- Starts: 17/05/2020 10:00 am
The Islands of Guernsey are located in the English Channel, just 30 miles from the Normandy coast. All five of these beautiful Islands have a great deal of WWII history as they were the only British territory that Hitler conquered and were occupied by German forces for five years from June 1940. The number of fortifications and carefully preserved time capsules that still exist for modern day visitors are both astonishing and fascinating, making the Islands the perfect place for history buffs and newbies alike. 75 years ago, on 8th May 1945, Winston Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe and the Islands of Guernsey were freed on the following day which has since been annually celebrated as ‘Liberation Day’ on 9th May. It gives Islanders a chance to rejoice in their freedom and reflect on those who had to endure the hardships that the Occupation brought with it.
As 2020 will mark 75 years since the Islands were freed, a special 7-month long festival called ‘Heritage75’ will be running from 1st April until the end of October. 75+ heritage themed events will take place in Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Alderney and Lihou. From themed tours and guided walks to exhibitions, family fun days and exclusive site openings, visitors will be able to delve into a wide range of experiences. The Islands of Guernsey are proud to be part of the Liberation Route Europe and featured events will be published right here on the Europe Remembers website while the full list is available at visitguernsey.com.
In Alderney, virtually all residents were evacuated and this became the most heavily fortified of the Islands. Alderney celebrates ‘Homecoming Day’ on November 15th as an alternative to Guernsey’s Liberation Day celebrations in May, as the Island required a huge amount of clearing and it operated as a communal farm while order was restored. Alderney’s experience of the Occupation was very different to the other Islands, but at just 3 miles long by 1 ½ miles wide, it packs a great deal of history into its modern day visitor offerings with natural trails, military walks, Victorian forts, bunker open days and other annual events and tours.
Alderney Under the German Occupation – 17th May
Learn about WWII and Alderney (one of Guernsey’s sister Islands just over an hour away) under the German Occupation during a two mile long walk around a large 15cm gun battery and one of the four forced labour camps that was taken over by the SS in March 1943. See the remaining structures and hear the stories from some of the survivors of that time with Silver Accredited Guide, Tim Osborne. Children over 11 years old welcome. £8 per person, not including travel from Guernsey to Alderney.
Get in touch with Tim Osborne to find out more!