Dame Sibyl Remembered
A team from BBC Radio were in Sark this weekend to record a dramatisation of the first meeting between the German forces and Dame Sibyl Hathaway at the start of the Occupation in July 1940. It is a part of a programme celebrating the Liberation of the Channel Channels due to be broadcast in early May this year compiled by actor John Nettles. The programme will also feature music and songs from the era as well as extracts from letters and diaries written during the Occupation. John Nettles is an expert on this period of the islands’ history having made a series called The Channel Islands at War followed by a book on the same subject called Jewels and Jackboots. The radio piece recalls July 3rd 1940 when Major Dr Albrecht Lanz, the German Kommandant in Guernsey, and Dr Mass, a naval surgeon, visited Dame Sibyl at her home in the Seigneurie to deliver the first of many orders. She deliberately placed her desk at the far end of the drawing room so that the two officers had a long walk from the door. They were surprised that she spoke good German and appeared not to be afraid but she was very firm with them. It was meeting that was to set the tone of the relationship between Sark and the occupiers for the almost five years to follow.
Words and photo by Sue Daly.
Photo – John Nettles at La Seigneurie with radio engineer & director Oliver & Michael