29th April 1941

Law heralds creation of wartime currency

One form of petty crime was more problematic during the Occupation than others: theft. But not the theft of food or fuel, as might be expected. This was the theft of local currency by German soldiers.

Technically, if they’d earned the cash they took home or been given it in change, it was theirs to do with as they chose, but taking it back to Germany as a souvenir quickly became problematic. Quite simply, Jersey ran out of money as the local notes and coins were disappearing and not being replaced, causing problems when it came to paying for goods and services, paying staff and so on.

Locally made notes

So, the Occupation authorities passed the Currency Notes (Jersey) Law on 29 April 1941, which made provision for the design and production of a whole new set of notes. They were to be designed and printed locally for use solely within the island. Initially, this law only allowed for the production of two-shilling notes, which were to be printed using blue ink on orange paper, but when this proved a success the law was amended to allow a greater variety of monetary values to be created. By the end of the war, six pence, one shilling, two shilling, ten shilling and £1 notes had all been created under the same authority.

Subversive designer

Famed Jersey-born designer Edmund Blampied was tasked with designing the six pence note, which was printed using red ink, into which he incorporated an oversized X which, when folded in half, formed a subversive V for victory. This was a common – and popular – motif among locals, as the Jersey resistance had been painting it on walls for some time.

Either the authorities didn’t realise what Blampied had done, or they chose to overlook it, but the following year they asked him to design local stamps, too, when the supply that had been sent over from the mainland before the start of the war ran out, and the practice of slicing the dwindling stocks in half, diagonally, was no longer practical.


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Other events that occured in April