My Mum’s ( Mrs.G’S ) up to the Occupation Story

November 11, 2010 at 12:38 am. Mum's Occupation Family History, Growing.

The twins Ruth & Mary. I am writing mums storey as a follow up to Guernsey life as it was though to my start in life.It is a continuation from Ebenezer Le Page which have read and Bloney Good Times and Bloney Good Times Two which was jointly writien by the wife of my best man, lifetime and school frend. Ruth Mary Maud Gorvel nee Leadbeater was born at Percy Ashes Farm, Grande Bouet, St. Peter Port on December 25th 1921, 15 minutes before her identical twin Mary Ruth Maud.
My mother is now the last left of her family of nine children born to William ( Weary ) Leadbeater and Ethel Leadbeater nee Fell.Her family consisted of sisters Catherine, Mary, (identical twin )Faith, Ruby, Lill, brothers Arthur, John and Barry. With Ruth and Mary were later to become husbands were Jack Down, Clifford Gorvel and Bob Halpin husband of Violet Gorvel. These two withyoung son Robert were later send to Bibrack as Bob had been a groom to the Governer of Guernsey.
I started this on the 60th anniversary of the German Occupation of Guernsey, when l put some things told me by family members who were here during that period.This is now a dedication to my mum and for my at present grand children Tori-Lee Gorvel, Oliver James Trudgeon and now my Great granddaughter Lola-May.School days at Amhurst to be include here at later date.On the 21st June 1940 at St Peter Port Getty, the nineteen year old twins Ruth and Mary were their with their family to be evacuated to England.The whole family were going to stay in devises with two aunties of their mother Ethel. Also with them to see them of were the boyfriends Clifford Gorvel and Jack Down, with some of Cliffs brothers and sisters.

The Gorvels at the docks were Frank and wife, Cyrille, Ernest, sisters Irene, Selina, Violet, husband Bob, Helen, Husband Bill Lynch, Molly and Brabra. The rest of the Gorvels, Roger and sister Doris were in Jersey were they at been born. Doris was looking after with two young children, while husband Charlie Le Cors was in the R.A.F as a flight engineer.He had signed up for active service before the war started and was stationed in the north of England.He did not return until after the war had ended. Charlie was one of these people, who was always ready for an argument. It did not matter to him which side he agreed with and often be on the other side to his views.My auntie Doris told me the time at the end of the war, when they were staving though lack of food in Jersey. A German offered her some food, she refused it, but the German said “I have children back home and if you do not want to except for yourself, take it for your two young ones.” He said afterwards that he hoped the same would be done for his by British troops and hoped his wife would except.On the first day that Charlie Le Cors returned home to his wife and family, my auntie Doris told him this story and that she had used the food for the children.Charlie told her off for taking it and the first day back was spent in argument and recriminations.The Gorvel family consisted of in order Roger, Doris, Frank, Selina, Violet, Cyril (all born in Jersey before my Grandfather Francois and Grandmother Marie Victorine nee Bienvenue) moved to Guernsey) Clifford (my father who as we joked was 1/3 Jersey and 2/3 Guernsey) Irene, Ernie, Helen, Molly and Brabra. Oldest brother Roger, and sister Doris remained in Jersey for the intire occupation.
I am going to put down some more as my mum as had her 90th birthdayon Christmas Day 2012 and my Great Granddaughter Lola-May was born on boxing day at 1.22pm and I almost would have to do two Christmas presents.My son Lee who never married Tori-Lees mother and is now at the age of 33 asked by his mates to get a round Granddad.”
My mother Ruth remembers at the docks on that day when Ambose Sherwel addressed the crowd waiting for the last three boats to be filled up. He said ” He said some of you must stay in the island and help to keep it for when people returned. It may be safer here rather than be bombed in Britain. This and going out with my father at the time helped her change her mind and stay, not knowing or realising how long her family would be away from her. From that day June 28th 1940 to the end of the occupation on May 8th 1946 mum nor her family unlike other Islanders never received any letters.
Although the their suitcases were packed and the Leadbeater decided not to leave, my mother and Auntie Marys bid a tearful farewell and possible thoughts, will we ever see them again. It was with heavy hearts the two 17 year olds left the harbour and for the next five years no new was to be forth coming from their family. My mums family departed on the last boat for exil to Devizes in Wiltshire to be taken in at the homes of her two of her Aunties. My mum and Mary did not go home to 22 Rougeval ( later to comonderd in the Bouet but mum went to live La Roberge Farm, Forest and Mary went to live with Jacks family at Trafalgar House, Rouge Rue.
The Downs had the wing of the house as a Chipshop and a secondhand funiture shop above the main house.
The next day after they had seen his future wifes family off, he was delivering for the Fruit Export a lorry load of tomatoes and was in the long line of the lorries there. Most of the lorries were waiting to load for the London boat, but when ” anyone for the Liverpool drive up” was called. My father came out of line and unloaded and then headed along the front to the Fruit Export depot on Les Banqes where he found his newly purchased Auntin car had been marchine gunned by one of the sqaudron of Messursmits which were also bombing the Harbour.”
Since the Germans did not realise that the islands had been demilitarised, they approached them with some caution. Reconnaissance flights were inconclusive. On 28 June 1940, they sent a squadron of bombers over the islands and bombed the harbours of Guernsey and Jersey. In St Peter Port, the main town of Guernsey, some lorries lined up to load tomatoes for export to England were mistaken by the reconnaissance for troop carriers. Forty-four islanders were killed in the raids.
While the German Army was preparing to land an assault force of two battalions to capture the islands, a reconnaissance pilot landed in Guernsey on 30 June and the island officially surrendered to him. Jersey surrendered on 1 July. Alderney, where only a handful of islanders remained, was occupied on 2 July and a small detachment travelled from Guernsey to Sark, which officially surrendered on 4 July.”

