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Bailiff of Jersey's Liberation Day speech

William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

Below are some extracts from the Bailiff of Jersey's Liberation speech that he delivered today in Liberation Square.

Those who were here on 9th May 1945, if they are old enough, will remember people smiling and laughing, perhaps for the first time in years, and a huge sense of relief, of joy and of optimism.

It is important to recognise that when times are hard people can act both heroically or less than heroically, and sometimes the elements of a person’s character or their circumstances are mixed up only slightly differently to produce one outcome or the other.

If we recognise that, it is possible to reconcile ourselves to each other, whether those points of difference arose in 1940 or at any time thereafter.

– William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

It is sometimes said that Liberation day belongs to those who were here in Jersey on 9th May 1945.

I think it belongs to others too - the day is important not only for those who suffered the Occupation here as children, but also for the families of those who evacuated, whether for safety or to join His Majesty’s Forces in defence of the realm and were unable to return to their homes and families for five years; and to those who were deported.

– William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

One has only to look at the faces of those in the Royal Square on 8th May 1945, shown on the back of today’s programme.

They show anxiety and disappointment, expressions in which desperation for freedom is mixed with worry that there may yet be a pitched battle between German and British forces with destruction and civilian casualties.

The smiles on the front cover in the days immediately following 9th May show a different picture.

They demonstrate that 9th May is indeed a life-enhancing day.

It is against that background that I wish you all a very happy and rewarding 70th anniversary of liberation.

– William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey

Your island needs you!

Action from a previous Liberation Day in Guernsey

Guernsey's Liberation Groundforce, the group of volunteers that will ensure the smooth running of the days celebrations, are desperately in need of more people.

With nearly 2,000 cruise ship passengers adding to the bumper crowds expected in the island for the 70th anniversary, volunteers will be as important as ever.

A full day of entertainment and activities are planned down in St. Peter Port plus the visit of HRH The Countess of Wessex and the Condor Liberation Cavalcade, meaning it is set to be a very busy day.

The streets of St Peter Port will be backed to celebrate Liberation Day

It's now less than two weeks to go until the Channel Islands mark the anniversary of Liberation Day with organisers still looking to recruit people to help the Groundforce.

The primary objective of being part of the team will be to be a visible point of contact for all members of the public who are seeking information about the activities and entertainment or require assistance.

Vic Groves is again leading the volunteers for this years 2015 Liberation Day and is calling for all the support he can get.

Most people when they've done it, well nearly all of them, they come back and say what a great day it was.

We weren't just watching it we were part of it.

I'm short, I need more. Your island needs you, that's our motto. Anyone who can spare two hours or three hours in the morning or two to three hours in the afternoon, 11 o'clock start or 2 o'clock start. Brilliant, if they could help that would be marvelous.

– Vic Groves, Volunteer organiser

Islanders in Guernsey have the chance to meet the Countess of Wessex

Credit: JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

The States of Guernsey has revealed the itinerary for Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex's visit on Liberation Day.

HRH Sophie Wessex is coming to both Guernsey and Jersey as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations.

Her visit in Guernsey will begin with her present at the parade and open-air church service at Footes Lane.

HRH will then travel to St Peter Port to unveil a commemorative stone, before meeting islanders during a half an hour walkabout.

Free train rides for Guernsey children on Liberation Day

Children will be able to take a free train ride along the St Peter Port seafront on Liberation Day,

A 27 foot train called Lennie is coming to the island for the 70th anniversary celebrations.

The 24-seater train will take people from the bus terminus, along the South Esplanade right around the roundabout at the slaughterhouse and back along to the front of the bus terminus.

The train is being brought here by the insurance company 1stCentral.


Just one month left until Liberation Day celebrations

Liberation Day re-enactment

Today marks just one month to go until the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day for the Channel Islands.

Jersey and Guernsey were liberated from Nazi control on 9th May 1945, whilst Sark was a day later.

This year Guernsey's Liberation Day Cavalcade is set to be the biggest in years.

The parade will include 135 pre-1946 European military vehicles and vintage cars, tractors and motorcycles.

Other events include a trilogy of films about the occupation made in Guernsey, which will be screened at the Town Church.

Meanwhile in Jersey plans are in place for a celebration and ceremony in People's Park, a re-enactment in Liberation Square and a Grand Liberation Parade as well as fireworks to finish the day off.

