Jersey and neighbouring Channel Islands were the only part of the UK to be occupied by the Germans during the Second World War and were liberated on 09 May 1945, just one day after the end of war was declared.
HMS Beagle arrived in Jersey to accept the surrender of the occupying forces. Swastika flags were taken down and replaced by the Union Jack to cheering crowds. Guernsey was also liberated the same day.
Events to mark the liberation of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, from German occupation during World War Two now take place every year on that date and the raising of the British flag at the Pomme D’Or Hotel has been re-enacted every year since the 50th anniversary of the island’s liberation in 1995.
‘Liberation Day is first and foremost a time of celebration for Jersey, as the point at which we regained our freedom and autonomy. Yet it is also a chance to reflect on an experience that is still felt deeply in our Island and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the British led cause of freedom in the world,’ said Treasury and Resources Minister for Jersey Philip Ozouf.
The Jersey Flag is also raised at Whitehall in London to mark the liberation. ‘It is a significant symbol of Jersey’s strong relations with the United Kingdom, our historic partner and friend. Our relationship with the British Crown has existed for over 800 years and, as such, the Jersey flag flying in London is an important symbol of the unity of our past, present and future,’ added Ozouf.
On May 09 the liberation events include a ceremony in Liberation Square when not only is the flag raising market but also islanders gather to reflect on the events of the past and to celebrate the values and blessings of the present.
After the conclusion of the formal morning ceremony, the focus of attention shifts to Weighbridge Square where the more informal Liberation celebrations take place offering a combination of food and entertainment throughout the afternoon.
In recent years this event has had a 1940s theme, and a food fair is staged with animated stalls selling a range of local fares with a 1940s flavour. Specialist stalls provide items such as vintage clothing and confectionary from the 1940s and there’s a general street party atmosphere. A large mobile screen broadcasts the ceremony and shows archive footage and music and films from the period.