Channel Islanders come out in their thousands to celebrate Liberation Day

Channel Islanders came out in their thousands to celebrate the 78th anniversary of Liberation Day.

The day's events kicked off in Jersey, with people who lived through the Occupation invited to a breakfast at St Helier's Town Hall.

They were joined by evacuees from the time, as well as those who served overseas during the war.

One attendee described the day in 1945 as something you can "never forget", while another remembered celebrating outside the Pomme d'Or for three days straight with his parents as the British troops arrived.

The wet weather didn't deter crowds from turning up for the morning's ceremony in Liberation Square.

There were big cheers for those involved in the re-enactment of Force 135's liberation of the island.

People dressed up in military garb marched into town and raised the Union flag outside the Pomme d'Or, in tribute to one of the defining images from that day in 1945.

The Union Flag was raised outside the Pomme d'Or hotel as part of the re-enactment. Credit: ITV Channel

17-year-old Sydney Haskins had the honour of singing the island's unofficial anthem, Beautiful Jersey, at the ceremony.

She says it's important Liberation Day includes young islanders to ensure the tradition doesn't "die out."

Others who were involved during the day included local cadets and the Jersey Scout Band.

The Jersey Reds joined the parade on an open-top bus. Credit: ITV Channel

Meanwhile, in recognition of the team's remarkable win of the RFU Championship, the Jersey Reds took part in the parade.

They edged their way through town on an open-top bus, with the players proudly holding the trophy aloft for islanders to see.

However, the decision to include the team in the celebrations was met with mixed response from some who called it "disappointing."

In Guernsey, the cavalcade was the most popular event of the day.

Around a hundred vehicles, ranging from classic cars to vintage motorbikes and tractors, completed a lap of the island to mark its 78th year of freedom.

It's the third year the cavalcade has completed a longer route, but it's unclear if this will be continued in the future.

Either way, it was a unifying event for the island, with locals turning out in their droves to wave the vehicles on their way.

Guernsey Vintage and Classic Tractor Club, Stephen Torode, says: "Basically, we cover the whole island, so most people can get to see it somewhere and then it's not all town centered because the whole island was liberated, not just St Peter Port.

"I think it's a really good thing to bring everything together."

Around a hundred vehicles completed a lap of the island to mark its 78th year of freedom. Credit: ITV Channel

The importance of Liberation Day has been recognised by people from outside the Channel Islands as well.

Representatives from the UK, France, Germany and New Jersey spent the day in Jersey meeting local politicians and dignitaries.

Meanwhile in London, Jersey and Guernsey flags have been flying proudly outside the Houses of Parliament, and above the Ministry of Justice offices.

Mike Freer MP, the UK Justice Minister, says he was proud his department made the gesture.

He added: “The courage demonstrated by the people of the Channel Islands during the war will live long in our memories.

"We should celebrate the shared democratic values and centuries-old constitutional relationship between the UK and the Channel Islands.

"I wish everyone in the Channel Islands a very happy Jour d'la Libéthâtion / Liberâtiaon."

Watch special moments from Liberation Day 2023....

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