- Point of Interest
- York Street, St Helier, Jersey
In 2005, to mark the 60th anniversary of Liberation, engraved pavement slabs were installed in the Charing Cross area of St Helier. Each carries a moving quotation by an eyewitness to the German Occupation, and gives an insight into the trauma and suffering of captivity, and joy of liberation.
Those quoted include forced and slave labourers and Islanders who risked severe punishment for assisting them. Together they make a powerful and memorable statement about the resilience and generosity of the human spirit in times of desperation.
Occupation veteran Maurice Gautier recalled: ‘When Winston Churchill came to the part “Our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today” everybody in the road began to cheer like mad’.
The recollection of Spanish Republican forced labourer John Dalmau is also immortalised: ‘I shall never forget the kindness shown to me by other slave workers and the people of Jersey’.
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.