"Deliberate Murder" Death of a Guernsey Lifeboatman

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by brithm, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    On the 28th June 1940 Harold Frederick Charles Hobbs was one of many civilians killed in Luftwaffe raids on Jersey, whilst on an "errand of succour to Jersey" with the crew. Jersey was in three raids for two hours. Hobbs was shot near St. Aubin's Harbour whilst on the Guernsey lifeboat.

    On the 27th June Chief Inspector of Lifeboats wanted to evacuate the Jersey Lifeboat the Howard D could not a raise a crew asked for assistance from the Guernsey Lifeboat crew; so that both Lifeboats Howard D and ON 672 to be brought back to Cowes, England via Guernsey.

    On 28th June at 16.05 hrs Guernsey crew left St. Peter Port travelled on the relief lifeboat Alfred and Clara Heath, crew was made up of seven men Coxswain Fred Hobbs, Second Coxswain Fred Zabiela, Bowman Bill Gourney, Harold Hobbs, Alex Hobbs, Fred Zabila Jnr and engineer Gerald Dunstan.

    “All went well until they reached Norimont Point about 15 minutes steaming from the Jersey Harbour, when three German aeroplanes appeared astern and dived down to a few hundred feet above the Lifeboat and machine gunned the boat and crew. The crew layed flat on the bootm of the boat, the Coxswain to keep a look out.” The boat zig zagged running up to St Aubin’s Bay grounded on the beach into the rocks, everyone jumped over the side and Harold Hobbs was shot in the head, Dunstan had a bullet graze his knee.

    Jersey Post “Mr Harold Hobbs, who is aged 34, was the son of the coxswain of the Guernsey lifeboat… ‘There six of us in the Guernsey lifeboat and we were off Normont when six lanes machine-gunned us. They fired enough bullets to kill a battalion and killed my son outright. He did not suffer, that is one consolation. The rest of us were quite unhurt.’” Crew managed to get the boat back to St. Heliber at 19.45 hrs.

    After the Germans invaded the Channel Islands Harold’s mother Rita had to negotiate for the body to be repatriated back to Guernsey with a German naval officer “believed to be…Hauptmann Obermeyer” said to have been shocked by the attack especially on a lifeboat. Harold Hobbs was buried with a Union Flag as he enrolled in the RNVR in 1928 [AX 14629] Germans even offered guard of honour and fire a salute over his grave; not one of the most sensible offers.

    The bombers were Heinkel He111s of 1/Gruppe Kampfgeschwader 55; there seems to be conjecture over whether the Germans knew about the demilitarisation of the islands with evacuation of troops a week earlier. Harold Hobb’s son claim that the raid was in retaliation for shooting down a German aircraft. Others claim, especially in the Wikipedia page, that the Germans had no knowledge of the islands demilitarisation and that on the evening of the 28th June an announcement was made via Joseph P. Kennedy, USA London Ambassador, to the German government that the Islands were not “…legitimate target for bombardment”.

    Thirty-four civilians were killed on the 28th June 1940. This was put together from newspaper articles and Simon Hamon’s Channel Islands Invaded.

    JWT Research 28th June 1940 Air Raid

    Death of a Guernsey Lifeboatman off Jersey

    Tribute to wartime lifeboat crewman

    Remembering a Guernsey lifeboatman

    Harbour bombing lives on in victim’s son’s mind

    Attached Files:

    Hugh MacLean and Dave55 like this.

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