Second World War: How Channel Islanders Committed Treason

Mr Peter Tombs, who was a former British intelligence officer caused outrage in the Channel Islands when he mentioned on a local British television program that he was making the move to name and collectively sue residents of the islands who broke the law by “harbouring of the King’s enemy” at the time the Second World War was fought and the Germans occupied the place.

A Channel’s TV representative says their telephone line was jammed packed by angry callers who felt bitter about what Mr Tombs said. And according to him, while many of the callers reasons was to share their anger, only about one or two of them spoke about the flourishing black market activities and collaboration that took place between islanders and the Germans during the Second World War.

Channels Television said they invited Mr Tombs to their studio to participate in the program “Speak Out” after learning about his book and wanted to get more information about it like every normal journalist would do.

During the program, Mr Tombs said his plans were to name those who made a huge fortune by operating an illegal market in the course of the German occupation. He even went ahead to say that he will mention the name of a man who made so much money from the Germans that he had to rent a cart to transport his German currency to the bank where it was changed to the British pound after liberation.

Mr Tombs says all his information is genuine as they were gathered through interviews with people from the Islands as well as high-ranking Germans who took part in the occupation during the Second World War.

Talking about how a lot of the islanders made a fortune operating a flourishing black market that catered to the needs of the Germans, Tombs said the Germans he talked to were actually surprised there were no resistance from the people and as such, the islands were seen as a sort of wartime holiday camp by them.

Mr Tombs who lives in Norwich and currently a representative for a wood company is alleged to have written a book about the islanders flourishing black market during the Second World War. The book’s provisional title is “The Traitor Isles.” In it, he accused the Islanders of taking no action in resisting the Germans during the occupation that lasted 5 years.

On the part of the islanders, they have never denied not taking action. But according to them, it was impossible to put up resistance at the time. In spite of that, there were a few underground groups in existence. For example, there was a man from Guernsey that operated an underground news facility. He was on the Channels program with Mr Tombs, as well as another man that was a war-time activist.

Even though there are allegations of collaboration between the islanders and the Germans, newly found files about the German occupation during the Second World War shows there were some islanders who actually did some heroic acts in an attempt to resist the Nazis, The Guardian reports.

Talking about how he plans to handle the case, Mr Tomb’s said he had two options. According to him, one was to reach out to the Attorney-General to acquire an authorisation that would allow him start a treason case against the islanders. While the second option was to raise a question through the House of Commons so that treason can become a matter of record.

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Ian Harvey

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