Comments

'Lunch break'-an interview of Sir Peter Crill, the former Bailiff of Jersey, by Michelle Cuthbert on his retirement from office. Talks about his childhood-had a stable, happy childhood. His grandfathers on both sides were farmers. His great grandfather on his mother's side was farming in St Helier and was a victim of two bank crashes at the end of the nineteenth century. His father had a farming background and he went into his uncle's office who was a solicitor, George Philip Crill. He later became a Jurat and had to go the Privy Council to be sworn in because there was a row after he was elected over a previous case that he had tried. Was sworn in 1913 and was later made president of the Education Committee. His father had gone into the office-he was in the militia-his father met his mother and wooed her for 10 years as she went off to America as her father emigrated to Australia. She told him that he'd need to qualify for her to marry him and he qualified and went to marry her in America in 1913. His father was constable of St Clement from 1916 until 1958. He had 2 brothers and 2 died in child birth. He was born in London as his mother went over to be careful. His eldest brother joined the firm in 1939 and was later thrown out of the army because he was going deaf. He transferred to civil affairs and was killed in his bed because he didn't hear the air raid warnings and died in Paris in 1944. He grew up spoilt and indulged. He was a lazy child-liked reading but also liked exploring the countryside of St Clement. Had a country upbringing. Remembers the railway especially using it to get into town when he was 4 without telling his parents. Great Uncle George found him and put him back on the train. Did a lot of bicycle riding and a small boat. Someone suggested he should go to the sail maker of the Westward, TB Davis' yacht and he did and got the sail designed by him, Mr Bridges. From 1937 until the war he kept her at La Hocq and got to know all of the channels in the area. Had great fun with the boat. He went to St Clement's Church. Church was an important part of his life. He started at the Dame School of Miss Le Brocq. She gave him a good grounding and then he went to Victoria College Prep where he fell under the influence of Miss Aubrey. She was a great teacher-has her reports on him and it was said that he talked too much. The Prep was in an old house called Mount Pleasant. Started with Miss Bunnett as headmistress-remembers her being scary. He was a spoilt boy who got fat. Wasn't fond of ball games although he liked swimming. Went up to Victoria College in 1935 aged 10 where he stayed until 1943. Had good masters before the war. The boarding house was big in those days-a nucleus of boys lived at the boarding house. At school he was somewhat idle-he was at least a year below the average age of the form-found it difficult. Managed to get his school certificate before he was 15. When occupation came he wasn't evacuated with the school certificate group. Stayed because his mother met the then Bailiff, Lord Coutanche, in St Helier and he told her to keep him in Jersey as the occupation wouldn't last. One of his oldest friends is Roy Mourant who he escaped with. He used to have all night parties to avoid the curfew. Had one at St James' Vicarage with boys and girls in the dormitories. Decided to escape because it became clear in the summer of 1944 that Jersey was not to be liberated. During August a few people tried to escape on a float but failed. Had to plan if you were going and so they did. In 1942 all boats had to be put into store. He kept his in the parish quarry at the top of La Hocq Hill and then put his into Norman's in Commercial Buildings. Recruited John Floyd with Roy Mourant in the plan. They had to get the boat out of Commercial Buildings. They borrowed a furniture removal van and pretended to be removal men and took the boat from Commercial Buildings. Borrowed a key from his father of a property of somebody who had left. Put his boat in the garage of the house and got his boat decked over. His parents only knew about it towards the end. They were lucky when they escaped-they made a lot of noise and were seen off by a number of people. Spent 17 hours in the boat. When they arrived in France they had taken some brandy with them which he drank and promptly fell out the boat. They went up the beach and gave themselves up to a Frenchman who kept them for the night until the Americans were due to arrive the next day. He later sold the boat and they spent 10 days in Cherbourg before being transferred to London. He planned to join up when he was in London and phoned his cousin who was in the army who told him about his brothers death. Was given 6 months rest and recreation before joining up and his elder brother told him to use it. He then met Professor Laurie Bisson, a Jerseyman, who was at Pembroke College, Oxford who persuaded him to join the University. Went to Oxford having been sponsored by Lord du Parcq and gained a scholarship. Spent two terms in the Spring and Summer of 1945 in the Officers Training Corps but before he was able to join up the war ended. Had law in his blood. Near the end of the occupation he did some local preaching in the anglican church-was licenced by the dean to take matins and even song. Had planned to become ordained but decided his father needed him to help in the family business. Went to London to take the Bar Exams and came back to Jersey in 1949 and joined his father's firm of Crill-Benest. In his approach to law Lord Denning was influential. Relied on his father's knowledge at the beginning as there weren't any advocates exams when he came back. He was the one who introduced the exam in 1954 when he was the President of Legislation in the States. He admired how Lord Coutanche ran his court. Also admired Advocates Vibert and Valpy. A learned advocate was Advocate Peter Giffard. Became a Deputy from 1951-58 and a Senator from 1960-62 before becoming solicitor general. Missed meeting clients in the private practice and had to acquire conversational skills. People unsure of how to address him when he became bailiff. Sang from 1957 in St Helier's Church Choir and later Trinity Church. Decided that the Catholic Church was the church he wanted to join and was received into the church in July 1995. Looked back with pleasure at his time as solicitor general and deputy bailiff as he was under people and was learning on the job. As attorney-general he prosecuted the Beast of Jersey, Edward Paisnel. Originally the deputy-bailiff was intended to be an alter-ego of the bailiff but it didn't work that way as there needed to be a leader of the States. Is unsure whether the bailiff would ever leave the States-it would change the constitution radically. Talks about the bailiff's role. Feels his greatest achievement was being appointed bailiff. Enjoyed the royal visit in 1989. The Bailiff of Jersey and Guernsey were invited to the Commonwealth Lawyers Conference of Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth in 1988 in London which he enjoyed. Satisfied by the judgement in the Waterworks Case on the rating assessment by the Parish of Grouville. His darkest hour was the trouble 3 years previously. For hobbies he reads, walks and gardens. Has joined a livery company in London and has been asked to be the President of the Jersey Scout Association. His unfulfilled pleasure would have been to charter a boat in the West Indies and sail around. Finishes with a piece of music.

Reference

R/07/B/26

Date

1995 - 1995

Names

Bisson, Laurie, Profesor
Paisnel, Edward
du Parcq, Lord Justice
Pembroke College, Oxford
Normans Limited
Crill-Benest
Denning, Lord
Floyd, John
Mourant, Roy
Westward (Yacht)
Bridges, Mr
Education Committee
Victoria College Preparatory School
Victoria College
Aubrey, Miss
Burnett, Miss
Le Brocq, Miss
Coutanche, Lord Alexander Moncrieff, 1892 - 1973, Bailiff of Jersey, 1935-1961
Crill, Geofrrey Peter
Valpy, Advocate
Giffard, Peter
St Helier Church
Trinity Church
Cuthbert, Michelle
Crill, Sir Peter Leslie, Bailiff of Jersey 1986 - 1995
BBC Radio Jersey

Keywords

Constables | Farming | Schools | Choirs | roman catholicism | Religion | Churches | Second World War | Railways | Sailing | Occupation | escapees | lawyers | senators | deputies | States of Jersey Assembly | attorney-generals | solicitor-generals | deputy bailiffs | Bailiffs | advocates | solicitors | interviews | sound | sound recordings | radio stations | radios | Paris | Cherbourg | London | La Hocq | Mount Pleasant | Commercial Buildings

Dimensions

1 sound cassette

Language

English

Level of description

file

Access Restriction

Master Copy-Needs to be Copied

Closed until

2100

Context:

R/07/B/26This item»
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