By Gilly Carr
Richard Angell has the distinction of being the only person in the Frank Falla Archive who had Occupation registration documents in both Guernsey and Jersey. He worked in both Islands during the Occupation, but was probably living in Guernsey at the time of the invasion of the Germans; his earliest registration form was issued in Guernsey and signed by Angell on 26 October 1940. Only his later documents are from Jersey.
At the start of the Occupation, therefore, Angell was living in Guernsey in the parish of St Andrews, was single, and worked in forestry for the States of Guernsey, who employed men in this occupation so that they would not have to work for the Germans.
Angell comes to our attention because, on 3 December 1940, he was placed in Guernsey Prison by the German authorities. On 6 December he was taken from the prison and transferred to Jersey to be court-martialled on 7 December. He was charged with ‘resistance to executive authority’ and given a sentence of three months’ imprisonment. George Ridgway, HM’s Comptroller in Guernsey, placed a notice in the local paper explaining that Angell was tried for ‘refusing to accompany a German police officer when ordered to do so and for resisting the officer in the execution of his duty.’
In I Beg to Report, an account of policing during the Occupation in Guernsey by Bill Bell, more detail to the incident is provided. It appears that Richard Angell was out just before the curfew with two friends, John Catoroche and Conrad Bouwmeester. The three had been drinking and talking about American planes. A German soldier had challenged them given the proximity of curfew, but been struck by Angell who ran away. The German caught him and tripped him up and they got into a fight. By the time the Guernsey police arrived, Angel had blood and abrasions on his face, as did the German soldier.
According to Jersey’s political prisoner register, Angell was deported on 11 December 1940. We do not know where he was sent. It was usual for those deported in the early days of the Occupation to be sent to Caen Prison, but no record of him has been found here. There were, however, two prisons in Caen to which Islanders were sent, and the records survive of only one, the Maison d’Arrêt. Those of Beaulieu Prison were destroyed at the end of the war.
Angell’s son believed that his father was sent to Dijon. However, the Frank Falla Archive team has also examined the records for Fort d’Hautville Prison in Dijon and did not find Angell’s name there. The earliest date at which other islanders arrived in Dijon was the summer of 1941, so Angell’s presence here seems less likely than Caen.
We have no date of return for Angell, but those deported in the first year or two of the Occupation came back promptly from their deportation and we have no reason to suspect that this was not the case for Angell.
The next record we have for Angell is a Jersey occupation registration form dated August 1942. Other people in Jersey filled in their form in January 1941, but Angell would have been out of the Island at this time. Whether Angell decided to return to Jersey rather than Guernsey after his imprisonment in France, or whether this was an enforced decision, we do not know. We can only observe that he now resided at 4 Vincent Villas in Albert Street in St Helier.
Because Angell had been previously convicted, he was rounded up in the second wave of deportations from the Channel Islands, and left the Island on 13 February 1943. As a single man he was put on the list of men to be sent to Laufen internment camp.
We might assume that Angell saw out the rest of the war in Laufen, but his son gained the impression that his father was transferred to Spittal internment camp in Austria (Ilag XVIII), as his father mentioned this camp, saying that he had been in three places of incarceration in total (including his earlier sentence). Indeed, such transfers took place of men from Laufen, and the surviving evidence for this states that the transfers took place in 1944 and 1945. The incomplete and damaged list of transfers dates to 20 February 1945, and if Angell was transferred then it is possible that he did so on this date. It is also possible that he was sent back to Laufen as some transfers to Spittal were temporary. Angell’s name does not appear among the 22 Islanders repatriated from Spittal to the UK at the end of the war.
Angell’s son recalled that his father ‘told many stories of long train journeys with all sorts of prisoners, and also about being separated into different groups at ‘holding camps’. He said that at those camps he and other British and non-Jewish prisoners were placed together while Jews and gypsies were directed to concentration camps’. Whether these comments applied to his French prison, Laufen, or Spittal internment camps, or whether this was a general assumption rather than eye-witness testimony, we do not know.
Richard Angell passed away in 2010 aged 92.
The author would like to thank Richard Angell’s son for his recollections of his father’s stories.
Richard Angell occupation registration form, copyright Island Archives, Guernsey.
Richard Angell’s occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. Dep. 1/14.
Richard Angell’s occupation registration form, Jersey Archives ref. Dep. 4/25.
Richard Angell, political prisoner logbook, Jersey Archives ref. D/AG//B7/1.
Richard Angell’s charge sheet and paperwork, Guernsey Archives, ref. CC14-05/20 & 22.
Bell, W. 1995. I Beg to Report: Policing in Guernsey during the German Occupation. Guernsey: Guernsey Press Ltd.
Harris, R. 1979. Islanders Deported. Ilford: Channel Islands Specialists Society Publishing.