By Gilly Carr
George Charles Nicholls was born on 16 December 1912 in Sudbourne, Suffolk. We do not know when or why he came to Jersey, but at the time of the registration of Islanders in January 1941, he was single and working as a farm labourer.
Nicholls comes to our attention because, on 17 March 1944, he was convicted by the Court of the Field Command 515 to three years and six months’ imprisonment with hard labour for ‘serious larceny and attempted serious larceny’. For such a stiff sentence, not only must he have been stealing from the Germans, but also deemed to be someone who they wanted to deported from the Island permanently. He was tried with other men who were also being convicted of larceny: Hedley Alexander, William Cordrey, Sidney Green, and Emile Urvoy. Records of Green and Cordrey have been traced and both were sent to concentration and labour camps. Nicholls could hardly expect to escape the same fate given the length of his sentence, his English birth, and the late date in the war at which he was sentenced. The deportation of Green and Cordrey, like Nicholls, was not listed in the political prisoner log book, indicating that the authorities were not notified of their deportation. The three men followed different trajectories after their deportation, reflecting the desire of the Germans to split them up.
Nicholls was deported straight to Germany in late March or April 1944. Records have been found in the archives of the International Tracing Service which show that he arrived in Karlsruhe Prison on 21 April 1944; we cannot say whether this was his first prison or not. He stayed here until 2 May 1944. He was then in another prison, followed by Rheinbach Prison from 8 June 1944 to 19 June 1944. From here he was sent to Wittlich Young Offender Prison, where he arrived the same day and where he stayed until 20 September 1944. He then was transferred to Ziegenhain Prison, where he arrived on 23 September. After this, the records show a gap, although it seems likely that he stayed at Ziegenhain. Nicholls was finally sent to Rendsburg Prison from Ziegenhain on 6 April 1945, where he stayed until 10 May 1945, when he was repatriated to the UK. We can thus say that Nicholls was still alive at the time of his repatriation. We can assume that it is likely that he spent an extensive period of time in hospital after his return to the UK. What happened to him after this is unknown.
The family of George Nicholls are invited to get in touch with the Frank Falla Archive if they wish to share additional information about his story.
George Nicholls’ Occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/9/A846.
George Nicholls’ Occupation registration form, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/B846.
George Nicholls’ court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/7/60.
International Tracing Service records for George Nicholls, Wiener Library refs.
103886387 (Wittlich), 44072200 (Karlsruhe), 44072196 (Rendsburg), 11332027 (Rendsburg), 11361785 (Rheinbach), 44072194 (Zeigenhain), 77717697 (Wittlich), 11612441 (Wittlich), 44072198 (Zeigenhain), 11551291 (Zeigenhain).