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Encyclopedia > Occupation of the Channel Islands
As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications round the coasts of the Channel Islands such as this observation tower at Les Landes, Jersey
As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications round the coasts of the Channel Islands such as this observation tower at Les Landes, Jersey

The Occupation of the Channel Islands refers to the Military occupation of the Channel Islands by Nazi Germany forces during World War II. It lasted from 30 June 1940 until the Liberation on 9 May 1945. The Channel Islands which are crown dependencies, were the only piece of British Isles to be invaded and occupied by German forces during the war. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1513x1089, 1047 KB) Part of the Atlantic Wall built by the Germans during World War II. This observation tower is situated at Les Landes in St. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1513x1089, 1047 KB) Part of the Atlantic Wall built by the Germans during World War II. This observation tower is situated at Les Landes in St. ... German coast artillery in the Pas-de-Calais area, with laborers at work on casemate. ... Organisation Todt Flag Organisation Todt (OT) was a Nazi construction and engineering group during the years of the Third Reich, which enslaved over 1. ... Belligerent military occupation, occurs when one nations military garrisons occupy all or part of the territory of another nation or recognized belligerent during an invasion (during or after a war). ... The Channel Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Normandy, France, in the English Channel. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Combatants Allies: • Soviet Union, • UK & Commonwealth, • USA, • France/Free France, • China, • Poland, • ...and others Axis: • Germany, • Japan, • Italy, • ...and others Commanders Strength Casualties Full list Full list World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a large scale military conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945. ... June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications round the coasts of the Channel Islands such as this observation tower at Les Landes, Jersey The Occupation of the Channel Islands refers to the Military occupation of the Channel... May 9 is the 129th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (130th in leap years). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... Crown dependencies are possessions of the British Crown, as opposed to overseas territories or colonies of the United Kingdom. ...

Contents


Before Occupation

Demilitarisation

On 15 June 1940, the British Government decided that the Channel Islands were of no strategic importance and would not be defended. They decided to keep this a secret from the German forces. June 15 is the 166th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (167th in leap years), with 199 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


Evacuation

The British Government consulted the Islands' elected government representatives, in order to formulate a policy regarding evacuation. Opinion was divided, and without a policy being imposed on the Islands, chaos ensued and different policies were adopted by the different islands. British Government concluded their best policy was to make available as many ships as possible so that Islanders had the option to leave if they wanted to. Alderney recommended to all its Islanders to evacuate, the Dame of Sark encouraged everyone to stay. Guernsey evacuated all children of school age with their schools, giving the parents the option of keeping their children with them, or evacuating with their school. In Jersey, the majority of Islanders chose to stay. Evacuation can have several meanings: In wilderness first aid, evacuation is the transport of a seriously injured person out of the wilderness to the nearest point an ambulance can reach to take them to the hospital, or to the nearest emergency room. ... Flag of Alderney Alderney is also a suburb of Poole in Dorset, England, and a breed of cattle Alderney (French Aurigny, Auregnais Aoeurgny) is the most northerly of the Channel Islands and a British crown dependency. ... Sybil Mary Hathaway (13 January 1884 - 14 July 1974) was Dame of Sark from 1927 to 1940 and again from 1945 to 1974 (Dame is the title of a female holder of a Seigneurie). ...


Invasion

Since the Germans were ignorant of the fact that the Islands had been demilitarised, they approached the islands with some caution. Reconnaissance flights were inconclusive. On 28 June 1940, they then sent a squadron of bombers on a mission over the Islands, and bombed the harbours of Guernsey and Jersey. In St Peter Port, what the reconnaissance mistook for troops carriers were actually lines of lorries queued up to load tomatoes for export to England. 44 islanders were killed in the raids. (Some entries on this page have been duplicated on August 1. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... This is a map of Guernsey. ...


While the German Army were preparing to land an assault force of two battalions to capture the Islands, a reconnaisance pilot landed in Guernsey on 30 June to whom the Island officially surrendered. Jersey surrendered on 1 July. Alderney, where no-one remained, was occupied on 2 July, and a small detachment travelled from Guernsey to Sark which officially surrendered on 4 July. June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... Flag of Alderney Alderney is also a suburb of Poole in Dorset, England, and a breed of cattle Alderney (French Aurigny, Auregnais Aoeurgny) is the most northerly of the Channel Islands and a British crown dependency. ... July 2 is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 182 days remaining. ... Flag of Sark Sark (in French, Sercq, in Sercquiais Sèr) is a small island of the Channel Islands, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. ... July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining. ...


