The German Occupation Museum provides a unique insight into life in Guernsey during the occupation from 1940 to 1945.
This museum covers Guernsey's military history, including World War One and the German Occupation of the island from 1940 to 1945 during World War Two, as well as the island's own militia.
On May 9th, the formal surrender of the German occupying forces by the German second in command, Major General Siegfried Heine, took place on naval ship HMS Bulldog, moored in the Little Russell off the coast of St Peter Port.
At 11.00 hrs on May 9th, Lt-Col Stoneman and his small party travelled from the Royal Hotel to the Royal Court House here, where they met the Bailiff of Guernsey, Victor Carey and the Jurats. A Union Flag was ceremoniously hoisted, to cheers of celebration from the crowd that had gathered along Court Row.
Castle Cornet, Guernsey's ancient royal fortress, has stood guard over the town and harbour of St Peter Port for nearly eight centuries.
The main Liberation Forces arrived in the Island on May 12th 1945, landing at the Albert Pier slipway located in front of the Town Church.
Designed by John Wilson, Daniel de Lisle Brock was instrumental in raising the funds required to build the main building as we now see it. Founded in 1563 under the orders of Queen Elizabeth I.
Pembroke and L’Ancresse bay, situated at the most northern part of the island, accommodates sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters.
The Liberation of Sark was conducted under the code name “Operation Marble” with a small party of three British officers and some soldiers landing in Creux Harbour on the 10th May 1945, at approximately 5pm.
Mill Lane had become the fortified citadel of the German Headquarters during the Occupation, surrounded by barbed wire and mines. The Manoir, a prestigious house and once the home of Sark’s past Seigneurs, was occupied as the German Headquarters between 1942 until the surrender on 10th May 1945.
Set within the grounds of a 17th century manor, the garden is considered one of the finest in the Channel Islands
Herm was populated by just one Guernsey family, Mr and Mrs Le Page, along with a housekeeper, at the time of its liberation, with very few German soldiers living in the Island. Herm had been mainly used by soldiers as a hunting and training ground; the anti-aircraft gun crew that had been stationed there had been removed to Guernsey sometime in early April 1945.
Alderney harbour played an important part in the liberation of the Island. An armed trawler carrying Brigadier Snow, commander of the liberating force, Force 135, landed at Braye Harbour on the 16th May 1945, to be met by the German commandant. Moving to a building close by which overlooked Braye Harbour, a document of surrender was signed by the German commandant. This house was later called Peacehaven.
Located in central St Anne, the German Occupation collection at Alderney Society Museum is unique, as Alderney was the only British island to be fully evacuated by civilians and then occupied by German forces for the duration of the War.
Following the surrender of Alderney to the liberating forces on the 16th May 1945, a large scale clearance programme was commenced to make the Island habitable again. Assisted by German troops, the Allied forces cleared vast areas of beaches filled with mines, removed significant areas of barbed wire fencing and reconstructed buildings.
The Islands of Guernsey are now part of a combined Channel Islands’ membership of the international remembrance trail, ‘The Liberation Route Europe’.
The Liberation Route was formed in 2008 with the objective of sharing WWII knowledge and stories with the general public, to commemorate, educate and reflect on the historical events of WWII.
With points of interest spanning nine countries, including France, the Netherlands and the UK, featuring famous WWII points of interest such as the Normandy Landings beaches and memorials, the Route has a strong following from ‘remembrance’ tourists living in Europe, the UK and also in Canada and the USA.
15 liberation-oriented points of interest have been selected for the Islands of Guernsey’s section of the Route, including locations in Herm, Sark and Alderney. Sites include Castle Cornet, the White Rock Pier, L’Ancresse and Creux Harbour, along with museums such as the German Occupation Museum and Alderney Museum.
You can see the list of points of interest in The Islands of Guernsey on the map above, or head to the Liberation Route website for full details and description of each location.