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CELEBRATING LIBeration 75

We’ve had to rethink our plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Jersey being liberated from Occupation at the end of World War Two, due to the current circumstances.

But we’ve still got plenty of ways to help you mark this momentous time in Jersey’s history.

Happy Liberation Day, Jersey!

We’ve drawn together a host of content for you to enjoy - listen to previously unrecorded first-hand memories of the day; watch new Heritage TV features about Liberation; enjoy a special lesson about 9 May 1945 with your children; try Liberation-inspired activities; or watch rare colour footage of the day, plus much more.

What's on this page?

Follow the links to find specific content on this page:

Webinar with Chris Addy Islanders Liberated, at home and abroad: stories from the Jersey War Tunnels archive

Unique colour film - watch Dr Mortimer Evans' colour film of the very first moments of Liberation.

Liberation Shorts -  A series of films inspired by our exhibition, A Day to Remember - Liberation 75

Jersey Heritage TV -  A wealth of new material, some of it never seen before

Liberation Learning - A short webinar suitable for KS1 and KS2 learners

Liberation Day footage - Courtesy of ITV (Channel Television)

Online Exhibition - Archives of Liberation

Symbols, Ciphers & Celebration - A short film in two parts about Occupation and Liberation postage stamps

50 Objects - The Story of Jersey’s Occupation and Liberation 1940-1945 told through 50 Objects held by Jersey Heritage, recorded by BBC Jersey

The Resistance Trail - A tour of the Island's important sites connected with stories of Occupation resistance

The Jersey Peace Trail - A tour of St Helier with stories of peace and social justice

Liberation Route Europe - An international remembrance trail

The Occupation Tapestry - This year marks 25 years since the original community project was completed

 

 

 

Webinar with Chris Addy Islanders Liberated, at home and abroad: stories from the Jersey War Tunnels archive

Immortalised

There can be no better way to remember Liberation Day than to watch Dr Mortimer ('Morty') Evans' colour film of its very first moments.

Morty used a Cine-Kodak 16mm camera to record the arrival of the advance party of Liberation Force 135 at the New North Quay, and the joyous reception that they received from hordes of Islanders on the morning of 9 May 1945. To date it is the only known colour sequence recorded on Liberation Day itself, as is consequently very precious.

Courtesy of ITV (Channel Television)

Liberation shorts - A Day to Remember- Liberation 75

This series of films focuses on the Liberation stories of Islanders in Jersey, British-born Channel Islanders interned in Germany and families who evacuated to England in June 1940. The testimony of Occupation veterans’ descendants is also centre stage, as they explore what freedom means today and the importance of sharing the memory of this momentous time in Jersey’s history. As Stan Keiller remarks, “I would say to the youth of this lovely Island, value and cherish your freedom, and guard it well.”

These films were developed as part of a new exhibition A Day to Remember - Liberation 75 – which has now been postponed until later in the year. But when it does open, it will share those watershed moments with Islanders as the jubilant events of the Liberation unfolded and will transport you to those heady days that shaped the Island’s character, and encourage you to reflect on the meaning and value of freedom.

The exhibition has been kindly sponsored by Alex Picot Trust and supported by the Bailiff of Jersey.  With additional thanks to Jersey Heritage Patrons and Benefactors. 

value your freedom

David Peacock vividly describes the arrival on 28 April 1945 of Free French forces at Wurzach internment camp in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where he and more than 600 other British-born Islanders were held captive for almost three years. David’s experience is of fundamental importance to his descendants.

THE MESSAGE OF LIBERATION

This poignant film shares the thoughts of three generations of the Keiller Family on the significance of the Liberation of Jersey from German Occupation on 9 May 1945, and how it’s special values can be kept alive in the years to come.

75 YEARS, 60 DESCENDANTS

Occupation veteran Beulah Le Cornu married Spanish Republican forced worker Cristobal Lopez Rubio in 1943. Cristobal was one of around 2,000 Spaniards brought to Jersey and made to labour on the German fortifications, under the control of the ill-reputed Organisation Todt.

Beulah and Cristobal had six children together. They now have almost 60 descendants. The memories of the wartime years remain important to the family who, in normal circumstances, come together without fail each Liberation Day to remember.

REUNITED AT LAST

Most evacuees had returned to Jersey and were gradually getting their lives back into order. Months after the Liberation, Jean McLaughlin and her mother were still waiting anxiously in Weymouth for her father to return from Burma, so that they could return to the Island as a family.

Proud

Dora Hacquoil was imprisoned for assisting a Russian slave worker evade capture. Evelyn Janvrin and Allan Costard were locked up for attempting to escape and sharing BBC news. Stonemason Joseph Le Guyader laid the ‘V-for-Victory’ in the Royal Square under the eyes of the Occupying Forces. Family members share a collective pride in the actions of their forebears, and a determination to pass on these values to future generations.

