Guernsey / Landmark
On May 9 1945, one day after VE day, a small party from Liberating Task Force 135 ceremoniously hoisted a Union Jack Flag from the Royal Court House in St. Peter Port to cheers of celebration from the gathered crowd. After five years of occupation, the Islands of Guernsey were freed.
The German occupation of the Islands of Guernsey began on 30 June 1940 when five Junkers troop carriers landed at Guernsey Airport. Luftwaffe troops met the chief of police, who informed them that the island was undefended. More troops arrived on the island the following day and the German flag was raised. Eventually the number of soldiers roughly equalled that of the remaining islanders.
The Royal Court House has existed at this location since the early 1800s. As well as the seat of Guernsey’s parliament (The States of Deliberation) now and during the Second World War, it is also the site of civil and criminal court proceedings.
On 21 June 1940, the States voted to hand over the running of island affairs to a controlling committee, composed of the HM Attorney General, the Bailiff and Crown officers. The civil courts continued to operate within the Royal Court House throughout the occupation, with separate German military courts trying breaches of German law.
German orders were registered as legislation and the Islands’ time zone was changed from GMT to CET. The rule of the road changed to driving on the right.
The Court also played a significant role in the liberation of the Islands of Guernsey. At 11.00 hrs on May 9 1945, ‘Liberation Day’, Lt-Col Stoneman from liberating task force 135, travelled to the Royal Court House for the ceremonial hoisting of the Union Jack flag. It was a time of excitement, tears and joyous cheering from Islanders.
Royal Court House, St James Street, Guernsey,GY1 2NZ