Guernsey / Landmark
The Channel Islands were the only British Isles to be occupied by German forces during WWII. After the D-Day landings the Islands of Guernsey were cut off from provisions from mainland Europe. Eleven months later, Allied forces landed in Guernsey, bringing food and provisions to starving islanders.
British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, made the difficult decision not to defend the Channel Islands and they were subsequently occupied by German forces in June 1940, remaining so until the end of WWII.
Islanders were completely isolated. Radios were forbidden, the Guernsey Press & Star newspaper censored and Islanders forced to follow harsh rules. The impact of the D-Day Landings proved devastating. Provisions from Northern France were cut off and civilians and soldiers faced starvation. Islanders eagerly awaited their freedom.
On May 9 1945, a day after VE Day, Guernsey was liberated by Allied forces. Desperately needed provisions began to arrive.
On 12 May, the American Landing Ship Tank (LST) 516 was manoeuvred into the inner harbour at high tide. At low tide, the LST 516 sat dry on the harbour bottom and unloaded. A ramp was dropped allowing vehicles to be driven off the LST, then across the harbour bed and up the Albert Pier slipway located in front of the Town Church.
“I was 11. I always remember the big U.S. boat that came into the harbour…the vehicles came out, and I can always remember the crew playing sort of baseball on the harbour bed.” Hirzel Dorey
Disembarking troops moved through the town, securing buildings that had previously been commandeered by the occupying forces as HQs. At last, the Islands were free.
Further along the seafront, the Ship & Crown public house (formerly the Crown Hotel) is the location where Vice Admiral Huffmeier, German Commander of the Channel Islands, was taken into captivity by British forces on 9 May 1945.
North Esplanade, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 2JU