Our WW2 History

The Channel Islands were the only occupied part of the British Isles during the Second World War. German forces invaded Guernsey on 30th June 1940, where they remained for five years until 9th May 1945, now celebrated as Liberation Day. The remnants of the Occupation are still visible across our Islands with fortifications dotted along the coastline and unique museums documenting this important part of our past.

  • Evacuation

    Evacuation to the UK took place amidst chaos and panic shortly after the invasion. Opinion was divided on whether it was best to remain on-Island or flee. In Guernsey, evacuation began with the children in advance of forces arriving. On 19th June, parents were told to register their children for evacuation and prepare to say goodbye the next morning. In fact, evacuation boats were still departing St Peter Port when the German air force attacked. Four-fifths of the children and almost half of Guernsey's population managed to leave for England.

    Find out more about the evacuation
  • Invasion

    The Germans launched an attack on St Peter Port on the 28th June 1940. The bombing raid targeted tomato trucks (mistaken for military vehicles) that were lined up at the harbour, killing 33 civilians. Upon realising the island was undefended, the Germans advanced with no further force, with officers arriving on the 30th June to accept Guernsey’s surrender.

    Learn about the invasion
  • Fortifications

    See the fortifications
  • Occupation

    Uncover the occupation
  • Liberation

    After five long years of occupation, on May 9th 1945 all German flags were lowered across the Island and British officers stepped back onto Guernsey’s shores to liberate the Island. Thousands of Islanders crowded into St. Peter Port to celebrate. Liberation Day is now celebrated as a national holiday throughout the Channel Islands, commemorating the occupation and celebrating freedom and liberty.

    Learn about liberation
  • Download the VisitGuernsey App

    Dotted around the Island, you can discover stories of our Islands’ German Occupation in the actual locations they took place on the WWII Occupation Trail. Follow the trail boards using the VisitGuernsey app, to guide you round intriguing walking, cycling or driving routes.

    Download the App
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