Occupation

The German forces quickly consolidated their positions. They brought in infantry troops, established communications and anti-aircraft defences, established an air service with mainland France and rounded up British servicemen on leave.


Government

In Guernsey, the Bailiff, Sir Victor Carey and the States of Guernsey handed overall control to the German authorities. Day-to-day running of Island affairs became the responsibility of a Controlling Committee, chaired by Ambrose Sherwill. Holders of the post of Bailiff of Guernsey. ... The States of Guernsey (French: États de Guernesey) is the parliament of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. ...


In Jersey, {help needed}


Resistance & collaboration

There was no resistance movement in the Channel Islands on the scale of that in mainland France. This has been ascribed to a range of factors including the physical separation of the Islands, the density of troops (up to one German for every two Islanders), the small size of the Islands precluding any hiding places for resistance groups, and the absence of the Gestapo from the occupying forces. Resistance can mean one of: electrical resistance inner resistance antibiotic resistance resistance to a disease (see related subject immunology) a political or military resistance movement against foreign occupation, or more rarely, against ones own government geological resistance fluid resistance thermal resistance Resistance Records Air resistance This is a disambiguation... The Deaths Head emblem similar to Skull and crossbones, often used as the insignia of the Gestapo The (help· info) (contraction of Geheime Staatspolizei; secret state police) was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. ...


Resistance involved passive resistance, acts of minor sabotage, and sheltering and aiding escaped slave workers. The islanders also joined in the Churchill's V sign campaign by daubing the letter 'V' (for Victory) over German signs. Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction. ... The V sign is a hand gesture in which the first and second fingers are raised and parted, whilst the remaining fingers are clenched. ...


A number of Islanders escaped (including Peter Crill), the pace of which increased following D-Day, when conditions in the Islands worsened as supply routes to the continent were cut off, and the desire to join in the liberation of Europe increased. Sir Peter Leslie Crill KBE (February 1, 1925 – October 3, 2005) was Bailiff of Jersey 1986 to 1995. ... Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ...


The policy of the Island governments, acting under instructions from the British government communicated before the occupation, was one of passive co-operation, although this has been criticised (see Bunting), particularly in the treatment of Jews in the islands.


Some island women fraternised with the occupying forces, although this was frowned upon by the majority of Islanders, who gave them the derogatory nickname Jerry-bag.


British Government reaction

The British Government's reaction to the German invasion was muted, with the Ministry of Information issuing a press release shortly after the Germans landed.


On 6 July 1940, 2nd Lieutenant Hubert Nicolle, a Guernseyman serving with British Army, was dispatched on a fact-finding mission to Guernsey. He was dropped off the south coast of Guernsey by a submarine, and rowed ashore in a canoe under cover of night. This was the first of two visits which Nicolle made to the island. Following the second he missed his rendez-vous, was trapped in the island. After months in hiding, he gave himself up to the German authorities, and was sent to a German prison-of-war camp. July 6 is the 187th day of the year (188th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 178 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


In October 1942, there was a British Commando raid on Sark, named Operation Basalt. This article is about the year. ... During World War II, Operation Basalt was a small raid on the German occupied British Channel Island of Sark, on the night of 3/4 October, 1942. ...


In 1943, Vice Admiral Lord Mountbatten proposed a plan to retake the islands named Operation Constellation. The proposed attack was never mounted. 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO (25 June 1900 – 27 August 1979) was a British admiral and statesman and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. ... Operation Constellation was the name of one of a number of WWII missions, proposed by Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, in 1943 to take back the Channel Islands from German occupation in WWII. It was never mounted. ...


Fortification

As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications round the coasts of the Channel Islands. German coast artillery in the Pas-de-Calais area, with laborers at work on casemate. ... Organisation Todt Flag Organisation Todt (OT) was a Nazi construction and engineering group during the years of the Third Reich, which enslaved over 1. ...


The majority of the workforce was comprised of slave labour comprised of prisoners of war from Eastern Europe, as well as Spanish republicans.


