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13 November 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > History > Occupation > Bill Green's Occupation

Harbour in 1940s

The harbour where Bill missed his boat

Bill Green's Occupation

Listen back to some excerpts from an Occupation memories phone-in focussing on the stories of one Guernseyman.

Bill Green never intended to stay in Guernsey during the German Occupation, he hoped to serve in the armed forces, but he was unable to leave in time.

Local historian Bill Bell spoke to Mr Green at length and his stories provided the material for one of his books - Guernsey Green.

Bill Bell and Bill Green's daughter Maggie joined Jim Cathcart in the studio to talk about the Occupation and field questions and comments from callers.

Bill and Maggie started off by introducing Bill Green for those who did not know him.

Bill described Bill Green as a "great encouragement" in his search for Occupation stories.

"I used to listen to his stories, lovely stories, marvellous stories and he used to get on to me to stand for the States and I used to get onto him that he should write his memoirs. He said if you stand for the States then I'll write my memoirs."

So after Bill had successfully stood for the States Bill Green had to keep his side of the bargain so they set about writing them together: "For a few weeks he came round every Wednesday afternoon and we taped his reminiscences."

After those weeks Bill Green called them off as: "I haven't got time for this, my social life doesn't allow for it." Bill was hooked though and spoke to Bill Green whenever he could and that culminated in the book.

During the Occupation Bill Green was the cycle dealer in Smith Street helping islanders to get round despite the lack of available fuel, but it was at her Jerbourg home that his daughter Maggie remembers sneaking to their neighbours after curfew to listen to crystal sets, homemade radios banned by the German Occupiers.

Bill Green always had a love of motorcycles and when this love and his unwillingness to do anything to help the Germans crossed he ended up in a situation he was not happy with, where he fixed the German motorbikes.

A caller to the phone-in, John, worked with Bill Green and had plenty of good things to say about him and he also pointed out that "he was the kind of man that he either liked you or he didn't".

Maggie spoke about moving house at Jerbourg after the Germans took over their home, remembered destroying a model of the minefields after the war and how her father mellowed in his opinion of the Germans in his later years.

Maggie pointed out how important it was to speak to your parents and more important to listen to their stories and that she feels lucky that Bill had spoken to her father and written a lot of his stories down.

last updated: 28/08/2008 at 13:40
created: 28/08/2008

You are in: Guernsey > History > Occupation > Bill Green's Occupation

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