By Gilly Carr
Edouard Joseph Rousseau was born in St Nicolas de Coutances, Manche, France, on 17 July 1893. We cannot say for sure when he first came to Jersey, but we note that his wife, Jerseywoman Anne Marie Rebindaine, born 1898, acquired French nationality on her marriage and was given an Aliens card in 1921. Edouard’s brother, Louis Charles Rousseau, also arrived in Jersey in 1921, which suggests that Edouard first came to the Island with his brother in this year. Edouard and Anne Marie had four children, only three of whose names we know: Raymond, Alice and Denise. Raymond, at least, was born in Jersey in 1926.
At the time of the registration of Islanders in January 1941, Edouard Rousseau and his wife were both working as a farm workers at Le Rondin Farm in St Mary’s. The family had clearly been there for many years as his wife is recorded as living there in 1921. Rousseau’s registration card and photograph are missing from the archives.
Rousseau comes to our attention because, on 25 May 1943, he and his wife were taken into custody. On 23 June 1943, they were tried by the court of the Field Command 515 for ‘failing to surrender a wireless receiving set’. While Edouard Rousseau was given a 1 year sentence for this offence, Anne Marie was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. Anne Marie was fortunate: her sentence was deferred until the end of hostilities and she was released on 29 June 1943. Edouard Rousseau was deported.
We do not know the date of his deportation; however, Rousseau was sentenced with George Fox and Clifford Querée. Only Querée is listed in the political prisoner log book or Jersey prison records, and he was deported on 13 July 1943. We might assume that the others were deported on the same day.
We next find Rousseau in Troyes Haut-Clos Prison, where he arrived on 19 July 1943 from Saint-Lô Prison. We can assume, therefore, that Saint-Lô was his first place of incarceration. According to his Troyes prison records, he was due for release on 24 May 1944. However, his record states that he was released on 28 January 1944 on the order of the Jersey court of Field Command 515, after a decision made on 23 November 1943. We can only assume that this is a reflection of the growing food crisis in the Channel Islands and the necessity for all farm workers to be working in the Island.
Whether or not Edouard Rousseau returned to Jersey cannot be ascertained. We might observe three things: first, there is no photo attached to Rousseau’s registration card. This can often indicate that this was used to search for a person after the war. Second, the two men with whom Edouard Rousseau was deported, Fox and Querée, did not survive the war, although the three men were together only as far as Saint-Lo Prison. After that, the others were moved to Dijon and then to Germany. Third, no Islander released from prison at this late date in the war is known to have returned to Jersey. Given that almost all of people who fitted this description were British, they were moved to Saint-Denis Internment Camp outside Paris. As Rousseau was French, we cannot say for sure what happened to him.
The family of Edouard Rousseau are invited to get in touch with the Frank Falla Archive if they wish to share further information about his story.
Edouard Rousseau, Occupation registration card, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/24/1401.
Edouard Rousseau’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/6/85.
Edouard Rousseau’s records from Troyes Prison, Archives Départementales de l’Aube, Troyes, ref. 1039 w 16.