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Published: January 24th 2021
Guernsey - St.Peter’s Port
Despite being a relatively small island, Guernsey’s history is long and fascinating.
Inhabited since prehistory, it became part of the Duchy of Normandy in the 10th century. The Channel Islands came under the British crown when William, Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066 and seized the crown. A fascinating fact is that even today, the Queen’s title in the Bailiwick of Guernsey is that of the Duke of Normandy, the local toast being, a little bizarrely, ‘The Queen, Our Duke’. The Bailiwick of Guernsey is a Crown Dependency, meaning that the Queen is the head of state but it is self-governing.
The island prints its own banknotes, including the £1 note, but theirs is not a separate currency, just a local issue of Sterling, with the same value as mainland.
Invaded in June 1940, the Channel Islands were the only British territories to be occupied by the Germans during World War Two.
The invasion of the Channel Islands during World War Two remains a hugely important part of the island’s history, commemorated every year on Liberation Day in May.
The Liberation Monument commemorates the 50th anniversary, on the 9th May 1995, of the Liberation of Guernsey from German occupying forces.
The shadow points to three inscriptions marking significant events on the day the island was liberated in 1945.
* The signing of the surrender of the German forces at 7.15 am
* the landing of the British Liberating Force at 8.00 am, and
* the unfurling of the Union Flag at 10.15 am.
Also recorded is Winston Churchill's memorable statement: "Our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today."
At the east end of the seating the words "Thanks be to God" are inscribed in English and Guernsey-French.
Unveiled by HRH The Prince of Wales on Liberation Day, 1995, the obelisk is comprised of 50 layers of blue Guernsey granite, representing the 50 years of freedom, with the cut angle at the top representing the trauma of the occupation years.
This 4.2 metre tall granite obelisk forms the gnomon of a sundial. It was erected in 1995 it deliberately only works one day in May per year.
The flag of Guernsey was adopted in 1985
and consists of the red Saint George's Cross with an additional gold Norman cross within it.
Today was wet and windy as we walked along the harbour and through the cobbled streets but we could imagine how pretty it would be on a clear dry day.
This was the first tour of Guernsey but our tour guide Gill but she has more planned.
She has family who were there throughout the occupation in the Second World War and some who were evacuated so has many family anecdotes to pass on.
She was also the tour guide who helped the film crew research the very successful film of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a film about the occupation.
So I’m a little late in posting this tonight as I have just enjoyed watching the film on Netflix.
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