These may be similar experiences which happened to my mums family: The Experiences of Guernsey Evacuees in Northern
This is the camp my Auntie Violet, Uncle Bob and son Robert aged 5 went to : Deported from Guernsey to Germany(Biberach) – BBC

This is one of my cousins who died trying to escape Jersey.
Jersey Memorial To Those Who Died Trying To Escape  Full list of escapers – theislandwiki

The yearly events for ending the Occupation 9th May 1945 is now upon us and we will be celebrating the 70th one.My mother was at the first celebration with my father, twin sister/boyfriend, friends and family at the Weighbridge. They were all watching the mail boat coming in and the three boats with the liberating troops before they came ashore.Ruth Mary Maud Leadbeater and identical twin Mary Ruth Maud,  born on Christmas Day 1921 at Ashly Cottage ,Grand Bouet.

Before the occupation all the family of 10 had moved to 23, Rougval via Gas Lane and all the children were educated at Amherst School.
On 27th June 1940 my mother and family were going to Aunties in Devizes, England but at the last minute although cases packed last boat out, Ruth decide to stay with fiancé of 18 months Clifford and so Mary stayed also.
One of the last things before leaving my grandfather Weiry Leadbeater did, after being in the White Hart with friends was to put the union Jack up at Castle CornetAlone at 22 years of age the twins went back, down hearted without family to their home at Rougval,St. Peter Port.
At that time my mum thought the war would not last long and the family would soon be back together, but it was 5 long years with no information
Their youngest brother Barry was born in Devizes, father in Dads Army, sisters in the ATS, married and one brother-in- law evacuated from Dunkirk three times without them knowing anything at all.
My father Clifford Gorvel worked for Fruit Export and was on the White Rock 28th June 1940 at the back of the tomato lorry line. When they called “anyone for the Liverpool boat” he with three others pulled out, unloaded and set off to return to the Pittronie Rd. Depot. He picked up Ruth up from her job packing tomatoes and when driving down the Rohais. When the siren sounded and the bombing started, they leaped out the truck and sheltered underneath a tree for its duration.
His second hand green Austin 7 with new jacket, trousers and shoes on rear seat outside Fruit Export, Les Banques was ruined by shrapnel when the three German war planes bombed The Harbour with the loss of 34 killed and 33 injured.
He was one of the lucky ones.
The twins decided since the Germans were about to land that two single girls should not be in the house alone so they left 23 Rougval with a notice “on occupied.”
On the 28th June 1940 Auntie Mary went to live at Trafalgar House, Petit Bouet with the Down family, who ran a chip shop with a second hand furniture shop above. It was quoted in one of George Torodes Donkey books as “the best chip shop in the Island” and even Ruggs Buses picked up for customers to deliver on route. You could get leftover bits of batter pieces for 1pwrapped in the Guernsey Press.
Ruth went with Clifford Gorvel packing all they could in two cases and set off for the Gorvels ,La Roberge, Forest “ sur les pieds.”
After walking from town, arriving at La Bourg there were German motor cycle rides, jeeps, troops coming and going from the Airport. They were in black uniforms with the motor cyclist having helmets and visors, so making them look very frightening.
They continued on to La Roberge Farm and my mum lived there for about 6 weeks but found it difficult as the Grovels spoke French as their first language.
They would be speaking in French when Ruth came in the room, change to English but soon forget and go back.
So Ruth went to live with her sister who she missed and the Down family who spoke English.
Ruth also needed to work, went to the German Head Quarters at the Grange and was giving a job as chambermaid and waitress served table for officers Gamley then at Summerland.

Mum at Summerland German Headquarters. On the lawn

Ruth worked under an English speaking German  husband and wife (cook/house keeper) at Gamley, Queens Road and had her own room at Gamley, working for Dr. Reffler, Dr Brosch, Pelz (Agricultural Officer) and Prince Von Oettingein
My father was allowed to visit 3 or 4 times a week and often listened to Pelz who was an accomplished player unlike my father who could play but not read music.

