Man, 96, who rang church bells as Jersey was freed from Nazis relives experience

  • Alex Spiceley met with Jersey resident Hedley Hinault to spring her own Liberation Day surprise.

A 96-year-old man from Jersey has relived the special moment he rang his parish's church bells as the island was liberated nearly 80 years ago.

On the morning of 9 May 1945, Hedley Hinault made his way across the fields and lanes to join other St Lawrence residents in ringing the parish's church bells, letting everyone know the island was free from German occupation.

Hedley recalls the "absolute joy" he experienced ringing the bell from 7am until 1pm.

Recreation photo: Hedley ran through the fields to ring his parish church bells and let islanders know they were finally free. Credit: ITV Channel

He said: "I felt it was my duty because I was the official church bell ringer.

"I wouldn't have said 'no, I'm not going to ring the bell' - I was in my glory to do it because the war was over."

The parish church will always be a special place for Hedley, who has lived in St Lawrence his whole life.

The church has existed since before 1198. in time of Richard the Lionheart Credit: ITV Channel

"I was born in the parish, I was baptised in the parish, I did all my schooling in the parish, I got married in the parish.

"St Lawrence is my life," said Hedley.

It's also where he spent the Occupation, with rations, curfews and German soldiers stationed every half mile.

He recalled: "You couldn't go outside the parish really... That's why we had to choose our girls from St Lawrence."

"I don't know if I got her or she got me," he added, speaking about his beloved.

"She was St Lawrence as well and again a farmer's daughter."

In the run-up to this year's Liberation Day on 9 May, Hedley had the chance to ring his parish church bells once more.

He said it was "wonderful".

"St Lawrence is my parish and to be able to do this again...

"I never thought I'd see myself ringing the parish church again. Never."

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