Jersey

Grave of Jersey teen who survived concentration camps found

Frank Le Villio's registration card Image copyright Jersey Heritage
Image caption Frank Le Villio's occupation registration card shows he worked as a mechanic's apprentice

The grave of a Jersey teenager who may be one of two British survivors of the Nazi Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during World War Two has been found.

Frank Le Villio was 19 when he was arrested by the Germans in Jersey in 1944 after taking a "joyride" on a German soldier's motorbike.

Historian Stanley Keiller began researching his story for a talk about his own occupation experience.

He tracked him down to a pauper's grave in Nottingham.

Image copyright Sean Gallup
Image caption The 19-year-old was charged with military larceny and sent to a French prison before being transported around various camps

Mr Keiller said: "All the motor vehicles were confiscated; you can imagine a keen youngster couldn't resist the temptation to give a German bike a spin, they had no humour in them at all".

After the war Mr Le Villio made his way to Nottingham to live with his father, but died one year later of tuberculosis aged just 21, according to Mr Keiller.

The historian, who now lives in Devon, was looking into the story of Harold Osmond Le Druillenec, who survived Bergen-Belsen.

Mr Le Duillenec mentions Frank Le Villio in an account of his experience of travelling to the camp he gave to the BBC in 1946.

But in the account, recorded for a radio programme, Mr Le Duillenec says he parted ways with Frank before being taken to Belsen.

The family of Mr Le Villio say they are confident he also ended up in Bergen-Belsen at some point.

However, Historian Gilly Carr, from Cambridge University, said records show he was taken to the concentration camps at Neuengamme and Sandbostel - which she says was known as "Belsen in miniature" - but there is a lack of hard evidence to confirm he was sent to Bergen-Belsen.

After Mr Keiller discovered Frank survived the war and made his way back to Nottingham, he put out an appeal in the local newspaper.

Image copyright Derek Hailes
Image caption Since its discovery, the site of the paupers grave has been cleared and tributes laid down.

Father Derek Hailes, of St Cyprian's Church in Nottinghamshire, then contacted him, and was able to confirm Mr Villio had been buried in Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingh

He told Mr Keiller that Frank Villio had been buried in a "pauper's grave" along with seven others.

Following an appearance on BBC Radio Jersey by Mr Keiller a relative of Frank Le Villio, Stan Hockley, approached him to express his gratitude, saying "we never knew where he was".

Mr Hockley said he would be considering ways to bring Frank Le Villio's remains back to Jersey to be buried with his father and aunt.

Mr Keiller said: "I'm absolutely delighted that we established a connection with a member of the family."

More on this story