Jersey / Landmark
On 9 May 1945, St. Helier Harbour was a hive of activity, with many civilians heading down to watch the magnificent events of the Liberation of Jersey taking place on the Albert Pier, New North Quay, Victoria Pier, and the Lifeboat Slipway.
12 year old Stan Hockley was on Albert Pier and remembers: ‘I was down at the harbour watching the soldiers coming in…The first two men were naval officers, MacDonald and Milln.’
‘It was quite amazing because everyone wanted to touch them, clap them on the back, the girls wanted to kiss them and some people wanted to scrounge their cigarettes, but however, that was what Liberation was all about, we were at last free.’
Bob Le Sueur was on Victoria Pier and was determined to see the arrival of Liberation troops on 9 May:
“We knew that the Albert Pier was blocked to civilians...We would go to the end of the Victoria Harbour and we would sit there to see whatever would come through the pier heads. We went down the Commercial Buildings, around the corner by the La Folie Inn...suddenly my hosepipe tyre snapped with a noise like a revolver shot, and I can still see in my memory two people throwing themselves to the ground…They wanted the best places at the end of the Victoria Pier. They did keep a good place for me.”
On 12 May Landing Craft began landing in Victoria Harbour near the lifeboat slipway, disembarking troops who marched to the Pomme D’Or Hotel. 12 DUKW’s also landed on the slipway and made their way to the Weighbridge.
Crowds gathered to witness the arrival of the DUKWs and troops coming ashore. It would be the strangest sight for many who would never have seen a lorry driving out of the sea!
Liberation events around St Helier Harbour.
1. The Swedish Red Cross ship SS Vega [italics] is seen berthed alongside the Albert Pier on 8 May 1945.
2. The first naval ratings arrive on Liberation Day. 3. British amphibious vehicles (DUKWs) arrive on 12 May
Copyright notice: Jersey Heritage