Deadline to get tickets for Liberation Day celebrations fast approaching

Previous Liberation Day celebrations in Guernsey

The closing date for applications for seated tickets at the 2015 Liberation Outdoor Church Service that will be held at Footes Lane in Guernsey on Saturday 9 May 2015 is later this week.

Ticket applications for the war time generation to secure a seat in the Garenne Stand must be received by Thursday 2nd April 2015.

Those who were either in Guernsey for the occupation or were deported or evacuated are the highest priority for this special Church Service.

In line with previous major anniversary years the traditional Royal Court Service held at the Town Church and the Churches Together in Guernsey Peoples Service have been combined for this year into a special single service.

The service will be attended by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Air Marshal Peter Walker CB CBE and the Bailiff Sir Richard Collas.

The link between the war time generation and the children of today is the central theme to this special commemorative and celebratory church service.

We would like to provide seating for as many of those who were occupied, deported or evacuated as possible and all application forms are encouraged and welcomed.

– Jurat Claire Le Pelley, Chair of the Liberation Outdoor Church Service

Application forms for seated tickets can be picked up from the Guernsey Press, the Guernsey Information Centre, Sir Charles Frossard House and Beau Sejour Leisure Centre.

They can also be requested by emailing

The official application form then needs to be returned to:

Liberation Outdoor Church Service, c/o Beau Sejour Leisure Centre, Amherst Road, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2DL.

Full details of the content of the Liberation Outdoor Church Service, including timings, transport and parking facilities and restroom facilities will be announced after Easter.

Jersey War Tunnels to hold week-long celebrations for Liberation

For the first time in history, Jersey War Tunnels will host a week of special events in commemoration of Liberation.

The attraction will be opening day and night to offer a whole programme of talks, events and celebrations to mark the very special 70th anniversary of Liberation.

Events for islanders and visitors include a talk by Gulf War veteran John Peters, a candlelight tour of the tunnels at night and Occupation cooking by Celebrity chef Shaun Rankin.

A percentage of proceeds from every event will be donated to the British Red Cross.

The festivities will last from Monday 4th May until Sunday 10th May.

This is the most ambitious programme of events that we have ever held at Jersey War Tunnels. We are determined to make the 70th Anniversary of Liberation special for everyone and so we have designed a programme that will engage with all age groups in our community and help keep our history alive.

We are especially delighted to be welcoming John Peters to our Island to host a very special and poignant evening. He is an astonishing speaker and we are so fortunate that he has agreed to join us to mark this milestone in our history.

– Kathy Bechelet, Operations Manager, Jersey War Tunnels

Tickets for the special events will go on sale mid-April. You will be able to purchase them from the Jersey War Tunnels website or by calling 01534 860808.

Could you be part of the Liberation Groundforce?

Previous Liberation Day celebrations in Guernsey

With less than 50 days to go until the Channel Islands mark the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day, organisers of this year’s celebrations in Guernsey are calling out for volunteers.

A full day of entertainment and activities are planned down in St. Peter Port plus the visit of HRH The Countess of Wessex and the Condor Liberation Cavalcade, meaning it is set to be a very busy day.

As a result the Liberation Groundforce, the volunteer stewards, will be an integral part to making sure the day runs smoothly and is as successful as possible.

The primary objective of being part of the team will be to be a visible point of contact for all members of the public who are seeking information about the activities and entertainment or require assistance.

Being a member of Liberation Groundforce will be all about interaction with the public and would mean committing to a two hour shift, or more if volunteers are willing, at a time that is suitable to the volunteers.

Each pair or grouping of Liberation Groundforce stewards will be given walkie-talkies, branded “Liberation Groundforce” baseball caps, high viz gilets and a supply of souvenir programmes.

Vic Groves, who was in charge of the volunteers at the 2005 Liberation Celebrations with the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II , is again leading the volunteers for this year’s 2015 Liberation Day.

Being a part of Liberation Groundforce is a great way to experience the heart and essence of our wonderful island community.

St. Peter Port will be filled with islanders and visitors who are celebrating this historic 70th anniversary of Liberation Day and the stewards are a hugely important part of the day providing information, assisting with enquiries and being the “eyes and ears” of the organisers.

– Vic Groves

To be part of Liberation Groundforce, please email Vic Groves at or call The Guernsey Event Company Ltd on (01481) 728686.

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