In Alderney, a concentration camp, Lager Sylt was established to provide slave labour for the fortifications. A concentration camp is a large detention center created for political opponents, enemy aliens, specific ethnic or religious groups, civilians of a critical war-zone, or other groups of people, often during a war. ... Lager Sylt was the name of the concentration camp on Alderney in the Channel Islands between March 1943 - June, 1944. ...


{help needed}


Deportation

In 1942, the German authorities announced that all residents of the Channel Islands who were not born in the Islands, as well as those men who served as officers in World War I, were to be deported. The majority of them were transported to the southwest of Germany, notably to Biberach an der Riss and interned in the Lindele Camp ("Lager Lindele"). Combatants Allies: • Serbia, • Russia, • France, • Belgium, • British Empire and Dominions, • United States, • Italy, • ...and others Central Powers: • Germany, • Austria-Hungary, • Ottoman Empire, • Bulgaria Commanders {{{commander1}}} {{{commander2}}} Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties 5 million military, 3 million civilian (full list) 3 million military, 3 million civilian (full list) {{{notes}}} World War I... Part of Weberberg Biberach is a city in the south of Germany, capital of the district Biberach in Baden-Württemberg. ...


Representation in London

As self-governing Crown Dependencies, the Channel Islands had no elected representatives in the British Parliament. In order to ensure that the Islanders were not forgotten, it fell to evacuees and other Islanders living in the United Kingdom prior to the occupation. The Jersey Society in London, formed in the 1920s, provided a focal point for exiled Jerseymen. In 1943, a number of influential Guernseymen living in London formed the Guernsey Society to provide a similar focal point and network for Guernsey exiles. Besides relief work, these groups also undertook studies to plan for economic reconstruction and political reform after the end of the war. The pamphlet Notre Île published in London by a committee of Jersey people was influential in the 1948 reform of the constitution of the Bailiwick.


Bertram Falle, a Jerseyman, was elected M.P. for Portsmouth in 1910. Eight times elected to the House of Commons, in 1934 he was raised to the House of Lords with the title of Lord Portsea. During the occupation he represented the interests of Islanders and pressed the British government to relieve their plight, especially after the Islands were cut off after D-Day.


Committees of émigré Channel Islanders elsewhere in the British Empire also banded together to provide relief for evacuees. For example, Philippe William Luce (writer and journalist, 1882 - 1966) founded the Vancouver Channel Islands Society in 1940 to raise money for evacuees.


Under Siege

Following the D-Day landings and the liberation of Normandy during June 1944, the German supply lines for food and other supplies through France were completely severed. The islanders' food supplies were already dwindling, and this made matters considerably worse, and the islanders and German forces alike were on the point of starvation. Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ... Combatants Allied Powers Germany Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander) Bernard Montgomery (land) Bertram Ramsay (sea) Trafford Leigh-Mallory (air) Gerd von Rundstedt (OB WEST) Erwin Rommel (Heeresgruppe B) Strength 326,000 (by June 11) Unknown Casualties 53,700 dead, 18,000 missing, 155,000 wounded About 200,000... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Churchill's reaction to the plight of the German garrison was to "let 'em rot", even though this meant that the islanders had to rot with them. It took months of protracted negotiations before the SS Vega was permitted to bring Red Cross parcels of food and other essentials to rescue the starving islanders. The Anarchist Black Cross was originally called the Anarchist Red Cross. The band Redd Kross was originally called Red Cross. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Liberation and legacy

Liberation

The islands were liberated on 9 May 1945, the day after V-E Day. May 9 is the 129th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (130th in leap years). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) was May 8, 1945, the date when the Allies during the Second World War formally celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitlers Reich. ...


Aftermath

{help needed}


Legacy

An inscription, reading "Liberated" in Jèrriais, was installed at La Pièche dé l'Av'nîn in St. Helier to mark the 60th anniversary of the Liberation in 2005
  • Since the end of the occupation, the anniversary of Liberation Day (9 May) has been celebrated as a National holiday.
  • Many islanders and evacuees have published their memoirs and diaries of this period.
  • The Channel Islands Occupation Society was formed in order to study and preserve the history of this period.
  • There have been a number of TV and film dramas set in the occupied Islands:
  • A stage play, Dame of Sark by William Douglas-Home is set in the island of Sark during the German Occupation, and is based on the Dame's diaries of this period.
  • A number of German fortifications have been preserved as museums, including the Undergound Hospitals built in Jersey [1] and Guernsey [2].

