Compiègne Prison

Country France
GPS 49° 24' 53.4816" N, 2° 49' 56.2836" E
Address 3 Avenue de la Résistance, 60200 Compiègne, France
Dates Active 1867 – 2015

Channel Islander Imprisoned in Compiègne Prison: 

Edward Oliver Ross

By Roderick Miller

At least one Channel Islander was incarcerated in Compiègne Prison (Maison d’Arrêt de Compiègne) in the city of Compiègne, department Oise, in northern France. The prison was built in 1867 on a 4000 square metre plot of land with 25 cells designed to accommodate up to 76 prisoners, though even in the post-war years the prison was ‘often overcrowded’. [1] Like most prisons in German-occupied France, the prison was administered by the Gestapo with a German staff and manned by French guards. Compiègne Prison was often used to interrogate political prisoners prior to their incarceration in nearby Compiègne-Royallieu Internment and Transit Camp, from which many prisoners were deported to concentration camps in Germany such as Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Edward Ross and his wife Annie Ross were sentenced on 28 September 1942 by the German military court of Field Command 515 (Feldkommandantur 515) on Jersey to six months’ imprisonment for ‘consorting without authority with prisoners of war and distributing wireless news hostile to Germany’. The couple was deported to Coutances Prison in France, then at an unknown date separated, and Annie Ross transferred to Fort de Romainville Prison and Edward Ross to Compiègne Prison. The length of time that Edward Ross spent in Compiègne is unknown, but by November 1943 the couple had finished their sentences and were re-united in Vittel Internment Camp, where their son Sheil was born.

Compiègne was liberated by the the US 28th Infantry Division and 5th Armoured Division on 1 September 1944. Edward and Annie Ross (and their son Sheil) survived the war, but like many survivors probably suffered from a variety of chronic physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorders for the rest of their lives.

Compiègne Prison was closed on 13 December 2015 and its remaining 47 prisoners transferred to a new prison in Oise. Plans have been made by the community to convert the former prison into a residential neighbourhood, but as of date (August 2017), the prison buildings and walls are still standing. There is no known memorial at the former prison for those who suffered there during the German occupation.

[1] Article about the closing of the prison in the Courrier picard newspaper, 20 May 2015 (in French). Link.

Further Reading

Carr, Gilly; Sanders, Paul; Willmot Louise: Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation, 1940-1945, Bloomsbury Academic, London & New York, 2014.


Jersey Archives:
Jersey Court Documents, Sentences and prosecutions by the Field Command and Troop Company, D-Z-H6-4 (Annie and Edward Ross)

Jersey War Tunnels: Joe Mière Collection