On May the 9th the people of Jersey celebrate the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II.
It is celebrated as Jersey’s national day. Here are some great photos of the day.
If you are visiting ‘The Island of Jersey’ you will need to bring a Camera with you.
Re-enacting the raising of flags on Liberation Day 2011
On 9 May 1945, HMS Beagle, which had set out from Plymouth, arrived in Jersey to accept the surrender of the occupying forces.
Two naval officers, one of whom was Surgeon Lt Ronald McDonald, were met by the Harbour Master who escorted them to the Harbour Master’s Office where they together hoisted the Union Jack, before also raising it on the flagstaff of the Pomme D’Or Hotel.
This has been re-enacted every year on Liberation Day since 1995. From 2003 to 2011 Harbour Master and Jerseyman Captain Howard Le Cornu performed this annually.
His father John E. Le Cornu and uncle David M. Le Cornu had been in the crowds and had witnessed the occasion on 9 May 1945.
Bank holidays on the ‘Island of Jersey’.
The Public Holidays and Bank Holidays (Jersey) Act 1952 established Liberation Day as a public holiday if it fell on a weekday.
The Public Holidays and Bank Holidays (Jersey) Act 2010 further laid down that Liberation was also to be a public holiday if it falls on a Saturday.
It is not a public holiday, and no day off in lieu is provided, if it falls on a Sunday.
Bailiff, Lieutenant-Governor and other officials in procession on Liberation Day 2012
Since the 50th anniversary of Liberation in 1995, a pattern of official ceremonies has developed based in and around Liberation Square in Saint Helier where the events at the Harbour Master’s Office and Pomme D’Or Hotel occurred in 1945.
Following a special sitting of the States of Jersey in the morning, States Members, clergy, the Bailiff of Jersey, the Lieutenant-Governor, Jurats, Crown Officers and other officials process from the Royal Square to Liberation Square accompanied by the Royal Mace and the Bailiff’s Seal.
An open air ecumenical service takes place in Liberation Square followed by the singing of “Man Bieau P’tit Jèrri”/”Beautiful Jersey” (in Jèrriais and English) and a re-enactment of the raising of flags (including that at Fort Regent).
Optomistic Voices will be singing songs of the era.
A parade of vintage and military vehicles, bands and service organisations is reviewed by the official party.
The afternoon community celebrations are of an informal character, including a programme of entertainments and stalls in Saint Helier.
An official ceremony also takes place at the Crematorium where there is a memorial to victims and slave workers of various nationalities. Representatives of affected nationalities take part in the commemoration.
Re enactment of the liberating soldiers
The German Occupation of Jersey began two weeks after the British government had de militarised the island fearing the safety of civilians should there be any conflict.
However, the German Air Force did bomb and machine gun the island, killing nine and wounding many more.
A few days later the German Commander of the Air Forces in Normandy dropped an ultimatum from the air demanding the immediate surrender of the island.
White flags and crosses were placed in prominent positions, as stipulated by the Germans, and the following day, July 2 1940; Jersey was occupied by air-borne troops under the command of Hauptmann Gussek.
Throughout the occupation, Hitler ordered the conversion of ‘the Island of Jersey’
into an impregnable fortress island.
Thousands of slave workers from countries like Spain, France, Poland, Russia, and Algeria built the
Underground Hospital in St. Peter for troops wounded in France.
Fortifications around the island were also built as part of Germany’s “Atlantic Wall”.