In the summer of 1944 and after 5 ½ years, Ruth and Cliff after serving a 6 months prison sentence with 10 others decided to get married at Ruth’s families St Johns Church.
With most of the family in England Ruth was giving away by friend Sergeant Harry Dyson who was in charge of the West Sub Station.  Mary was Chief Brides Maid with P.C “Rolly” Dyson, Ernie Gorvel ushers and service conducted by the Rev Kershaw.
It drew a small laugh when Clifford knelt down at the altar, because of the difficulty getting new, he had a hole in each shoe. The dresses were brought second hand, due to the cost, no rings were exchanged, no organist and no photos of the wedding could be taken but flowers from the garden were supplied.
The engagement ring had been stolen at Gamley Head Quarters but in 1947 when ploughing a field in St. Martin, Clifford turned up a gold ring and gave it to his wife as a belated wedding ring.
A hired horse drawn carriage was driven by the bridegroom up the reception at Mountain Ash House, St. Martin.
Mountain Ash is opposite the St. Martins Rectory, was for many years Yeamans Chemist and now is Becky Rowe Jewellers.
Clifford and Ernie Gorvel had lived there from 1941, after friend Jack Le Clare was sent to Germany for selling on the Black Market. Ernie was involved but was not caught, so
Jack who also owned Les Merriennes Hotels, last words to them was “look after the house and my dog while I am away.” The dog was later eaten towards the kend of the occupation.
The reception with 20 guests was held here, the cake was made by Mrs Hicks from the Longstore with ingredients sourced from the barter mart shop Cliff and Ernie owned.
They made black treacle (substitute for sugar) from beat at Frank Brouard barn, Le Chene, Forest and the shop in Mill St. was staffed by Ruth and Mary.

Mum and Dad with brother Barry born 4th October 1946

Open at 8am with queues and sold out by 9am.
The piano player for the evening was Sid Gardner (later editor of the Guernsey Press).
Fred Russell ( unofficial singer)who at brought a made in France  new suit  ( father of Bruce Russell, Gold and Silversmith)was drinking with  my two uncles Ernie and Harold Guilbert doing a lot of celebrating.
At the end of the evening worse for wear the two of them put Fred in the bath tub and filled it with water. When he got out the suit shrunk to his knees, elbows and a few chose words in patios were used before continuing the celebrations. All the guests had to stay overnight as curfew was at 10pm except for brother-in-law Bill Lynch who was serving 6 months for having a crystal set, had a pass but had to be back inside before curfew.

Around the 1st June my father was in the Guernsey  Royal Court with 9 others plus the farmer Rawlins -Duqumin on the charge of buying beef contrary to the law. He was sentenced to 6 months hard labour and a fine of £50 or 3 months. As a £50 fine in 1944 is now in 2018 is equivalent to £3,034 my father decided to serve the 3 months prison sentence. When mum and dad purchased Clovelly Vilas 1 in 1947 they paid £1,200 against the fine of £3,034. The meat was for the Gorvel and Down families and as my mum said in these desperate times of have hunger pains every day, it was a risk that people took.

This is the Royal Court trial of my father.

The Royal Court trial and sentence of my father





























My Mum and Dad lived at Mountain Ash until 1946 before Jack Le Clare returned to Guernsey. They moved to the home of Sergeant Harry Dyson of Les Hubits before moving to Clovelly, Rue Maize, St.Martin in 1947.
Most of the Leadbeater family returned to Guernsey 3 months after the occupation ended. Cliffs family eldest brother Roger had died in Jersey, Andre Gorvel had downed on rocks at Rosselle with two others trying to escape in a boat in 1944.

On the better side brother– in- law Charles Le Cors returned to Jersey after joining the Royal Air force before the war, met his wife Doris and two children for the first time in almost 6 years. Sister Violet, husband Jim and son Robert (aged 6) retuned to Guernsey from Biberac (sent in 1942).

Where at 96 years of age lives on her own, walks to the green shop almost every day for her papers, milk and to place the odd bet.

My mother was born in Perry Ashes cottage by the Chapel and think it was called Ashley. My Grandmother Ethel Leadbeater worked for farmer ash ( 1925?) on the farm. Mum and her twin sister where put in the tea boxes while my gran worked in the diary making butter and she just kept a watch on them when she went across to get more milk.

My Grandfather Weiry Leadbeater frequented the Jamaica Inn, had a lovely singing voice and after a few drinks would with encouragement sit on the bar to sing. He could remember all the words or make them up, he had the same memory as my uncle John (the coal) Leadbeater. Mum remembers one morning her and sisters little Jack Russell was not around for its food. Tackling Weiry about the dog he finally admitted he had sold it to farmer Camp after a session at the Jamaica. Mum, sister went to Camps farm to find their dog tied up in the barn. They took the dog back home and when Campy came to Ashley. He said he had brought it off Weiry but my mum said it was not for him to sell as it was their pet and it was staying. Mum was 96 on Christmas Day and is still the same not to be messed with.




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