Upcoming WW2 Movie Will Be Set On A Nazi-Occupied Island And Based On A Gripping True Story

WW2-Era Gun Battery on the Island of Jersey, where the Movie is set. <a href=https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gun_at_Battery_Moltke,_Les_Landes,_Jersey_02.JPG>Photo Credit</a>
WW2-Era Gun Battery on the Island of Jersey, where the Movie is set. Photo Credit

The captivating true story of a widow who was murdered by the Nazis for assisting an escaped Russian prisoner during World War II war has been made into a movie. The tale of Louisa Gould, from the Island of Jersey, has been made into a film after her great-niece, Jenny Lecoat, decided the time had come to relate the remarkable story.

Collaborating with director Christopher Menaul, Lecoat has assisted with the work to create Another Mother’s Son – the £2.5million-budget British film produced by Bill Kenwright.

The film stars John Hannah, Jenny Seagrove, Amanda Abbington and Ronan Keating.

It follows the story of Mrs. Gould – a widow residing and operating the local shop in St. Ouen, Jersey when the island was under German control during the Second World War.

At the time, Mrs. Gould and Harold Le Druillenec, her brother, sheltered Feodor Buryi, an escaped Russian prisoner of war, and hid him in her house for a few years.

The pilot, who was in his 20s at the time, was captured on the Eastern Front by the Germans and forced to work on concrete defenses. However, he escaped within a few weeks after arriving at the island. Mrs. Gould was asked by a neighbor to hide him.

In a few years, she taught him English and changed her son’s clothes to fit him.

Her family described her as a ‘saintly soul’ who was lonely after the death of her son Edward, who had an Oxford scholarship but was killed during service in the Royal Navy, and the departure of her other son who was serving in the RAF.

Speaking about her great aunt sheltering the Russian PoW, Ms. Lecoat told The Times: “She was a kind person but she had a certain amount of naivety. She was very lax when it came to security — she occasionally took him into town with her. She used to go to church with him. Everyone knew him as Bill.”

Bob Le Sueur, 94, another person who helped to shelter Russian prisoners, added: “She was a Godly soul but not as careful as she should have been.”

Mrs. Gould was eventually informed on by her neighbors to the Gestapo and she and her brother were arrested in 1944 for aiding a fugitive.

Tried by the Germans, they were sent to prison in France. Later, Mrs. Gould was transferred to Ravensbrück in Germany and sent to the gas chambers where she was killed, aged 53, just two months before the camp came under Allied control.

While she sadly died, her brother survived the camp at Bergen-Belsen, the only known British survivor of the camp who later returned to Jersey and became a teacher.

The title of the film relates to the fact that Mrs. Gould sheltered Feodor after her own son was killed during the war. She did not want to let another mother suffer the way she did.

The movie is the work of television scriptwriter Ms. Lecoat, who has worked on numerous popular shows such as the EastEnders, The Catherine Tate Show and Holby City.

She said: “I had penned soaps and comedies in the past but what I very much enjoyed was historical fact-based drama, so I went over four years ago and spoke to such people as Bob Le Sueur.”

“The screenplay was written on spec. A year was spent on research. It was two years before it was picked up and I was fortunate that my dad helped me with support during that period.”

Much of the filming has been done in English towns and countryside, like Somerset, Wells, and Bath, in addition to parts of Jersey and Devon, Mail Online reported.

The British Council of Film said the story unfolds during increased tension as it became evident that British wartime leader Winston Churchill would not chance an assault to re-take the island and the community began to unravel under the pressures of occupation, hunger, and divided loyalty.

The film is presently in post-production. No release date has been confirmed.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE