prison on 9 March 1944; they had both been transferred from Saint-Lô Prison, which Le Boutillier arrived at c. 2 March 1944. After the prison was bombed, Gerald Bird escaped, which was the start of his troubles. According to Le Boutillier’s prison record, he, however, was freed upon the expiration of his sentence, 13 May 1944, to return to Jersey. However, we can be rightly sceptical about the possible return to the island by anyone at this late date. Had it not been for Gerald Bird’s trajectory, we might have assumed that Le Boutillier would have been transferred to Saint-Denis Internment Camp in Paris after the expiration of his sentence; indeed, this may have been the case. A form exists in Jersey Archives submitted by Le Boutillier, care of Mr and Mrs Romeril in London. Le Boutillier was requesting a return to the Island; the form was dated 12 October 1944, indicating that Le Boutillier was in England by this time. This in itself indicates that he had been released from a prison or camp in France by the Allies and repatriated to the UK. Brian Le Boutillier had had a narrow escape.
A family tree created on Ancestry.com by a relative, suggests that Le Boutillier married Helene Rabet in 1959 in Southampton, and died in Brittany in September 2012.
Brian Boutillier’s occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/7/A166.
Brian Le Boutillier’s occupation registration form, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/7/B166.
Brian Le Boutillier’s charge sheet, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/7/38.
Brian Le Boutillier’s Lisieux Prison records, Calvados Archives ref. 1506 w 13.
Brian Le Boutillier’s application to return to Jersey after the occupation, Jersey Archives ref. B/A/L42/9/26.