Former evacuees mark their Derbyshire ‘exile’

The plaque is unveiled by former Elizabeth College Guernsey pupils Lynn Lewis, Roy Queripel and Rob Champion
The plaque is unveiled by former Elizabeth College Guernsey pupils Lynn Lewis, Roy Queripel and Rob Champion

Former evacuees from Guernsey have unveiled a plaque at a Derbyshire church to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands from German occupation.

The boys, all former pupils at Elizabeth College, the main school for boys in Guernsey, spent five years in and around the Buxton area after being sent to Derbyshire just before German forces arrived in 1940.

During the war, the majority of the islands’ schoolchildren were evacuated to the county and lived in effective ‘exile’ for five years, without any phone contact with their families and only communicating with their parents via short Red Cross messages which would take several months to arrive.

One of them, Rob Champion, said: “Our whole school was evacuated by our wonderful headteacher who somehow found us all a place to stay in Derbyshire.

“The junior school was housed in Great Hucklow while the seniors were put in White Hall, near Buxton.

“I enjoyed my time in Derbyshire, but it was tough - I went from being ten-years-old to 15 during this time so they were my formative years really.”

Rob, now aged in his 80s, unveiled the stone plaque with two other former evacuees at St John the Baptist Church in Tideswell, where the college held its main services during the five years the pupils lived in Derbyshire.