Thursday, 17 July 2014


I found a fantastic story in a one of the newsletters which was produced by Channel Island evacuees in Stockport, Cheshire, during the Second World War.

Born in Guernsey, Corporal Leslie Sarchet, R.E. joined up during the early days of the war. After training in England he ended up fighting in Tobruk where he was taken prisoner.

He was sent to an Italian prisoner of war camp at Ancona from which he managed to escape. He discarded his battle dress for civilian clothing and in 51 days he walked over 400 miles. During this time he met friendly rebels in the mountains who gave him food and helped him on his way. On one occasion he actually helped two German soldiers to load a pig into a cart! They mistook him for an Italian, as he spoke the language.

Bombed for two days by British planes, he managed with great difficulty to get through the German lines to reach the British. There he received a great welcome and plenty of food. Finally, the newsletter states that (in February 1944) Corporal Sarchet was spending some time on leave in England but was was keen to return overseas for more service.

The newsletter also contained a photograph of some of the Guernsey civilians who had been deported to a camp at Laufen. It included a letter written by Mr A J Sherwill who told his daughter “We are very full here with a large influx, but not from the Channel Islands. It is 11 November tomorrow (Armistice Day) and I have arrange to place lovely flowers on the graves in Laufen Cemetary. We will observe the two minutes silence by the gravesides. Our Christmas parcels arrived today. We are wonderfully well provided for by our fairy godmother, the British Red Cross.”