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The People's Messenger: the Occupation Diary of Louis Guillemette 1940-1945

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Louis Guillemette OBE (1910-1977) was born in Guernsey and was educated at the States Intermediate School and Elizabeth College. On leaving school, he joined the States of Guernsey, the island’s civil service.
At the outbreak of World War 2, he was Assistant Secretary to the Bailiff. When the States established the Controlling Committee in 1940, Louis was appointed Secretary to its President, a position which he held throughout the occupation.

This talk will be presented by Louis’ daughter, José Day and Ken Tough, former H.M. Greffier and Occupation Historian.

The People's Messenger

 

Since the liberation of the Channel Islands from German Occupation in 1945, there have been many occupation diaries published. But there have been few accounts written by those who were at the heart of the Island’s government during those bleak years.

Louis Guillemette, Secretary to John Leale, President of the Controlling Committee, was present not only at all the meetings of the Controlling Committee, he was also the main interlocutor between Guernsey’s leaders and the German Civil Administration (Feldkommandantur).

From the disputes over German requisitions of houses and radio sets to the increasingly tense negotiations over deportations and food and fuel rations – Louis’s diary complements the official records of these meetings. In each entry, he recorded what was going on behind the scenes, the news he had heard on his forbidden radio, as well as his antics with family and friends as they strove to survive and distract themselves from the challenges which the occupation brought to domestic life.

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