The story of Guernsey's wartime evacuees

During World War II, hundreds of islanders from Guernsey were sent from their homes to spend the war far from friends and family. Most ended up in the North-West of England and many remain there to this day.

ITV News travelled to Stockport to hear their stories and discover what the 70th anniversary of the Liberation means to them.

Our story...

The North-West of England welcomed evacuees from the Channel Islands with open arms, even if they didn't quite know what to expect.

They weren't sure what colour we'd be, to be honest, at home we spoke Guernsey French.

Mavis Brown, Guernsey evacuee

There were ladies on the steps and they came running down when they saw us standing there and one of them asked me who I was and I told her my name and how old I was and she turned to the lady next to her said, "Oh, thank goodness, they do speak English!"

Anne Misselke, Guernsey evacuee

But even if the welcome was warm, adjusting to a new life in a big place separated from your family where people spoke differently, was far from easy.

Can you imagine a 9-year-old, who had left her mother and father and didn't know where her sisters were. I've had three girls myself and I don't know how I could have sent them away for five years, but they didn't know it was for five years did they.

Irene Moss, Guernsey evacuee

1,200 evacuees were brought here to Stockport Town Hall, a world away from Guernsey.

Richard Smith was taken to the UK as a baby in the arms of a friend of his mother's. His mother was due to come the next day, but the boat never arrived and she never got there.

A family separation led to Richard, as a child, being told his mother was dead. It was 20 years before he learnt the truth in a letter.

I still thought she was dead and she was shocked to find I was still alive and she wanted to meet me, so I eventually met her when I was 26.

Richard Smith, Guernsey evacuee
Richard Smith and his mother, 20 years later

Some tried living back in Guernsey after the War, but just couldn't adjust. Now in their 70s and 80s, all the evacuees say, first and foremost, they are Guernsey people.

Guernsey's still my home and always will be. I get a lovely feeling when I get of the plane as though I am coming home.

Pamela Hallworth, Guernsey evacuee

Watch Wesley Smith's full report:

Contains Pathe footage