The song “Sarnia Cherie” is arguably Guernsey’s most well known “Unofficial Anthem”. It gets sung on numerous ‘patriotic’ and sporting events from Liberation day on 9th May each year to the Island Games medal ceremonies. But if you look at the lyrics it isn’t extolling any particular patriotic fervour of people on the island but rather a melancholic longing of someone who is far from Guernsey shores. In this article we look at its origins and place in Guernsey social history.
The Bayeux Tapestry tells one of the most famous stories in British history. It has survived revolution, war, clumsy restorations and even ‘kidnapping’ and has been threatened with destruction at every turn of these events. So how has it survived for nearly 1,000 years?
On the evening of 22nd November 1942, 21 year old Flight Sergeant Eric Singleton sat in the cockpit of his Lancaster bomber, W4107 at RAF Scampton. By 4am the next morning this beautiful machine lay wrecked in a field on Sark. So what is the story of this bomber, its crew and how it ended up on Sark?
During the occupation of the Channel Islands it’s thought that about 1300 Channel Islanders were imprisoned in Jersey and Guernsey prisons during the occupation for acts of protest, defiance and resistance. Of these, at least 200 people were deported to Nazi prisons, labour and concentration camps on the continent. One of the most well known acts of resistance was the production of an underground News Letter “The Guernsey Underground News Service” or GUNS for short.
The Channel Islands were the most heavily fortified part of Hitlers’ Atlantic wall, particularly Alderney and Guernsey as the outlying islands in the Channel. So when, in 2018, a building project on Guernsey’s West coast unearthed a bunker complex that hadn’t seen the light of day since the war’s end you’ll understand our excitement when we were invited to view it prior to it being reburied and built upon.
Why did Britain and France not declare war on the Soviet Union when the Red Army marched on Poland in September 1939?
During September 1939 both Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Both Britain and France had pledged to defend Poland. So why didn’t the allies declare war on the Soviet union as well as Germany?
Standing opposite each other in Victoria Gardens opposite the Town Fire Station, like sentinels from another age, you’ll find two heavy calibre artillery pieces – trophies of a previous war. They’re not British or even French but German and date back not to the dark days of Occupation but to the First World War. How they came to be here and their survival through another world war, and subsequent re-discovery, is even more fascinating.
The film “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society”, released in 2018 , has thrust Guernsey onto the World stage and has again highlighted to the world that the Channel Islands were the ONLY part of Britain to be occupied by the Nazis in World War II. In this article we can’t hope to cover the German Occupation in the necessary detail to do it justice or to even express adequately the pain and suffering of islanders in a time that must surely be one of our islands most darkest ordeals in its long history. Instead we simply offer up a short link to a video interview of some people who were actually there !
So, you’re country is engaged in a World War, its stands alone against a ruthless enemy and is fighting for its very existence. What should you do to ensure victory? How can you stiffen the nation’s resolve to fight and never surrender? This dilemma was faced by the British in 1942 during World War II and with typical British aplomb the solution they chose was … to buy all the tea in the World! A Desperate Situation...
On the 9th of May 1945 Channel Islanders tasted freedom for the first time in nearly 5 long and terrifying years for it was on that day that the British forces finally liberated Guernsey from German Occupation. One of the first casualties when the Germans arrived on the island on 30th June 1940 was the truth, or at least the right to press freedom. In this article we look at a remarkable story that cou;d finally be told after the war.
The idea that all war is forever over and that swords will be put to a more peaceful use is appealing, but seemingly ever beyond our grasp. The literal forging of weapons into a better purpose seems far fetched, so it will surprise you to know that today we literally are doing this! Medical Scanners are being made from old WW2 and pre-WW2 Battleships. But why ?
On the 17th January 2014 Hiroo Onoda, an old Japanese war veteren, died at the age of a 91 – nothing unusual in itself – the generation of soldiers who fought in War War II gets smaller every year. However unlike his comrades this Japanese imperial soldier fought the war a staggering 29 years longer than anyone else
The German Occupation of the Channel Islands is a dark period of the islands history. A time when slave labourers were worked to death in the islands to help complete Hitlers Atlantic wall defence system. Practical resistance was virtually impossible. However one courageous member of the Salvation Army stands out – Major Marie Ozanne
The atrocities committed by the Germans during World War II weren’t limited to mainland Europe and the notorious concentration camps. Sadly the Channel Islands had it’s very own death camps, administered and run by the Nazi Organisation Todt
There are many stories various types of active resistance against the occupying forces. Indeed many islanders lost their lives, executed by the Germans for their opposition. In this article we look at one such act which has parallels with the Anne Frank storey in the Netherlands.