Channel Islands mark Liberation Day with first full-scale events in two years

  • Video report by ITV Channel's Richard Pallot


Today (9 May) Jersey and Guernsey celebrated the 77th anniversary of the end of the Occupation in the islands.

It has been the first time both islands have been able to hold full-scale-events in two years since the pandemic began.

Both islands have held several events for islanders to celebrate, including the visit of the Earl and Countess of Wessex to both islands.

Islanders have spent the day singing, dancing and hearing from the Royals themselves.


Jersey

Jersey hosted its first full-scale Liberation Day commemorative service this morning for the first time in two years.

Islanders gathered in Liberation Square, where Jersey's Bailiff Timothy Le Cocq addressed the crowds.

In his address, he said: "After the restrictions of the last two years it is marvelous to be here on this the 77th Anniversary of Jersey’s liberation from occupying forces.

"Liberation Day is the jewel in our island’s calendar, it's shine today is even greater by reason of the very welcome presence of their Royal Highnesses.

Jersey's Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, addressed crowds of islanders in Liberation Square. Credit: Government of Jersey

"On this day, when we remember Occupation and Liberation as part of our heritage, private and public memories combine. We must never and do not forget those who suffered during those years and those who were here in the occupation continue to remind us through their retelling of personal stories what it was like so we can learn from them."

The Bailiff paid respect to the late Connetable of St Saviour, Sadie Le Sueur-Renard, who passed away last month.

The Connetable was known for her rendition of “Beautiful Jersey” in English and Jerriais, which was often one of the central points of Liberation Day celebrations in the island.

Timothy Le Cocq also addressed islanders on the upcoming General Election in June, saying that he "makes no apology on this day of the celebration of liberty to urge you to exercise our right as free people to influence our future."

  • Jersey's Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II also shared her wishes to Jersey as they celebrate today.

"On the occasion of the Seventy-Seventh Anniversary of your Liberation from occupation, I send you my warmest greetings.

"As you remember the trials and hardship that the people of Jersey endured during the occupation in the Second World War, we are reminded of the courage and sacrifice of those who remained; those who were deported or evacuated from the Island; and those who served in the Armed Forces.

Credit: ITV Channel

"Today, as you come together to give thanks for the Liberation of the Island, I am delighted that The Earl and Countess of Wessex have had the opportunity to travel to Jersey to represent me on this special occasion.

"I recall my own visits with fondness and pleasure, and you always extended such a warm welcome. In my Platinum Jubilee year, I continue to cherish our close and long-lasting ties, founded on the loyalty that the people of Jersey have shown.

"My thoughts and prayers remain with my most loyal Members of the States and the people of Jersey for your continued happiness and prosperity."

The message was read to islanders during the ceremony by His Royal Highness, the Earl of Wessex.

In their visit to the island, the Earl and Countess of Wessex also unveiled the official Saluting Gun Battery for Jersey at Fort Regent, in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Credit: ITV Channel

Guernsey

Islanders in Guernsey were treated to the return of the island-wide Cavalcade today.

More than 100 vehicles took part, including those from the military and classic cars, and travelled around each of the island's 10 parishes.

TV personality, Robert Rinder - commonly known as Judge Rinder, is in Guernsey to mark the celebrations.

ITV Channel's Jonathan Wills met with Robert this morning to speak about his visit to the island.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex travelled to Guernsey this afternoon (9 May) to continue Liberation Day celebrations and attended the Liberation Tea Dance at Beau Séjour.

Credit: ITV Channel

The Wessexes got involved with the celebrations too and danced alongside Robert Rinder and islanders.


Liberation Day 2022

What is Liberation Day?

Liberation Day marks the end of the Second World War for Jersey and Guernsey, when they were freed from German Occupation.

The Channel Islands were the only United Kingdom territories to be occupied by the German Forces.

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When is Liberation Day?

Liberation Day is celebrated on the 9 May each year. It is a bank holiday for the Channel Islands.

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What is special about Liberation Day this year?

Due to the pandemic, Jersey and Guernsey were unable to hold large scale celebrations for the 75th anniversary of Liberation.

This year, although it has been 77 years since occupation ended, the islands are continuing the celebrations which were due to take place in 2020.

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Do Sark and Alderney have the same Liberation Day?

No, Sark and Alderney celebrate Liberation Day differently to Jersey and Guernsey.

Sark was liberated on 10 May 1945, and the German troops in Alderney surrendered on 16 May 1945.

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