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13 November 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > History > Occupation > Bailiff during the Occupation

Bailiff Victor Carey

Victor Carey speaks on 8 May 1945

Bailiff during the Occupation

Former Bailiff Sir de Vic Carey spoke about his grandfather and his role as the Bailiff of Guernsey during the Occupation.

Jim Cathcart was joined in the studio by local historian Bill Bell and former Bailiff Sir de Vic Carey, the grandson of the Bailiff and Lieutenant Governor during the Occupation.

Bill Bell gave a brief biography: "Victor Gosselin Carey was born on 2 July 1871 and died in 1957 at the age of 85.

"He was the son of a general and the leading member of one of Guernsey’s oldest families. He was receiver general from 1912-1935."

Sir de Vic explained the Receiver General role is now combined under the role of the Procurer but its role was to keep the books for the crown revenues.

Bill continued, "When the Bailiff of Guernsey Arthur William Bell died suddenly in 1935 the normal succession would have been for Ambrose Sherwill to be appointed but he had only been in office as Her Majesty's Procurer for a matter of weeks, so instead the 64-year-old Receiver General Victor Carey became Guernsey's new Bailiff.

"It was felt that he could fill the vacancy for five years as although the warrant of appointment contained no official retirement date he came to Guernsey’s supreme office as a kindly, elderly gentleman of generous proportion with a reputation for courtesy and charm.

"He was a staunch traditionalist and Conservative who on occasions could appear to be impatience. He was variously described as rosy cheeked and grandfatherly, pink faced and chubby, elderly and vague, gentle and kind with innate courtesy and charm which made him congenial and popular."

The Guernsey Press reporting in 1945 said, "From the first day of the Occupation until the last the Lieutenant Governor and Bailiff of Guernsey Mr Victor Carey has never been absent from his arduous and difficult post."

Bill's research over the years has left him with the impression that he served the island extremely well.

He explained what had happened to his grandfather before the Occupation: "He was told to stay in the islands, he was told the islands will be demilitarised, you will be the civil Lieutenant Governor, there will be no armed forces, you will not have any mandate to resist the Germans, you sit tight until the war ends. Everyone thought it would be a matter of months not five years."

At the same time Sir de Vic aged just ten days old was evacuated with his family to Somerset.

Bill explained that the Controlling Committee and Bailiff both received criticism for some of the decisions they made or that were published under their authority, but that while they could say what they had decided they could not explain why leaving them open to criticism from those without all the information available.

Sir de Vic Carey explained his Grandfather found the Germans "very nasty" people to deal with.

last updated: 08/01/2009 at 11:49
created: 25/11/2008

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