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)
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.”
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.
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 marked the 75th anniversary of the Liberation online by adding a wealth of new material - some of it never seen before.
Visit the Jersey Heritage TV website.
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.
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 was 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,released on 9 May 2020.
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.
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.
The 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands also marked 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.