The potential dangers of swimming in St Ouen’s Bay were underlined this week following the death of a prisoner from Blanche Banques POW Camp. The victim, Willy Haustein, who came from Zittau in Saxony and formerly served with the 106IR, died after being swamped by a large wave and dragged out to sea.
Haustein was one of 348 prisoners taken down to the beach escorted by a detachment of guards under the command of Lieutenant Tomkins. Tomkins later said that although there were waves in the bay, they were not large and it was therefore considered safe to enter the water. As usual, there was also a small rowing boat on hand to come to the aid of anyone that did get into trouble.
The incident happened when two men, including Haustein, were standing in chest high water. Their comrades attempted to reach the men, while the rowing boat, which was crewed by POWs, also tried to help. One man was saved, but the rescuers took a while to locate the other. Attempts to resuscitate him on the beach failed, and Haustein’s body was taken to St Peter’s Barracks to await burial.
L/C/49/E/1 contains a copy of a drawing Hans Muller of the prisoner of war camp at Blanches Banques in St Ouen's Bay.