In contrast to the previous occasion when German prisoners of war were in the island, local authorities are now prepared to allow their use as farm labourers. POWs are available at five shilling an hour for a 10-hour day, exclusive of meals and any transport costs such as railway tickets to and from their camp in St Ouen’s Bay.
The original contingent of POWs incarcerated at Blanche Banques Camp were withdrawn from the island in early 1917 following the Jersey Government’s reluctance to use them for farm labour. Only a small group remained, performing duties at the harbour until August that year.
The situation has changed, however, following the camp’s reopening in March this year. Since the introduction of compulsory military service in March, the number of local men available for work has steadily declined. The recently revised Military Service Act is set to make the manpower situation considerably worse. Using enemy POWs will be the only choice for many farmers over the coming season.
Farmers requiring POW assistance can apply to the Food Production Committee. The camp, which presently holds nearly two thousand men, will offer an ample source of labour.
A/A2/20 contains responses to farmers requesting POW labourers setting out their conditions of service.