Jersey Marks 68 Anniversary of Liberation From German Forces

 

Jersey Marks 68 Anniversary of Liberation From German Forces

Photo: Ryan Morrison/BBCnews

Events have been held throughout Jersey, the Channel island off the coast of Normandy that has close ties with the French, to mark the 68th anniversary of its liberation from the German Occupation.

The main event is held on the 09 May every year in Liberation Square which includes marching bands, a display of vintage military vehicles and a wreath laying ceremony as well as a re-enactment of the actual moment of liberation.

This year members of Jersey’s Territorial Army in period uniform re-enacting coming ashore and marching up the Albert Pier towards the old Harbour Office before raising the Union Jack at the Pomme d’Or hotel.

A giant Liberation party sees thousands join in to classic tunes from the 1940s with Jitterbug and Lindy Hop dancing. Vintage films are also shown on a big screen.

There was also a commemoration for people who were forced into work and slave labour by the Germans as they built massive fortifications to turn Jersey into what Hitler described as ‘an impregnable fortress’. Many islanders died and others were malnourished due to severe shortages of food.

The island bears many scars from the five year military occupation which began two weeks after the British government had demilitarised the island over fears for the safety of civilians as the German Army moved across France in the summer of 1940.

On the 02 July 1940 Jersey was occupied by airborne German troops and a Gestapo branch was set up on the island which indiscriminately searches houses, questioned civilians and took men to forced labour camps in Germany.

When the Allied forces landed in Normandy on D-Day in 1944 and then moved across France, Jersey remained occupied. It was not until 09 May 1945 after the German Army had surrendered that the island was freed.

Many of the fortifications still exist and the Channel Islands Occupation Society opens some of the bunkers to the public during the summer months from May to September.

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About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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