Hi there! This morning I attended for the first time (I was in Scotland at this time last year, do you remember?) at a major event in Jersey: Liberation Day. The island of Jersey has once again a common history with Normandy, since it was occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War.
The island of Jersey during the occupation of the Second World War
As I’m not a historian, I’ll only talk briefly about this historical period for Jersey. If you visit the island, there are many museums that will explain this part of history better than me, such as the War Tunnels for example. In July 1940 Germans started to occupy Jersey, Channel Islands. Before they arrived several inhabitants decided to leave the island to join the United Kingdom which was free. Just like in Normandy, the German troops quickly created new rules: by prohibiting the use of radios (in order to cut off the island from the rest of England) and time change to be align with Berlin for example. They also brought slave workers from Russia, France, and other European countries to build bunkers because Jersey was part of the Atlantic Wall.
May 9, 1945: the end of the German occupation of Jersey
In June 1944, the British government and Allied forces landed on the beaches in Normandy, including Arromanches and Utah Beach, to liberate France. But it took almost a year before Jersey became free as well. Meanwhile as you can imagine, the food in the island was rare as well as gas or electricity. On May 8, 1945, the Jersey Evening Post (the most popular newspaper in Jersey) and Churchill announced that the Anglo-Norman islands of Jersey and Guernsey were to be liberated. On May 9, 2915 a treaty was signed with the German commandos who were based in Jersey.
Liberation Day is celebrated every year in St Helier, the main town in Jersey
Since then, every year, the liberation is celebrated in front of the hotel Pomme d’Or in St Helier. This location is symbolic because the hotel was the headquarters of the Germans troops during the occupation. At the end of the occupation, on May 9, 1945, it’s therefore natural that the inhabitants gathered on ‘Liberation Square’ to celebrate their freedom. Celebrations are taking place around this area: in the morning you can listen to various speeches, songs, and testimonials from people who have lived during the occupation. Please note that you must buy a ticket if you want a seat in the square. After this ceremony, everyone can enjoy parades of vintage cars, fanfares, and on Weighbridge place (just opposite of Liberation Square) you can enjoy vintage dances and musics of all kinds all afternoon!
Were you aware this period of history in Jersey? Do you have any questions?
Boujou (the Norman way to say XOXO)
|If you don’t book a sit, you should arrive around 10am as it’s busy|