By Gilly Carr
Paula Mina Pemberton née Mooney was born in Paris on 14 August 1895. We know little about her earlier life, but records on Ancestry.com suggest some intriguing events in which she may have been involved. We can see that she visited Las Palmas in March 1936, but returned to the UK via the Ivory Coast in Africa. What could have prompted this voyage other than a desire for adventure? If we look at world events of that time, we can see that Franco declared martial law in the Canary Islands on 18 July 1936, which would have prompted her swift departure. Her journey to the UK was certainly convoluted.
According to her occupation registration card, Paula came to Guernsey in late May 1940, quite possibly as a refugee fleeing German invasion of her home country – if she had moved back to France from England. Her registration card suggests that she was a widow at the time of her arrival in Guernsey. She had one child who appeared not to be living with her in Guernsey.
Paula comes to our attention because, on 19 August 1941, she was brought to Guernsey Prison. On 4 September 1941, she was sentenced by the tribunal of the Feldkommandantur 515 – perhaps in Jersey – to three months’ imprisonment for assaulting members of the German armed forces. We do not know what provoked this assault.
Paula appears in the records of Caen Prison from 13 September 1941, from where she was released on 4 December 1941.
Paula’s occupation registration card is stamped with the words ‘evacuated to Germany’. In February 1943 she was sent, along with others who had served prison sentences and were deemed ‘troublemakers’, to Compiègne Transit and Internment camp. From here we must assume that she was sent to Biberach Civilian Internment Camp, in common with other women sent to Compiègne.
In 1960, aged 65, it seems that Paula married George Bright. She passed away in 1978 aged 82 in Worthing, West Sussex.
List of Admissions (Guernsey Prison), Guernsey Archives ref. HA/P/08-03.
Paula Pemberton’s occupation registration card, Guernsey Archives.
Paula Pemberton’s court charge sheet ref. CC 14-05/76.
Paula Pemberton’s Caen prison records, Calvados Archives ref. 1664 w 34.