Family of Guernsey police officer sent to Nazi prison camp calls for justice 78 years on

  • Sophie Dulson has been following Frank Tuck's family's fight for justice

The family of a Guernsey Police officer jailed by the Nazis during the island's wartime occupation are calling for justice, 78 years after the war ended.

Police Constable Frank Tuck was one of 17 policemen convicted by Guernsey's Royal Court at the behest of the Nazis and sent to various prison camps around Europe.

Frank's daughter, Angela and granddaughter, Clare, are calling on Guernsey's States Assembly to apologise to Frank and his fellow officers for what happened to them during Guernsey's Occupation.

Angela McAllister (left) and Clare McAllister (right) are fighting for Frank's justice, 78 years after the war ended. Credit: ITV Channel

At the start of the German invasion, the States of Guernsey Police Service had 33 members.

They were advised not to leave the island to enlist in the British Army and instead remain in Guernsey to continue doing their duty.

But during the occupation, officers became deeply resentful at having to salute passing German soldiers and so began acts of resistance.

They cut telephone wires, put sand in the petrol tanks of German cars, and painted 'V' for victory signs around the island.

By the Winter of 1942, they began stealing food to feed the starving. Seventeen of the police officers involved were caught in the act and convicted of crimes against the Nazis.

Frank Tuck can be seen on the top row, fourth from the left, in this group photograph of the Guernsey Police. Credit: McAllister Family Archive

On 24 April 1942, the men were tried by the Germans and on 1 June 1942 in a controversial show trial, also by the local authorities in the Royal Court, on account of the civilian stores that had also been entered.

Tuck was sentenced to three years and six months hard labour by the Germans and to nine months hard labour by the Royal Court, to be served concurrently.

Court documents held at Guernsey Archive detailing the sentences imposed on the policemen by the Germans and the Royal Court in 1942. Credit: ITV Channel

It was a trial that is still deemed by Historians as one of the greatest injustices of Guernsey's Occupation.

Historian Dr Gilly Carr said: "Unwittingly, the Royal court was acting as a collaborationist court and I think this is the point that nobody likes to talk about and this is the point that nobody likes to speak out loud because the 'C' word is a dirty word, but in fact we must face facts, this is how that court acted in that moment in time."

  • Dr Gilly Carr explains the Guernsey Police trial

After sentencing, 16 of the convicted officers, including Frank, were handcuffed together and taken to Fort George prison in Guernsey until their deportation on 13 June 1942.

They were taken first to Jersey Prison for the night, then on to a prison in Granville for a few hours, and then to Caen Prison, all the while still in handcuffs.

The next stage of their journey took them to Fort de Villeneuve-Saint-Georges prison in Paris, for almost a month.

In the Summer of 1942, three of the policemen, including Frank, were among 100 men taken away on lorries for forced labour in Germany.

Their last stop was Neuoffingen labour camp, four miles outside the nearby small town of Gundelfingen, a camp that comprised only two barrack blocks on the edge of a forest. 

At least six Channel Islanders were imprisoned in Neuoffingen Forced Labour Camp, Frank Tuck was one of them.

Whilst in Neuoffingen labour camp, the men's jobs were to repair and build German railroads - a gruelling task that involved carrying railway sleepers, digging cable trenches, and unloading trucks full of stones.

Dr Carr said: "We know that all Nazi camps without exception were places of violence and brutality, they would have faced very violent overseers, who at the slightest excuse would have hit them and that would have meant hitting them with either weapons such as whips or rifles, or even the men's spades or pick axes that they were using."

Frank Tuck described his life at Neuoffingen camp as 'unbearable'. Credit: ITV Channel

It was thanks to the kindness of strangers that Frank and some of his fellow prisoners were able to survive this torture.

Help arrived in the form of two German women who lived close to the camp, Anna Stadler and her niece Annie Sailor.

They went on to hide food in the tracks and provided the men with shelter and warmth when they needed it most.

Frank's daughter Angela McAllister said: "This family were absolutely remarkable and had it not been for their help and saving my father's life and the lives of others we wouldn't be having this conversation today because dad would never have survived."

Annie Sailer, and her aunt, Anna Stadler, left food behind the railway sleepers and among the rails near where the men were working.

Neuoffingen labour camp was eventually liberated in April 1945 but the policemen's hopes of going back home to Guernsey quickly faded.

Frank and his fellow policemen were never able to return to life as they knew it, their criminal convictions meant they could no longer work in the police force - a sentence that would blacken their names forever.

Dr Gilly Carr said: "In a way they lost their birthright of living in Guernsey, they lost their reputations, they lost their health, they lost their mental health, they lost everything."

Seventy-eight years after the war ended and Frank's family are fighting to clear his name and the names of his fellow policemen.

They want Guernsey's government to publicly apologise for what happened to them all those years ago.

Angela McAllister said: " I feel very strongly, very angry about it and you have to ask the question why? Clearly, the facts are there you know my dad isn't a criminal but he is a hero, as are the fest of his collogues that suffered with him."

Frank was left with legal bills to pay after a Privy Council court case in which he unsuccessfully tried to clear his name in Guernsey. Credit: McAllister Family Archive

Frank's granddaughter, Clare made a visit to Guernsey to find out why her grandad could never return to his home and to understand why it is taking the States so long to agree to an apology.

ITV Channel arranged for her to meet Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, the politician heading up the case, to put these questions directly to him.

  • Frank's granddaughter, Clare McAllister, meets Deputy Le Tocq for the first time

Deputy Le Tocq says a policy letter has been drafted but is yet to be presented before the States.

Until that happens Clare and her family can't find the justice they feel Frank deserves.

The politician said: "From my own perspective I am sorry, I am sorry that you've had to wait so long, I am sorry for your Grandfather in the sense that he was mistreated and justice wasn't done in the way that it should have been done in that time."

Deputy Le Tocq promises the policy letter will be presented to the States soon and it will be debated before the States Assembly before the year is out.

For Clare and her family, the fight for Frank's justice continues. They can't rewrite the past but they can make sure Frank is remembered as a man of honour and someone willing to go to the extremest of lengths to help his fellow islanders.

  • Sophie Dulson sits down with Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq to get answers for the family

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