Ambrose Sherwill

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Sir Ambrose James Sherwill KBE MC (1890-1968) was Bailiff of Guernsey from 1946 to 1959.

Early Life

Ambrose Sherwill was born on 12 February, 1890, at Les Landes, Castel to James Edward Sherwill and Elizabeth Annie (née Roberts).

He attended the Guernsey High School, Elizabeth College and the Lycée de Cherbourg, after which he took a Bachelier en Droit (1913) and Licencié en Droit (1914) at Caen University.

Great War == When war came, Sherwill volunteered in London as a dispatch rider and enlisted as a Petty Officer Air Mechanic in No. 8 Squadron of the Armoured Car Division of the Royal Naval Air Service. He trained in England and served in Belgium as a dispatch rider for the British Attaché to the Military Governor of Dunkirk. He came under shell fire from 'Big Bertha' while in Dunkirk, after which he returned to England. His division was broken up and No. 8 Squadron disbanded, and he joined the Airship Section of the RNAS at Walney Island, Lancashire.

Recommended for a commission in the East Kent Regiment ('The Buffs'), he left the Airship Station in January 1916 for the western front with the 8th Buffs. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in 1917 for bravery at the Battle of Messines, being promoted to Lieutenant shortly afterwards. Wounded in the battle, he returned to London for several months.

In February 1918 the 8th Buffs were disbanded and Sherwill joined the 24th Divisional Depot Battalion, serving again on the front during the German March Offensive. Severely wounded on 23 March 1918 in front of Peronne, he was taken back to London where he stayed in a hospital bed until mid-July, after which he resumed his studies in law.

Discharged from hospital on 11 November 1918, he was sent to join the 2nd Battalion Royal Guernsey Light Infantry at Fort George in Guernsey, but still having shell fragments in him, was operated on and he had to spend 30 days in hospital. With this came automatic demobilisation.


Sherwill was called to the Guernsey and English Bar (Middle Temple) in 1920. He married May de Beauvoir Clabburn in the same year.

Sherwill was People's Deputy for St Peter Port from 1921 to 1926 and was made H.M. Comptroller in 1929 and HM Procureur in 1935.

World War II

During World War II, he was President of the Controlling Committee from 21 June to 30 December 1940 during the first year of the German Occupation, but in early November was deported to Cherche-Midi prison, Paris for his part in the Nicolle and Symes affair. Jurat John Leale took over as acting president of the Controlling Committee until the Germans officially removed Sherwill from the position.

In July 1942, Sherwill was allowed by the Germans to return as HM Procureur, but was deported to Laufen Internment Camp in Germany in February 1943, along with other ex-officers of the Great War.

Post-war Career and Death

He returned to Guernsey after the War, and served as Bailiff between 1946 and 1959. He was knighted in 1949. In 1960 he retired to Alderney, where he died in 1968.

Bailiffs of Guernsey
Predecessor Successor
Sir Victor Gosselin

Sir Ambrose Sherwill
Sir William Arnold


  • Marr, J, Guernsey People, Phillimore, 1984
  • Sherwill, A, A Fair and Honest Book - the Memoirs of Sir Ambrose Sherwill, Stephen Devonald, 2006
  • Who's Who in Guernsey, 1937
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