Guernsey / Landmark
On May 12,1945 sufficient clearance work of mines and other defences at L’Ancresse Bay in Guernsey had been undertaken to allow the liberating Allied forces’ landing craft to access the beach. The process of unloading much needed supplies for Guernsey began, with food the highest priority for Islanders.
With the advance of the Allies into western Europe in June 1944, the Germans’ lines of supply to the Islands were cut. Food became scarce. Tales of Islanders going to bed early to sleep off hunger pangs were common. Eventually, the Germans declared that they would no longer be responsible for feeding the local population.
By December 1944, both Islanders and the German Occupiers were starving. Following complicated international negotiations, Red Cross Ship, SS Vega, was given permission to enter Guernsey. On December 27, 1944 the Vega arrived, bringing much needed food parcels from Canada and New Zealand. Each parcel had been packed to last a month. “…one thing I always remember was the day that the SS Vega came in with our food parcels … We opened up the food parcel and there was a tin of jam which she (mother) had already opened up, and I hadn’t enjoyed anything like that for 4 years”. Extract from an interview with Fred Gallienne.
Occupying forces were ordered by their German superiors not to take the food parcels for themselves; any found defying this order were shot. As a result, the SS Vega made five more visits to the Islands between December 1944 and the Liberation the following summer. Over 450,000 parcels were delivered to the Channel Islands in total.
La Jaonneuse Road, Vale, Guernsey, GY3 5BY