Having been present in the island for nearly two years, the bulk of the German prisoners held at the Blanche Banques POW camp departed this week for the UK mainland. There, they will work as agricultural labourers, replacing British manpower called up to the armed forces.
Jersey’s POW camp opened in March 1915, with its number of inmates increasing steadily over the months that followed to reach nearly 2,000 men. Since arrival, there has been some effort made to find work for the prisoners, but mostly they were confined to recreational activities within the camp. It seems that the British Government did recently make them potentially available for agricultural work in the island, but the States declined to accept. There was unwillingness to pay the rates of wages agreed by international conventions. A small batch will remain, however, to work at the docks during the potato export season.
Most of the present British Army camp guards are leaving with the prisoners. Members of the Jersey Militia will replace them under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Walter Stocker, the well-known and much respected former commander of the Jersey Contingent.
A/E/5 contains a range of correspondence on the use of POWs for local labour and the retention of a number to work at St Helier Harbour.
L/D/67/H4/1 contains a photograph of Liuetenant Colonel Stocker taken in 1929.