- Castle Emplacement, Guernsey
800-year-old Castle Cornet guards the mouth of St. Peter Port Harbour and looks out across to the smaller inhabited Islands of Herm and Sark. Now a museum, the castle was a hugely strategic location for control of St. Peter Port Harbour and so the occupiers set about reinforcing and defending it with machine guns, flak guns and roll bombs. Remains of a German mortar position, bunker and concrete reinforcements are a permanent reminder of this period of the Castle’s history, then referred to as ‘Stutzpunkt Hafenschloss’ or harbour lock.
At 08.30 hrs on the 9 May, 1945, the first Allied Landing Craft Assault (LCA), operating under liberating Task Force 135, docked at the Castle Breakwater with the task of securing it and, in doing so, took command of the Harbour and its approaches.
The Castle is now a visitor attraction, housing four museums and four period gardens. The castle offers panoramic views across St Peter Port harbour and out to the other smaller Islands of Guernsey. The Noon-day gun is one of the most popular sites and is fired daily throughout the season by keepers clad in traditional scarlet costumes.
Liberation Day on 9 May is a public holiday in Guernsey. Guernsey’s capital town of St Peter Port comes alive with thousands of people watching parades, military vehicle cavalcades, military aircraft displays, live music and activities. Fireworks are set off from Castle Cornet, as the culmination of this day of remembrance and the celebration of freedom from oppression.
Guided tours of the Castle run daily at 10:30am
Tours of Guernsey, run by one of Guernsey’s Accredited Guides is now running a tour which includes a guided walk around the streets of St Peter Port and entrance to the Castle. This includes an hour tour around the Castle grounds and time to explore the castle and museums at leisure.
The Channel Islands were left undefended by British forces throughout WWII and lived under German Occupation for five long years. On 9 May 1945, liberating Allied forces negotiated the surrender of the Islands. Landing in both Guernsey and Jersey, they were greeted by crowds of cheering Islanders, joyously celebrating their freedom.