Liberation Day – 9th May
3rd May 2022
Found in: Blog -
This Monday sees the 77th anniversary of Liberation Day for the Channel Islands.
As one of the most important day in Guernsey’s calendar, our community comes together to commemorate the islands’ freedom from the German Occupation during World War II.
Throughout World War II, the Channel Islands were left undefended by British forces. With half of the population evacuated to England, those residents who remained lived under German Occupation for five very long years.
When it became clear that conquering Britain would be impossible, Hitler issued orders to convert the Channel Islands into an impregnable fortress as part of his infamous ‘Atlantic Wall’, heavily fortifying the only British territory he would ever conquer. By 1944 Guernsey’s coastline was covered in concrete fortifications, many of which can still be seen to this day.
Hundreds of reinforced bunkers, gun emplacements and tunnels were constructed, transforming our tiny archipelago into the most fortified place on earth. A colossal 8% of the entire Atlantic Wall’s concrete was poured into the Islands and they held more guns than the neighbouring 600 miles of Normandy coastline.
(Video credit: Visit Guernsey)
On 9th May 1945, liberating Allied forces negotiated the surrender of the islands. Landing in both Guernsey and Jersey, they were greeted by crowds of cheering islanders, celebrating their freedom.
2022 is the 77th anniversary of this monumental day and the islands continue to celebrate their freedom annually on 9th May.
The festivities provide an opportunity for islanders to remember the days of the Occupation, which played such a huge role in shaping both the landscape and the lives of the people of Guernsey.
2022’s Liberation Day will focus on community-based events throughout the island’s parishes. A variety of live music, family entertainment and fun filled activities are on offer from the 8 parishes taking part along with the island-wide cavalcade and Royal Visit from Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen being the highlight of the day.
If you can’t make it over to the island to celebrate with us this year, don’t worry as elements of the Liberation Day celebrations will be available to watch online, live throughout the day. Full information about the day’s events can be found here.
Liberation Day is such an incredibly important and poignant day in our island’s calendar; it is a day to reflect upon the hardships endured and sacrifices made during those dark 5 years as well as time to celebrate our liberation and freedom.