A Defining Moment

On Liberation Day Occupation veteran Bob Le Sueur was unexpectedly overcome with emotion, having witnessed a symbol of the Allied victory. He describes the abiding significance of the moment.

JErsey Heritage TV

Jersey Heritage TV marks the 75th anniversary of the Liberation online by adding a wealth of new material - some of it never seen before.

It deals with everything from the planning and execution of Operation Nestegg - the military re-occupation of the Channel Islands - to the aftermath of the German Occupation. It includes interviews with those who were there and film and photographs from the collections of the Jersey Evening Post and Channel Television, now in the care of Jersey Heritage.

The coverage of Liberation ’75 has been curated by documentary-maker and former CTV journalist Alastair Layzell who said: ‘The richness of the Jersey Heritage collections, and the support of staff at ITV Channel Television and the JEP, has allowed us to assemble a comprehensive view of Liberation - as seen through the eyes of eyewitnesses. Many are no longer with us, but their contribution to history is now embedded on the Jersey Heritage TV website forever.'

Visit the Jersey Heritage TV website.

Liberation Learning

This short webinar focuses on the lead up to the 9th May 1945 and what actually happened in the Channel Islands so that British Troops could ensure the safe liberation of the islands from their five years of Occupation and is suitable for KS1 and KS2 learners.  You'll find additional content for home-learning on our Schools pages.

Liberation Day Footage

Captured on Celluloid

A huge expectant crowd in the Royal Square on 8 May listens to the Bailiff, Alexander Coutanche, talking from a balcony of the Royal Court. The first men of Liberation Force 135 are swamped by a vast and triumphal crowd. A young lady holds up to the camera the front page of the Evening Post newspaper, which reads ‘The Channel Islands Free Again’. These moments of extraordinary power and significance will have you transfixed. Courtesy of ITV (Channel Television)

Online Exhbition - Archives of Liberation

Archives help tell us the stories of the people who experienced the Liberation of the Channel Islands on 9 May 1945. As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Liberation Day and read these documents we can hear and see echoes of the joy of Liberation.

In 2020 the Bailiff’s Occupation and Liberation Archive is being digitised and made available online as part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations. The project is supported by the Association of Jersey Charities, Channel Island’s Lottery and Bailiff’s Chambers.

Online Exhibition -  Symbols, Ciphers & Celebration

With thanks to Jersey Post.

A short film in two parts about Occupation and Liberation postage stamps - the first part offering context for the second. Part one considers the design of postage stamps during the German Occupation, and how passive resistance played an important part in their conception. Part two reveals the fascinating design process behind the six new Liberation 75 commemorative stamps, which will be released on 9 May 2020.

50 Objects

The Story of Jersey’s Occupation and Liberation 1940-1945 told through 50 Objects held by Jersey Heritage, recorded by BBC Jersey.

In 2019 BBC Jersey’s Senior Communities Journalist Cathy Le Feuvre approached Jersey Heritage and suggested we work together to tell the story of Occupation and Liberation through the objects and documents held within the Jersey Heritage Collections.

The stories would be played in the year leading up to Liberation 75 as part of the Islands celebrations. With thousands of items relating to this period it was exceedingly difficult coming up with a shortlist but after much discussion one was put together that touched on many different aspects of this time. Cathy then set about recording and editing Jersey Heritage staff talking about these unique objects. The recordings from this almost year long project were originally broadcast weekly on the Friday morning BBC Radio Jersey Breakfast Show. They are now available to listen to here, with more being added all the time.

Thanks to BBC Jersey for their support.

The resistance trail

This series of short films will introduce you to a selection of important sites intimately connected with stories of Occupation resistance, and give you a sense of the solidarity and patriotism that existed widely in the Island community under these challenging conditions. Originally made to view in conjunction with the Resistance Trail walking guide.

There are 14 short films, use the panel on the top left of the video to skip through to the next film.  

The Jersey Peace Trail

The Jersey Peace Trail is a tour of St Helier from west to east through the heart of town. Discover stories of peace and social justice from Elizabeth Fry’s campaign for reform of the Island’s prison to the reconciliation process of the postwar years between Jersey and its German occupiers.  The walking guide can be downloaded here.

There are 15 short  films, use the panel on the top left of the video to skip through to the next film.  

Liberation Route Europe

Liberation Route Europe is a continuously growing, international remembrance trail, connecting important milestones of modern European history. Liberation Route Europe links the main regions along the advance of the Western Allied Forces.

Alongside Visit Jersey and Visit Guernsey, Jersey Heritage is taking part in a Channel Islands section of the trail, which focuses on the liberation of continental Europe from the National Socialist occupation, and specifically, the long-lasting consequences of World War II.

Visit the website here.

Occupation Tapestry

The 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands also marks 25 years since the original tapestry was completed. The tapestry continues to tell the story of a community project that provokes a deep sense of pride, draws immense praise and can move people to tears.