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1484x540, 673 KB) Inscription of word Libéthés (liberated in Jèrriais) at La Pièche dé lAvnîn, Jersey Photo taken by Man vyi with Canon PowerShot A40 on 22/7/2005 File links The following pages... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1484x540, 673 KB) Inscription of word Libéthés (liberated in Jèrriais) at La Pièche dé lAvnîn, Jersey Photo taken by Man vyi with Canon PowerShot A40 on 22/7/2005 File links The following pages... May 9 is the 129th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (130th in leap years). ... Current ITV logo. ... Enemy At The Door is a British television drama series made by London Weekend Television for ITV. The series was shown between 1978 and 1980 and dealt with the German military occupation of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, during the Second World War. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII in Roman) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... 1980 (MCMLXXX in Roman) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... Current ITV logo. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... PBS re-directs here; for alternate uses see PBS (disambiguation) PBS logo The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a non-profit public broadcasting television service with 349 member TV stations in the United States. ... Masterpiece Theatre is a long-running television series produced by WGBH that premiered on PBS on January 10, 1971. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Others is a 2001 psychological thriller film by the Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar, starring Nicole Kidman. ... Nicole Mary Kidman AC (born June 20, 1967) is an Academy Award-winning American-born Australian actress. ... Flag of Sark Sark (in French, Sercq, in Sercquiais Sèr) is a small island of the Channel Islands, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. ...

References

  • Bunting, Madelaine, The Model Occupation, Harper Collins, 1995.
  • Cruickshank, Charles, The German Occupation of the Channel Islands - the official history of the occupation years, Guernsey Press, 1975.
  • Read, Brian Ahier, No Cause for Panic - Channel Islands Refugees 1940-45, Seaflower Books, 1995.

See also

// Introduction In most wars some territory is placed under the martial law of a hostile army, most belligerent military occupations end with the cessation of hostilities. ... Belarusian partisan fighters behind German front lines in Belarus in 1943 Occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany. ... The Belarusian Central Rada (The Belarusian central Council or Weissrutenische Zentralrat in German) is a nazi-collaborationist government of Belarus from 1941-1944. ... == On the same day, Hitler met with Chamberlain at Berchtesgaden and demanded the swift return of the Sudetenland to the Third Reich under threat of war. ... Copenhagen Headquarters of the Schalburgerkorps, a Danish SS unit, after 1943 Germanys occupation of Denmark was commenced by Operation Weserübung April 9, 1940, and lasted until the German forces were withdrawn at the end of World War II following their surrender to Allied forces. ... Occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany. ... France, along with the United Kingdom, was one of the first participants in World War II after declaring war on Nazi Germany following its invasion of Poland in 1939. ... Presidential flag of Vichy France Vichy France, or the Vichy regime was the de facto French government of 1940-1944 during the Nazi Germany occupation of World War II. Now known in French as the Régime de Vichy or Vichy, during its existence it referred to itself as L... // North Africa The Final solution plan aspire to destroy also the Jews of North Africa. ... This article contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... Occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany. ... The Lokot Republic (Russian: Локотская Республика) was a semi-autonomous region in Nazi occupied Russia under an all-Russian administration from 1941 to 1943. ... The military history of Luxembourg during World War II was a period in the history of Luxembourg when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. On 10 May 1940 the German Wehrmacht attacked Luxembourg and quickly defeated its small defence force. ... This article needs copyediting (checking for proper English spelling, grammar, usage, etc. ... Starting with the invasion of April 9, 1940, Norway was under military occupation of German forces and civil rule of a German commissioner in collaboration with a Pro-german puppet government. ... Main article: Polish government in exile On September 1, 1939, without formal declaration of war, Germany invaded Poland. ... Reichskommissariat Ukraine was a Nazi German administrative district, under the civilian occupation of conquered territories of central and eastern Ukraine during World War II. Adolf Hitler,always sense hate to Jew-Bolshevism,with heavy hate also to Untermenschen Slavs. ...

External links

  • Occupation Memorial (Jersey resources)
  • Channel Islands Occupation Society

 
 

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